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Glendalough Monastic Site
Located in the Wicklow mountains, is the early Christian monastic settlement of Glendalough also known as the Glen of the Two Lakes. It is one of the most breathtaking places to visit in Ireland.
Glendalough is a glacial valley renowned for its early medieval monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St Kevin who was a hermit priest. His fame as a holy man spread and he attracted numerous followers. It flourished for six centuries after his death and the irish annals contain references to the deaths of abbots and raids on the settlement.
At the Synod of Rath Breasail in 1111, Glendalough was designated as one of the two dioceses of North Leinster. St. Laurence O'Toole, born in 1128, became Abbot of Glendalough and was well known for his sanctity and hospitality. Even after his appointment as Archbishop of Dublin in 1162, he returned occasionally to Glendalough, to the solitude of St. Kevin's Bed. He died in Eu, in Normandy in 1180.
In 1214, the dioceses of Glendalough and Dublin were united and from that time onwards, the cultural and ecclesiastical status of Glendalough diminished. The destruction of the settlement by English forces in 1398 left it a ruin but it continued as a church of local importance and a place of pilgrimage. Descriptions of Glendalough from the 18th and 19th centuries include references to occasions of "riotous assembly" on the feast of St. Kevin on 3rd June.
The present remains in Glendalough tell only a small part of its story. The monastery in its heyday included workshops, areas for manuscript writing and copying, guest houses, an infirmary, farm buildings and dwellings for both the monks and a large lay population. The buildings which survive probably date from between the 10th and 12th centuries.
Among the ruins that remain today include:
- An impressive Round Tower standing 30m high
- St Mary’s Church
- A 12th century Romanesque style Priest’s House
- A large granite cross (6th or 7th century)
- A Cathedral, the largest church on the site which contains a chancel, sacristy and a nave. (11th or 12th century)
- St. Kevins Church also known as St kevin’s Kitchen, which is a barrel-vaulted oratory with a pitched roof and a round tower belfry (12th century)
Private Chauffeur Tour of Ireland
We had a wonderful trip. It’s hard to plan for nine people of varying ages (4 to 85), interests and mobility, but I think everyone did something they liked! I found it useful when planning the trip to use your suggested itineraries to get an idea of what would appeal to families, to set a reasonable route and to find good hotels. The chauffeur aspect was really invaluable and took the stress out of having to rent and drive a large group. I found our dealings with your office to be prompt and professional. I would definitely recommend your services to others.
The hotels were all well-chosen – comfortable, good amenities, decent restaurants. My sister (mother of the 4 year old) was especially happy to have a full kids club in Dingle so she could get a little break (although she ended up spending her time doing laundry!) The kids especially loved the Dromoland Castle, with its go-karts and pool. I found it handy to have everything prepaid.
Hiring a driver was the right thing to do and Bill was delightful. He shared his enthusiasm for his homeland and gave us an insider’s view, finding us nice little places to eat and to explore. He was punctual, safe and dependable – we won’t soon forget him!
There was a little communication issue at the start. He asked my sister and dad if they had anything in particular in mind for the trip and they said not really. I on the other hand had done a lot of research and had a better idea of what I wanted to accomplish each day. Bill believed he was going to show us everything his way, while I was expecting something else. Once we sorted that out, it was smoother sailing. I’m wondering if it might not have been useful for us to email our planned excursions ahead of time? Just a thought.
Attached you’ll find a few pics of the trip, including a selfie with Bill on the last day. I'll attach a few more to the next email.
Again, many thanks!
Anne and family
Anne Fleming, Toronto, Ontario, Canada