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
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.
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
As we made our way south from Duncannon, we stumbled upon this little gem… Ruins of a Templar’s Church. There are only scant remains of the original Templar Church, but the medieval tower is quite impressive. It stands four stories high and has crenellations on top. The old 19th century church has all of its walls standing but is completely roofless and is joined to the tower by an extension where the entrance door lies.
The Knights Templar first utilized this spot by building a wooden tower here. The current stone tower that can be seen was built after the Templar lands were given to their rivals the Knights Hospitaller. The more modern church building is the old Church of Ireland church that was used up until the newer St Mogues church in Fethard was built.
The Order of the Knights Templar were originally founded in 1119 with the responsibility of protecting pilgrims making the journey to Jerusalem. While the military arm of the order was battling in the Crusades many lands throughout Europe were given to the order to help fund their efforts.
Following the Anglo-Norman Invasion of Ireland King Henry II granted the lands to the south of a line drawn from Duncannon to Baginbun. Following the dissolution of the order on Friday 13th, 1307 the lands were given to their rival order, the Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, also known as the Knights Hospitalier. Three stone towers still stand from the time of the Hospitaliers, built on the same locations as those used by the Templars. One at Ballyhack, one at Killoggan and this one at Templetown. ~Hookpenisula.com
See you at our next stop; stay safe my friends!
To see Dan’s post from this lucky find, click HERE
Once we crossed the River Barrow on the ferry from Passage East, we stopped at Duncannon Beach to stretch our legs and take in the sites. The beach was so peaceful during our visit; however, knowing this site has been utilized by many to protect from invaders since earlier than the 12th century, I am sure it has seen its share of troubled waters.
A fort was built on this site by Normans in the 12th century, and there may have been an earlier earthen fort built by Gaelic Irish. The present fort was built in 1587–88 by Queen Elizabeth I to defend Waterford from possible invasion from the Spanish Armada.
Duncannon Fort is an impressive presentation of a bastioned fortress perched on the side of the stunning Hook Peninsula, County Wexford, part of Ireland’s Ancient East. This historic structure has gathered countless intriguing and awe-inspiring stories over its 450-year history and holds one of the best vantage points to take in the beautiful Waterford Estuary from. Further information can be found at www.duncannonfort.ie
We started our day off at Colneen House B&B in Tramore just like every other morning in Ireland – BREAKFAST!
In avoiding major metropolitan areas as much as possible, we made our way towards a ferry town – Passage East through Crooke town. We stopped for coffee and noticed St. John’s Baptist Church and decided to take a closer look. After this brief stop for some morning coffee and a quick adventure, we hopped on the ferry and away we went! Our day was just beginning; see you at our next stop.
To see Dan’s post of this portion of our trip, click here
Our stop in Tramore, Co. Waterford was one of our unscheduled destinations as we really did not know where we would end our day. We called ahead to make reservations at Colneen House Bed & Breakfast which is located in charming town by the sea in southeast Ireland.
We were not aware, but April 24, 2016 was the Republic of Ireland census. The census is a detailed count of every person living in Ireland on that particular date. Census forms are delivered to every household in the state on the night of the census. Any property where someone might be present on that night also received a form which includes hotels, guesthouses, hospitals, and ships. I am not sure how we were counted in this census but we did fill out a form.
The Bed and Breakfast was adorable and offered a wonderful breakfast; I would highly recommend a stay if in the area. We did not have much time in this town but did talk a walk along The Doneraile Walk. Enjoy some photos taken as we traveled to our destination for the night and ended this very exciting day. I also included some interesting finds in Tramore during our walk that night. Both Dan and I very much enjoyed the Guinness signage from town to town.
To see Dan’s blog of our adventures in this town, click here.
Our next adventure for this day was to stop in the beautiful town of Cahir. Close your eyes and imagine the colorful pubs and the other stone buildings that lined the streets. For much of its history, the town has been influenced by the Butler family. It was from this family that the first Barons of Cahir were created. The town was known for much of its history as being a defense town.
Cahir Castle, which is situated on a small island in the River Suir, is the town’s main tourist attraction. It is one of the largest ancient castles in Ireland and was built in County Tipperary in 1142. Standing tall, the castle appears to grow out of the rock. Now situated in the town center, Cahir Castle is well preserved and has a guided tour and audiovisual show in multiple languages. The castle tour will take you down spiral staircases as well as into the deep dark prison dungeons. It is one of the best-preserved standing castles of Ireland. In 1375, the castle was granted to James Butler, newly created Baron of Cahir, for his loyalty to Edward III. In 1961 the last Lord Cahir died, and the castle reverted to the state. ~irishtourism.com
We spent most of our time wandering the castle grounds, but we did take a brief walk in the town center. The geese and goslings on the castle grounds where a hit as the crowd watched them drop from the foliage where they nested along the wall into the cast moat. Dan got the best sequence of the babies entering the water so I have included them here. To see Dan’s post of this site, click here.
I hope you enjoyed this leg of the trip; I will see you at our next stop! Until then, I am sending peace and love to each and everyone of you.
Leaving Killarney National Park was bittersweet; however, this was just the beginning of the adventure for this day. I knew we had many more opportunities to become awestruck as one never knows when they happen to come across a ruined castle in Ireland 😉
Carrigaphooca Castle or “Castle on the Rock of the Fairy” is a ruined five story rectangular tower house situated on a steep-sided rock overlooking the River Sullane. Located just west of Macroom, the tower dominates the landscape is is hard to miss. Carrigaphooca is made of sandstone and limestone and was built as a defensive tower by MacCarthy clan member, Donal MacCarthy of Drishane. The structure is positioned in an area rich with neolithic monuments; a stone circle lies two fields to the east. Wikipedia
Built by the Harding family in the closing years of the eighteenth century, its first years of business were busy meeting the increased grain demands which arose due to the Napoleonic wars. Corn and milling created prosperity in the area at the time, as farmers had a ready market for their crop, while the mills provided employment. In 1899 the power of the mill wheel was harnessed to provide electricity to the town, and it is thought that Macroom was one of the first towns in the country with electric street lighting. https://www.buildingsofireland.ie/buildings-search/building/20907103/bealick-mill-bealick-county-cork
Bealick Mill has recently been restored and is now a fully functional mill and heritage center. Visitors can now enjoy the tranquil lawns around the mill or venture inside to view its intricate mechanics. The mill also houses a gift shop selling produce from local artists and craft workers and a famine exhibition.
We continued our drive through Killarney National Park and found many treasures along the way. From a Ladies View, a haunted church, multiple leprechaun sightings, and of course, more sheep 😉
Ladies View is about 12 miles from Killarney on the N71 road as you go towards Kenmare. The view here is probably the best known of Killarney and is a major attraction for visitors. Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting visited here during the royal visit in 1861. They were so taken with the view that it was named after them. The Irish Times ranked Ladies View as one of the most photographed places in Ireland
A Haunted Church
Derrycunnihy Church is 120-years old and sits about halfway between the famous tunnel and Ladies View on N71 in the heart of Killarney National Park. The old church has long since been abandoned but is currently going through renovations. Many years ago, a girl died when she was knocked off her bicycle outside the church on her way home. It has been mentioned that a young girl dressed in white can still be seen wandering around outside the church late at night and if you ask the locals, they’ll tell you that she’s still trying to make her way home. There have also been many reports over the years that the ‘girl in white’ appears INSIDE passing cars. We did not meet this little girl, but we did manage to capture images of this stunning church.
Killarney National Park and Leprechaun Crossings
While hiking this area, we found quite a few breathtaking views which of course, included more sheep 😉
I hope you enjoyed the stop! I am thankful for my family and friends; stay safe everyone!
We awoke to our tenth day in Ireland and after spending two nights at the Hillcrest Farmhouse, we needed to move on. It was going to be a long day full of adventure, so we started our day with the most delicious Irish Breakfast. We headed to the sheep pastures that were located within minutes of our B & B which are just inside the boundaries of Killarney National Park. I absolutely adored spending time with the sheep; all of their different personalities just made me smile. Killarney National Park is a truly magical place and is so full of beauty and wonder.
Killarney National Park (Irish: Páirc Náisiúnta Chill Airne), near the town of Killarney, County Kerry, was the first national park in Ireland, created when the Muckross Estate was donated to the Irish Free State in 1932. The park has since been substantially expanded and encompasses over 25,425 acres of diverse ecology, including the Lakes of Killarney, oak and yew woodlands of international importance, and mountain peaks. It has the only red deer herd on mainland Ireland and is the most extensive covering of native forest remaining in Ireland. The park is of high ecological value because of the quality, diversity, and extensiveness of many of its habitats and the wide variety of species that they accommodate, some of which are rare. The park was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1981. ~ Wikipedia