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“Loved It!!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Glendalough Monastic Settlement

Glendalough Monastic Settlement
Book In Advance
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Kilkenny and Wicklow Day Tour from Dublin
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: This historic site, whose Gaelic name translates to “valley of the two lakes,” consists of the 6th-century monastery founded by St. Kevin and the famous round tower, standing 112 feet high with a base measuring 52 feet in circumference. Visitors: There is a car park at the Visitor Centre. It is recommended to see the informational video at the Visitor Centre before starting your explorations.
Cape May, New Jersey
Level Contributor
34 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Loved It!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 March 2012

Glendalough (Glen of Two Lakes) is a place you'll love if you have any interest in monastic ruins or early Christian history in Ireland. Located within the beautiful Wicklow mountains, it has a storied history, which I'd highly recommend reading up on prior to your visit. Web sites like Wikipedia have free info which will help explain the importance of the ruins & make your visit more enjoyable. Also, the visitor center shows a free educational video.

Glendalough was established in the 6th century by St Kevin. Through the centuries it flourished as a learning center even after repeated Viking raids. Unfortunately, in 1398, the site was partially destroyed by those most "lovable" neighbors from across the Irish sea, that would be the English. However, Glendalough continued as a monastery until Henry VIII/England's Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539, and a place of pilgrimage long after that. Especially on St. Kevin's feast day of June 3rd.

There are many remaining structures to see between the upper and lower lakes. The gateway into the site is the original entrance into Glendalough. It is believed most of the structures were built between the 6th & 8th centuries. From what I've read many were restored with original stones in the 1870's. The majority of the structures are near the lower lake. The ones I was most impressed with were the famous round tower & St Kevin's Kitchen. The upper lake area contains older structures said to be from St Kevin's time, including St. Kevin's cell, which is believed to have been where he lived.

I'd recommend both the upper & lower lakes if time permits. If short of time, you might be better off sticking to the lower lake, which is closest to the entrance & exit. If you intend to see the lower & upper ruins plan on no less than 2 hrs. Some visitors make an entire day of it. If possible go when the site is least likely to be over run with crowds. Early in the day might be a good time. I was there last April on an unseasonably warm, sunny day. It was mid afternoon and the crowds made it feel more like a day in the park, than a visit to an ancient monastic site. But it was still great. I certainly wouldn't miss seeing it because of the crowds. I'll be visiting Glendalough again next time I'm lucky enough to be in the land of Saints & Scholars, the Emerald Isle.

Visited April 2011
4 Thank DrunkenYank
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Level Contributor
21 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 March 2012

My family and I visited Glendalough in July 2011 and it is still as enchanting as it was when I visited as a child.
From the perfectly preserved monasteries and round tower of the monastic village to the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the valley, Glendalough is without doubt one of the most wonderful locations anywhere in Europe.
When one approaches the upper lake you are completely overwhelmed by the majestic panoramic feast in front of you.
My wife and teenage sons loved it so much that they often speak of that wonderful day we spent in Glorious Glendalough.

Visited July 2011
1 Thank james1962
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
78 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“Always worth a visit!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 February 2012

First of all, we`re living just 30 minutes away from Glendalough/Laragh. So, we`ve seen it already many times and at all seasons of the year.
The first time I`ve visit Glendalough was in Summer 2006 and from that on nearly once a year. It`s for sure everytime worth a visit and a stroll around the lakes is a must.
So far, we just visited the Glendalough Visitor Center once. The Center belongs to the OPW and if you are an owner of an OPW card, you should visit the Center. If you`re interested in history and just once in a lifetime in Glendalough, you should visit the center anyways.
The ruines and the graveyard are free of charge and is well worth visiting, as the round tower is one of the best preserved round towers in Ireland. But there is no chance to get inside. The graveyard is full of old graves and gravestones.
The main car park is also free of charge, but there is one car park on the lower lake were you have to pay. In Summer is a good possibility that the main car park is full already very early on the day.

The worst time in the year to visit Glendalough is the summer holiday time, as there will be tones of coaches with so many tourists, that Glendalough isn`t a quite place anymore. Even a typical tourism place...
A very good time to visit is Springtime or late Summer, when the school holidays in Europe are over. Our best Glendalough visit was in Winter 2010/2011, when there was so much snow around, that nobody made it there, except the 4x4 drivers like us. It was peace of heaven and the snow was untouched around the whole area. We really enjoyed that afternoon.

Visited February 2012
2 Thank Schnuk-Schnuk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dublin Ireland
Level Contributor
233 reviews
114 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 127 helpful votes
“A must when in Dublin”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 February 2012

Glendalough is somewhere that all tourists to Ireland should visit. Everyday hundreds of people come here by coach,bus and bikes from all over the world. The site is in the beautiful Wicklow mountains where the scenery is raw and rough . There was a monastic settlement on this site many years ago and it is great to see a real part of ancient Irish history. There are two beautiful lakes which are ideal for photography. Make sure you get to see them as they are a mile or two away from the settlement.

There are few places in the world that will beat the scenery here on a good day. There is a lot more to see in the Wickow Mountains.

Don't miss it.

Visited October 2011
Thank keegan_9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bay Area, California
Level Contributor
72 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
“A beautiful, serene day full of history”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 February 2012

One damp day in February, I took a bus up to Glendalough with a few friends. At first it didn't look like I was going to make it up there during my trip, but I moved some things around and freed up the 6 hours I needed to travel to and experience the area. I'm so glad I did!

I had about 4 hours in Glendalough to hike and explore (there was a bus company that drops you off around noon and picks you up at 4:30). The monastic settlement is simply beautiful. The buildings have stood up well over time and the juxtaposition of ancient and modern gravestones makes for great photography.

Don't miss a chance to walk around the lake and hike on the paths--you might even find some stray mountain goats!

Visited February 2012
Thank fluff_astrid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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