Glendalough, County Wicklow
Free Admission Tourist Attraction in Ireland #20
Glendalough has for decades been a popular destination for Dubliners seeking an escape from city life. The drive through the Wicklow mountains to get there can be both beautiful and tricky with winding roads and unhelpful signage posing a problem for any driver unfamiliar with the area. Nevertheless it is well worth the effort to spend at least half a day here, exploring the outdoor ruins and wonderful landscape.
This is primarily an outdoors tourist attraction. Be prepared to do plenty of walking. There is a small interpretive centre that can be accessed for a small fee but really this is a self-guided experience! Guided tours are available for a fee.
Glendalough is one of Ireland's most important ancient Monastic sites that was founded by Saint Kevin in the sixth century. The 30 Metre Round Tower is perhaps the most impressive architectural feature at the site with St. Maryís Church, a large granite cross and the ruins of Saint Kevin's Church dating form the twelfth century. Trinity Church and St. Saviourís Priory nearby create what was in fact a form of medieval city that is dotted with other ruins and tombs.
Nearby tourist attractions include the magnificent Powercourt Gardens (great for older adults), Clara Lara Adventure Park (great for kids), Mount Usher Gardens at Ashford (great for a bit of shopping and a very fine cafe), Wicklow Jail (boasting night tours in 'Ireland's most haunted Jail'), while the nearby N11 motorway that runs down the south-east coast of Ireland lays open access to Wexford, Waterford and beyond. So there is plenty to see and do!
Glendalough takes a bit of effort to reach. Whether by tour bus or self-drive it is recommended to leave early and arrive early. This is not a place to run-around and check off your list of places to see. A visit to Glendalough in the morning and then on to Mount Usher for lunch and another stroll would make a fantastic day out.
Find out more here: http://www.glendalough.ie
Video about Glendalough, County Wicklow
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