Glendalough Monastic Site – County Wicklow, Ireland

Glendalough (Gleann Dá Loch, meaning “Valley of two lakes”) is a glacial valley in County Wicklow, Ireland, renowned for an early 6th century monastic settlement founded by Saint Kevin. The area is absolutely stunning, and the monastic “city” was on our list of places to visit while in Ireland.

The ancient ruins of Glendalough include several churches and an impressive 30-meter-high round tower. The valley stretches for approximately 3km in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Glendalough’s Upper Lake was the original site of the monastic settlement and features Reefert Church, Temple-na-Skellig, Saint Kevin’s Cell, Saint Kevin’s Bed, the Caher, and several high crosses. ~discoverireland.ie

The most impressive building that could be seen for miles was the Round Tower

The most famous of all the landmarks in Glendalough is the Round Tower which stands 33 meters above the ground. It was built almost 1000 years ago by the monks of St. Kevin’s monastery. The conical roof had to be replaced in 1876 when it was struck by lightning. The towers were called “Cloigtheach”, meaning bell tower, suggesting their main use. The towers were sometimes used as a place of refuge for monks when the monastery was under attack. They also served as both as lookout posts and as beacons foe approaching monks and pilgrims. ~ visitwicklow.ie

St. Kevin’s Kitchen (Church)

St. Kevin’s Church better known as St. Kevin’s Kitchen is a nave-and-chancel church of the 12th century. It is called St Kevin’s kitchen because people believed that the bell tower was a chimney to a kitchen but really no food was ever cooked there. This stone-roofed building originally had a nave only, with entrance at the west end and a small round-headed window in the east gable. The belfry with its conical cap and four small windows rises from the west end of the stone roof in the form of a miniature round tower. ~ visitwicklow.ie

I wish we would have been able to stay longer in the area and hike in the glaciated valley… Maybe next time!

To view Dan’s post from this leg of out trip, click HERE

By Hook or By Crook

Hook Peninsula is the “Hook” in “By Hook or by Crook.”  Hook and Crook are the names of headlands on either side of a bay by Waterford, Ireland.  Hook Head and Crooke are on opposite sides of the Waterford channel.

Loftus Hall

As we traveled along Hook Peninsula toward Hook Head, we passed Loftus Hall.  Loftus Hall is a large mansion built on the site of the original Redmond Hall. It is said by locals to be haunted by the devil and the ghost of a young woman. In most recent times, the house was ran as a tourist attraction with haunted guided tours; I would have loved to see the inside. The Lodgers, a 2017 gothic thriller, was also shot at this location. For those of you that are interested, the mansion is on the market for $2.87 m.

Hook Head Lighthouse

The lighthouse is situated on Hook Head at the tip of the Hook Peninsula in County Wexford, in Ireland. It is one of the oldest lighthouses in the world and the second oldest operating lighthouse in the world. It is operated by the Commissioners of Irish Lights, the Irish Lighthouse Authority, it marks the eastern entrance to Waterford Harbor. Hook Lighthouse is one of the most fascinating examples of medieval architecture in Ireland. The tower stands four stories high with walls up to 4m thick. The current structure has stood for 849 years as of 2021. ~ Wikipedia

We wandered the grounds of this astounding lighthouse and our breaths were again taken away by the beauty of this location. Looking out to the sea, it was hard to image the ships this lighthouse has warned of the dangerous rocks in the area and brought them to safety. While looking out to the sea, we thought we saw a person at first in the cold Atlantic, but then it was gone as quickly as it appeared. Looking out again, we saw the head appear and we might have thought, “did we just see a mermaid perhaps?” 😉 Nope, not a mermaid, but we had a very curious seal keeping an eye on us. It was fun to watch for a while, but we needed to head on our way.

To see Dan’s post from this leg of our trip, click HERE

See you at our next stop!