travel

Wicklow Mountains National Park and the monastic sites of Glendalough

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St. Kevin’s Kitchen

“The valley of the two lakes” is know for is beautiful scenery, abundant wildlife, and archaeology.  This is the place you want to head to if you need a quiet place to still your mind after the hustle of bustle of city life in Dublin.  Glendalough Valley is located in Wicklow Mountains National Park, which is situated south of Dublin, and has so much to do and see, that it will entice and entertain all day.

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The Gateway

Probably one of the most popular places to visit would be the Glendalough Monastic Sites.  The main site is know as the Monastic City and it is located right beside the visitor center.  This site contains ruins that are inching up towards 1000 years old.  Take a walk through the Monastic city, entrance is free and the ruins of The Gateway, The Round Tower, and The Cathedral are a short walk away from each other.

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The Round Tower

Everyone walks through The Gateway to get into the Monastic City.  You will get a chance to see the cross inscribed stone and the original stone pathways.  From there walking through a cemetery you will see The Round Tower that is 30 meters high.  The Round Tower’s roof had fallen and was rebuilt in 1876 however they did use the original stone for the rebuild.  From there move on to The Priest’s House or St. Kevin’s Kitchen.  There is quite a few ruins in the Monastic City to see before moving onto the nature trails or walking trails of the Wicklow Mountains National Park.

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A quick note, the monastic sites are located in the Wicklow Mountains National Park however they are managed by the OPW (Office of Public Works).  There is not entrance fee for the monastic sites and all sites are open all the time even if the car park is closed.

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Wicklow Mountains National Park also has over 8 trails ranging for a 30 minute walk to a 4 hour walk winding around the upper and lower lake.  Do not forget good hiking shoes and a rain jacket or poncho as the trail tends to be very muddy and the rain comes and goes.  I recommend starting with the Poulanass and St. Kevin’s Cell trail.  This is about a 30 minute moderate walk and you are able to see St. Kevin’s Cell and a scenic Upper Lake overlook.  There is also a 40 minutes walk that takes you to a waterfall.

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Before you head back to the city, I do suggest picking up a coffee to go from the Glendalough Hotel’s bar.  Or if you want a quick beer or bite to eat the food is decent as well.


If you did not rent a car there is still a way to get out and enjoy a peaceful day.  Transportation in Ireland doesn’t not always mean a car.  We actually took a tour out to Glendalough, but more on that later.

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25 comments

  1. That looks like a peaceful place. I would enjoy each moment at Wicklow, the monastic site would transport me into another time.

    1. It is very peaceful and if you head for ruins outside of the Monastic City you are very likely to have them to yourself as not a of people want to make the trek.

  2. This looks wonderful, and certainly a place i’d like to visit, although maybe when the children are a bit older and I can escape with just my husband!

    1. That’s too funny, we were escaping our kids for the week too! Although I would love to take my kids there someday because they love to hike.

    1. It is very green, except maybe in the Burren although I am sure in the summer it’s a vibrant green color between the rocks! Thank you for visiting

  3. Wow! those are beautiful photos you got! I love the serenity of this place. I would love to visit here one day I’ll make sure it’s on summer so I can see the beautiful animals in the forest.

  4. Those pictures are fabulous! I would love to visit the national park, as it’s truly beautiful! I’m not even much of a hiker, but if there’s proof that the view is worth it [whether that be through word of mouth, pictures, and/or videos], I’m all about it! When I find myself in Ireland, I’ll definitely have to make sure this is on my list 😍

  5. Wow! Love your photos and the description of this beautiful place! I would love to see this one day. This destination is definitely on my bucket list now. You have some great pictures!

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