10 day self-drive tour of Ireland : October 2009
Continuing with my ‘travel reminiscences’ series :
After two days in Dublin, hubby and I picked up our hired car from the airport (only because it made sense to avoid the city traffic and start our self-drive tour without any hassles … getting onto the highway from the airport was easy). Our first stop was Glendalough in County Wicklow. Here, in the steep wooded slopes, is home to Ireland’s ‘most atmospheric monastic sites’.
‘Established by St Kevin in the 6th century, the settlement was sacked time and again by the Vikings, but nevertheless flourished for over 600 years. Decline set in after English forces partially razed the site in 1398, though it functioned as a monastic centre until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. Pilgrims kept on coming to Glendalough even after that, particularly on St Kevin’s feast day, 3rd June. The age of the buildings is uncertain, but most date from 8th – 12th century. Many were restored during the 1870’s’ .. Eyewitness Travel: Ireland
The Cathedral (the nave being the earliest part built in 10th century) is the largest known Early Christian church in Ireland and was originally dedicated to SS Peter and Paul, but ‘ceased to be a cathedral in 1241’
St Kevin’s Cross (which neither hubby nor I took a decent photo of) stands 2.5m tall with the arms of the cross measuring 1 m in length. The cross is a ‘fine example of how St Patrick tried to help the once pagan people of Ireland acclimate to Christianity.’ He combined the cross with a circle representing the sun – pagans worshipped the sun and moon. Local legend says anyone who wraps their arms around the entire width of the cross body and close the circle by touching fingertips will have their wishes granted. If only we had known that before we went .. I would have tried 🙂
St Kevin’s Kitchen – a small oratory with a steeply pitched stone roof erected in the 11th century (or even earlier) is popularly known as St Kevin’s Kitchen because the belfry (a later addition) resembles a chimney
The Round Tower – 30m (91ft) high – the cap was rebuilt in 1870’s using stones found inside the tower. Round towers (bell towers) were built between 10th-12th century on monastic sites, were used as refuge and to store valuable manuscripts. The entrance, which could be as high as 4m above ground, was reached by a ladder that was hauled up from the inside. Other movable ladders connected the tower’s wooden floors …
I cannot help but to say .. Rapunzel, Rapunzel .. let down your hair, so that I may climb your golden stair ..
A pretty setting for a restaurant and, I suppose, a visitors centre but we didn’t go indoors
I loved the beautiful autumn trees ..
… Glendalough, about an hours drive from Dublin, is well worth a visit when in Ireland