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Ireland. Glendalough which has more to offer.

Glendalough, “the valley of two lakes,” is a popular tourist destination in Wicklow County, just a stone’s throw away from Dublin. If you google Glendalough, you’ll see tons of pictures of an old monastic site with a tall pointed tower, gray roofless buildings, and a graveyard with Celtic crosses. The site, which dates back to the 6th century, is absolutely out of this world. Ancient. Mysterious. Picturesque. But Glendalough has more to offer. In this post, I want to share our 2-day trip to Glendalough (which should have lasted longer!).

First, the monastic site.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Enjoy.

Classical photo of the monastic site. This is what you see when you enter.

Leaning tombstones

Celtic crosses

More tombstones and crosses, with spectacular landscapes in the distance

Another classical photo of the monastic site

Priest's House (12th century)

Most tourists come to Glendalough for 30 minutes, walk among the tombstones and leave. But right behind the graveyard are some of the most spectacular landscapes I’ve ever seen. Right behind the graveyard are two lakes located in a valley between two mountain ridges. 

Upper Lake

We went up one ridge on the first day and along the other ridge on the second day.

Day 1. The ridge on the left.
Day 1 was gloomy. It was drizzling non-stop. The forest on the way up was dark and silent. We were completely alone there. All these factors added to the enigmatic ambience of the place.

Wooden staircase leading to the top of the mountain ridge

Lower Lake and the monastic site in the distance

Both lakes. Darkness in Glendalough has a blue tint.

Day 2. The ridge on the right.
Day 2 was sunny. We set our minds on reaching the point where the ridges meet, embracing the lakes. This point is also home to the remains of an old mining village, which only dates back to the end of the 19th century (so, pretty young compared to the monastic settlement, but still worth exploring).

Upper Lake

The mining village is right there, blending into the environment

Remains of the mining village

More remains of the mining village

Upper Lake and the remains of the mining village (blending into the environment again)

Upper lake, the remains of the mining village, and a little bit of sunshine

The added bonus of a two-day trip turned out to be a night photo shoot of the graveyard. This was something I could do because we stayed at Glendalough hotel, which is literally a one-minute walk from the monastic site. The best word to describe being in a graveyard on a pitch-black soundless night is “eerie.” Eerie it was.

Graveyard at night #1

Graveyard at night #2

Graveyard at night #3


If you ever go to Glendalough, go for at least two days.

This trip was taken in November 2017 with my favorite travel companion Petr Filippov, who is playing ghost in the last picture.

All photos by Irina Lutsenko.


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