On the way to Kinsale, in Cork County I stopped at the Glendalough Monastic Settlement in Wicklow County. The Glendalough monastic site is located in the Wicklow Mountains National Park. I imagine the drive towards Glendalough from Dublin would be beautiful on a clear day as it takes you through the mountains. It was foggy during my drive so the views were mostly of mist and a few sheep.
It was pouring rain during my visit to Glendalough but there were still a number of visitors exploring the 6th century Christian monastic site. There is a small visitors center located at the site with an attached exhibition space. I didn’t go into the museum space during my visit but I did go into the center to get maps of the site which outlined the monastic ruins as well as the walking trails on the site. Having a description of the monastic ruins was helpful as there is very little signage near the ruins themselves.
There are a number of monastic ruins on the site including: an arched gateway, a round tower, cathedral, church, and smaller out buildings. The round tower is the most visible from a distance and is still in surprisingly good shaping considering portions of the other buildings have collapsed. The tower is around 30 meters high and served as a landmark, a storehouse, and a safe space during times of pillaging. The monastic ruins are surrounded by graves and memorials to the brethren who occupied the site.
After exploring the monastic ruins I walked towards the upper lake on one of the walking paths. The walk was nice though probably would have been more enjoyable in better weather. The walk did provide a nice glimpse at some of the natural landscape encompassed by the National Park and extensive efforts that have gone into creating trails, walking paths, and nature walks.