Glendalough (which means “the valley of the two lakes”) is an early Christian monastery. It was founded by St. in the 6th century. It contains ruins of a round tower, a few churches, cathedral, priest’s house and a graveyard.
I have visited Glendalough twice, on our own car and once through a Railtours tour. The advantage of your own car is you can stay and browse as long as you like. However, the Railtours tour will be sufficient for most people. We took a train from Dublin to Gorey that along the coast before going inland and we got off at Arklow to catch a coach.
We drove first to Avoca Mill/Weavers, home of the Ballykissangel soap opera. There is a weaving workshop, shops a restaurant on site.
We then drove through the Mountains to Glendalough. We went first at the Upper Lake, which was pretty, then we went to the ruins near t Lake and looked around. Some of the sights include:
Gateway – this was the main access to enter Glendalough and dates back to the 10th century. It is a double gateway.
Round Tower – served as a storehouse, bell-tower and a place of refuge when Glendalough was attacked. The entrance is approximately 11.5 feet above the ground.
Cathedral – this is the largest church at Glendalough and one of the largest known early Christian churches in Ireland. It ceased being a cathedral in 1214. There are some old gravestones inside.
Priest’s House – dates from the 12 century and thought to have been an oratory or shrine. It also served as a place to inter priests in latter centuries.
The return drive takes you back through the mountains, including the area of the mountains known as “the Scalp”.