Glendalough Monastic Settlement, Vale of Glendalough

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Nestled in a picturesque location between two lakes, Glendalough Monastic Settlement offers a slice of the region's religious history. Founded by Saint Kevin in the 6th century, the historical complex attracts hoards of day-trippers from Dublin, just an hour away. Much of the settlement's appeal lies in its scenic natural setting, its two pristine lakes ringed by dense woodlands, green pastures, and rugged tops of the nearby Wicklow Mountains. You can hike around the lakes, following a well-marked trail between the monastic ruins. Be sure to take a short break at the visitor center, which provides background information about the settlement through informative exhibits and brief video presentations. By using our Vale of Glendalough trip itinerary maker app , you can arrange your visit to Glendalough Monastic Settlement and other attractions in Vale of Glendalough.
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Glendalough Monastic Settlement Reviews
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  • What to say...just spectacular. It wasn't the greatest day for a walk - cold and rainy - but the monastic settlement is incredible and the walk in the woods to the Upper Lake was breathtaking. I've be...  more »
  • Interesting, and an awesome destination. Visited by car from Dublin. It was really worth the trip!!
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  • I visited on a crisp, sunny day, and it was beautiful. Besides a school tour, we were the only people there. The combination of the lakes and the ruins and graveyard were like a long bath for the soul...  more »
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  • Truly a once in a lifetime visit. Catholic hermits sought a place close to God to build a community. Their piety can be felt centuries later. The fog moving through the mountains sets a backdrop against stone ruins whose original purpose is long gone, but it's soul remains.
  • Glendalough was one of those sites I really hadn't heard much about from the tourist brochures, but since it's just a short trek from Dublin I decided to jump in the rental car and check it out, and SO glad I did. Highly recommend you hike the 'White Trail' around the Lake, pass the old Glendalough Mines and up the hillside to stunning views of the valley and lake below. The walk is about 7 miles from the main parking lot so best to head out early in the morning.
  • free self-guided walk through an old monastic site. Like most old religious sites in Ireland, it is primarily a cemetery now. There are many structures still standing that you can get a feel for how they lived during the times they were in use. Plus, the trail to Wicklow national park connects in the back so its a good segue into the park.
  • This is a must see for anyone visiting Ireland. There used to be a monastery here founded by St. Kevin and you can see what remains of it to this day - the remains of the cathedral, well preserved bell tower, church and the remains of couple more buildings. We have arrived early and this was a good decision as the place gets fairly crowded. Access to the site is free. From the site you can take an easy walk to the upper lake (around 2km away) and from there you can take other walks around the area. All the trails are very well marked and maintained. We have done the white trail which takes around 3 hours and offers some stunning views of the lake and the valley.
  • The old Glendalough Monastic site was so tranquil and serene. We were there in October and had the place almost to ourselves for a bit. The ruins, the landscape and solitude of being surrounded by nature make this place a perfect stop while exploring the Wicklow Mountains area.

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Where to stay in Vale of Glendalough

Immerse yourself in the Vale of Glendalough's beautiful nature by spending a holiday at one of its picturesque guesthouses or bed and breakfasts. Most travelers come to this valley to enjoy the peaceful surroundings, and local accommodations do their best to bring together nature and the comforts of home. There are a number of hotels in the town center. While you'll find more affordable options outside of town, you will probably need access to a car to easily get around the area. Hostels provide a place for backpackers on a budget seeking outdoor adventure.
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