Glendalough (/ ˌ ɡ l ɛ nd ə l ɒ x /; Irish: Gleann DA Loch , meaning “Valley of two lakes”) is a glacial valley in County Wicklow, Ireland, known for an early medieval monastic founded in the 6th century by St Kevin.


Kevin, a descendant of one of the ruling families in Leinster, studied as a boy under the care of three holy men, Eoghan, Lochan and Eanna. During this time he went to Glendalough. He would return later, with a small group of monks to found a monastery where the ‘two rivers form a confluence’. Kevin’s writings discuss his fighting “knights” at Glendalough; Researchers now believe that this refers to the process of self-examination and his personal temptations. [1] His fame as a holy man spread and he attracted many followers. He died in about 618th For six centuries afterwards, Glendalough flourished and the Irish Annals contain references to the death of abbots and raids on the settlement. [2]

Around 1042, the oak wood from Glendalough used to build the second longest (30 m) Viking longship ever recorded. A modern copy of the ship was built in 2004 and is currently located in Roskilde, Denmark. [3]

At the Synod of Rath Breasail in 1111, Glendalough was named one of the two pins in the North Leinster.

The Book of Glendalough was written about 1131st

St. Laurence O’Toole, born in 1128, became the abbot of Glendalough and was well known for his holiness and hospitality. Even after his appointment as Archbishop of Dublin in 1162, he returned occasionally to Glendalough, to the solitude of St. Kevin bed. He died in Eu in Normandy in 1180. [2]

During 1214, the pins in Glendalough and Dublin were. From this point, cultural and ecclesiastical status Glendalough declined. The destruction of the settlement of the English forces in 1398 left it a ruin, but it continued as a church of local importance and a place of pilgrimage.

Glendalough features on the 1598 map “A Modern Display of Ireland, one of the British Isles” by Abraham Ortelius’ Glandalag “.

Descriptions of Glendalough from the 18th and 19th centuries include references to times of “riotous assembly” on the feast of St. Kevin on 3 June.[2]

The current remaining in Glendalough tell only a small part of its history.The monastery in its heyday included workshops, areas for manuscript writing and copying, apartments, an infirmary, farm buildings and housing for both monks and lay a large population. The buildings that survive probably date from between the 10th and 12th centuries. [2]

regular see

Glendalough is currently a full view of the Catholic Church. It is used for bishops who hold no ordinary power of their own and thus are titular Bishop.[4]

titular Bishop

  • Raymond D’Mello (20 December 1969 -13 December 1973)
  • Marian Przykucki (December 12, 1973 to June 15, 1981)
  • Donal Murray (4 March 1982-10 February 1996)
  • Diarmuid Martin (5 December 1998 – October 14, 2014)
  • Guy Sansaricq (6 June 2006 – August 16, 2014) [4]

annalistic references

See Annals of Inisfallen (AI)

  • AI800.2 Minndenach, abbot of Glenn dá Locha, rested.
  • AI809.2 Échtbrann, abbot of Glenn dá Locha [rested].
  • AI1003.6 Dúnchad Ua Mancháin, abbot of Glenn dá Locha, rested.

Monuments in Lower Valley


Gateway to the monastery town of Glendalough is one of the most important monuments, now totally unique in Ireland. It was originally two floors with two fine granite arch. The antae or protruding walls at each end indicates that it had a wooden roof. Inside the gate, in the west wall, is a cross-inscribed stone. This designated sanctuary, the limit of the area refuge. Paving of the causeway in the monastery town are still preserved in part, but very little remains of the enclosure wall. [2]

The Round Tower

This fine tower built of mica-schist interspersed with granite is approximately 30 meters high, with an entrance hall 3.5 meters from the base. The conical roof was built in 1876 using the original stones. The tower originally had six hours floors connected by ladders. The four floors above the main floor, each lit by a small window; while the upper floors are four windows facing the cardinal points of the compass. round towers, landmarks for approaching visitors, was built as a bell tower, but also served on occasion as a store-house and as safe havens in times of attack. [2]


The largest and most impressive of the buildings at Glendalough, the cathedral had several phases of construction, at the earliest, consisting of the current nave with its antae. The large mica-schist rocks that can be seen up to the height of the square-headed west doorway was reused from a previous smaller church. The chancel and sacristy are from the late 12th and early 13th centuries. The chancel arch and east window was nicely decorated, although many of the stones are now missing. The north door of the nave is also from this period. According south window in the chancel is an ambry or wall cupboard and a piscina, a basin used for washing the sacred vessels. A few meters south of the cathedral an early cross of local granite, with a unpierced ring, commonly known as St. Kevin’s Cross. [2]

Priests’ House

Almost completely reconstructed from the original stones, built on a 1779 sketch made by Beranger, the priests’ house a small Romanesque building, with a decorative bow at the east end. It gets its name from the practice of the Inter Ring priests there in the 18th and 19th centuries. Its initial purpose is unknown, although it may have been used to house relics of St.Kevin. [2]

St. Kevin Church or “kitchen”

This stone roof building originally had only one ship, with the entrance in the west and a little round-headed window in the east gable. The upper part of the window can be seen in what became the chancel arch, while the chancel (now missing) and the sacristy were added later. The steep roof formed by the overlapping blocks, is a carrier of a semicircular arch. Access to the cottage or the roof chamber was through a rectangular opening to the western part of the vault. Church also had one hour the first floor. The bell tower with its conical lid and four small windows rising from the western part of the stone ceiling in the form of a miniature circular tower. [2]

St. Ciarán’s (Kieran’s) Church

The remains of this ship-and-cows church discovered in 1875. The church celebrates probably St. Ciarán (Kieran), the founder of Clonmacnoise, a monastic settlement that had associations with Glendalough in the 10th century. [2]

St Marys or Our Lady’s Church

One of the earliest and most made of churches, Mary or Our Lady’s Church consists of nave with a recent cows. Its granite west door with an architrave has inclined jambs and a massive lintel. In front of the lintel is inscribed with an unusual saltire or x-shaped cross. East windows are round-headed, with a hood molding and carved two very worn heads on the outside. [2]

Trinity Church

A simple nave-and-chancel church, with a fine chancel arch. Trinity Church is located next to the main road. A square-headed doorway in the west side leads to a later annexe, possibly a sacristy. A round tower or bell tower was built in a vault in this chamber. This fell in a storm in 1818. The door into the south wall of the nave also originates from this period. Protruding brackets on the ends would have carried the border joists in the ceiling. [2]

St. Saviour church

The latest of Glendalough churches, the St. Saviour built in the 12th century, probably at the time of St. Laurence O’Toole. Nave and chancel with its fine decorating stones were restored in the 1870s with the help of stones found at the site. The Romanesque chancel arch has three orders, with very ornate capitals. The east window has two round head lights. Its decorated features include a snake, a lion, and two birds holding a human head between its beak.A staircase in the eastern wall leading from a neighboring domestic building would have given access to a room above the choir. [2]

Monument near Upper Lake

Reefert Church

Located in a grove of trees, this ship-and-cows church dates from around 1100. Most of the surrounding walls are modern. The name comes from Righ Fearta , the burial place of kings. The church was built in a simple style, has a granite doorway with sloping side panels and the flat piece and a granite cross bow. The protruding brackets at each end by Verge timber for the roof.East of the church there are two intersections of note, one with a utarbetadinterlace patterns. On the other side of Poulanass River, near the Reefert are the remains of another small church. [2]

St. Kevin Cell

Built on a rocky spur of the lake, this stone structure was 3.6 meters in diameter with walls 0.9 meters thick and a doorway on the east side. Only the foundations survive today and it is possible that the cell had a stone Corbelled roof, similar to the beehive huts on Skellig Michael, County Kerry.[2]

The “Caher”

This stone walls circular enclosure on flat land between the two lakes is 20 meters in diameter and is of unknown date. Nearby are several intersections, apparently used as stations on the pilgrimage. [2]

Temple-na-Skellig and St. Kevin bed

This small rectangular church on the southern shore of the Upper Lake is accessible only by boat, through a series of steps from the bridge. West of the church is a raised platform with stone walls, where the residential huts probably stod.Kyrkan, partly built in the 12th century, has a granite doorway with inclined jambs. At the eastern end is a Latin cross inscribed with several common grave slabs and three small crosses. Nearby is St. Kevin’s bed, a cave in the rock about 8 meters above the level of Upper Lake and said a retreat of St. Kevin and later to St. Laurence O’Toole. Partly artificial, driven back 2 meters into the mountain. [2]


The valley was formed during the last ice age by glaciers that left a moraine valley mouth. The Poulanass river, which plunges into the valley from the south, creating a delta, which eventually awarded the original lake in two. [5]

Vegetation and Natural Resources

Glendalough is surrounded by semi-natural oak forest. A large part of this previously coppiced (cut to the base at regular intervals) to produce wood, charcoal and bark. In spring, the Oakwood floor covered with a display avblåklockor, sorrel and wood anemones. Other common plants are wood rush, bracken, fern ferns and various species of mosses. The bottom is largely of holly, hazel and ash.

In the western part of Upper Lake lie the ruins of an abandoned mining village normally only be reached on foot. The mining of lead took place here from 1850 until about 1957, but the mines in the valley of Glendalough were smaller and less important than those around Glendasan Valley, from where they are separated by Camaderry Mountain. 1859 the Glendasan Glendalough mines and interconnected by a series adits, now flooded, through the rock.This made it easier to transport ore from Glendalough and process it there.


Glendalough is a good place to look for some of Ireland’s newest breeding species, such as the mergansers and great spotted woodpecker, and some of the most rare, such as the redstart and wood warbler, peregrine, dipper, cuckoo, Jay ochormvråk can also be seen. [6]


There are many hiking trails of varying difficulty around Glendalough. In the valley itself are nine color-coded hiking trails maintained by the Wicklow Mountains National Park. They all begin at an information office close to Upper Lough where maps are available. There are also a number of guided walking options.

The Wicklow Way, a long distance waymarked footpath, passes through Glendalough on its way from Rathfarnham in the north to the southernmost point of Clonegal in County Carlow.

Mountaineering Glendalough’s granite rock, located on the hillside above the northwest part of the valley, has been a popular rock-climbing spot since the first climb was established in 1948. The current guidebook, published in 1993, lists about 110 lines, on all grades up to E5 / 6a, but many more climbs, mainly in the higher grades, have been recorded since then. [7]

The climb varies between one and four slots, and up to over 100 meters in length. There are several sectors:

  • Twin Buttress , a major pillar divided in the middle of a seasonal waterfall, which contains the most popular climbs. This area is accessed via a zigzag path at the head of the valley.
  • The upper Cliffs , a band of rocks high up on the hillside east of the Twin Buttress.
  • Acorn Buttress, a small buttress just below the Twin Buttress, which is a popular base camp location.
  • Hobnail Buttress , a small pillar with some easy climbing, on the hillside one kilometer to the east.

The quality of climbing along with various grades attracts climbers of all levels to Glendalough, and make it a favorite destination for climbers Dublin in particular. The Irish’s Club has worked a climbing hut in the area since the 1950s. Below the cliff is an extensive boulder field. This is a popular place for bouldering activities, [8] the blocks within the reach of the path is especially popular.


  • St. Kevin’s Church, Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, Ireland 2012
  • Lower Lake.
  • Upper Lake.
  • Round Tower.
  • St. Kevin church
  • 1949 Irish shilling stamp Vox Hiberniae flying over Gleann Da Loc .
  • Upper Lake and Valley
  • The Round Tower at Glendalough.
  • St. Kevin Church on the coat of arms of County Wicklow
  • Glendalough (1890)
  • Glendalough Gatehouse
  • St. Kevin, Glendalough
  • St Kevin B
  • Glendalough (2011)

See also

  • Abbot of Glendalough
  • Bishop of Glendalough
  • Irish round tower
  • Saint Kevin
  • List of abbeys and priories in Wicklow


  1. Jump up ^ Glendalough
  2. ^ Jump up to: abcdefghijklmnopq tourist Glendalough, Produced by “The Office of Public Works’ (Oifig na nOibreacha Poibli), Glendalough, County Wicklow.
  3. Jump up ^ “Havhingsten fra Glendalough (Skuldelev 2), trans. Sea Stallion from Glendaloug “. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  4. ^ Jump up to: ab Catholic hierarchy List of titular Bishop of Glenndálocha
  5. Jump up ^ Nairn, Richard (2001). Discovering Wild Wicklow.Townhouse and houses. p. 8. ISBN 1-86059-141-8.
  6. Jump up ^ BirdWatch Ireland Irish Birds Vol.7 (2004-5) pp.377,542,547;Vol.8 (2006-9) p 101,103,253,257,367,369,574,576 .; Vol.9 (2010) p.69
  7. Jump up ^ Lyons, Joe; Fenlon, Robbie (1993). Mountaineering Guide to Wicklow. Mountaineering Council of Ireland. ISBN 978-0-902940-11-6.
  8. Jump up ^ TheShortSpan – Bouldering in Ireland