Thursday, 19 December 2013

Glendalough, Ireland

Glendalough is one of my favourite day trips from Dublin. It is a village in County Wicklow, and the settlement of a very old monastery. There is a lot of history around the place, but Glendalough is above all about atmosphere. It has huge Celtic crosses, the ruins of the monastery, and the fascinating round tower. The setting is the great strength of Glendalough: green hills, greenery, and not one but two peaceful and scenic lakes (Glendalough means "valley between two lakes").

The Celtic cemetery in Glendalough

The monastery was founded in the 6th century, when St. Kevin, a hermit priest, arrived here. The monastic settlement is now abandoned and in ruins, because the English troops attacked it in the 14th century, but it has become one of the most popular destinations for tourists who want to explore the Irish countryside on a day trip from the more cosmopolitan capital, Dublin.
There is a small entrance fee (3€) to see Glendalough, but it's really worth it. It's a magical place that won't disappoint you. You'll keep thinking that an elf or a fairy will suddenly appear among the greenery, and it's the perfect place to hear about Irish legends and folktales.
I went to Glendalough on a day tour from Dublin some years ago. If you don't like guided tours (they are usually quite pricey), you must take into account that there are is, to my knowledge, only a private bus company that travels from Dublin to Glendalough, St. Kevins Bus Services  (20€ for a return ticket). The bus leaves Dublin at around 11.30 and departing from Glendalough at 16.30 (17.40 Saturday and Sunday in the summer months). The journey time is 1h 20min. Overall, this might be one of the few cases where using a tour is actually convenient both in terms of money and time savings, also because the tour drives you to other places in the area.

Ireland is a fascinating and exciting place to spend your holidays, don't underestimate it. The Irish traditions, its nature and its friendly people will surprise you and steal your heart. I went there twice and had the chance to explore different parts of the country: Dublin and its surroundings, as well as County Wicklow and the prehistoric sites scattered in the countryside, plus Cork and the nature around it. Quite distinct from the United Kingdom both in terms of culture and vibe, Ireland is a land full of history and still quite attached to its traditions, where sometimes children learn to dance ceili at school and try to master their beautiful, but difficult, ancestral language, Gaelic.

Have you ever been to Ireland? What are your favourite places there?


  1. I've never heard of Glendalough, but it sounds interesting. Good to know that it's a great day trip option from Dublin. Jave has been wanting to take a grand trip to the region, so I'll have to keep this place in mind when we finally make it to Ireland.

    1. It's definitely worth it, and the mountains around it are also a place to see!


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