Monastery Ruins at Glendalough, Ireland

We drove south to the Glendalough Monastery ruins, which lie in a glacial valley in County Wicklow, only about 35 minutes from “home”.  It is a lovely peaceful valley with two rivers and two lakes.  Just about the perfect place to worship God and build a monastic community.  It was founded by St. Kevin in the  sixth century.  It flourished as a place of learning and prayer until the English destroyed it in 1398. After that it still hung on as a place of local importance until Henry VIII pretty much knocked it down in 1539.

It is so thrilling for me to be here where people have worked , prayed and died for so many years . The round tower, a staple of Irish monastic building, is still intact.  It was in about the 12th century of mica-slate  and granite rock.  It is 30 meters high with a doorway that is 3.5 meters from the base.  It was used as a beacon, bell tower and place of refuge in case of attack.  The wooden ladders were pulled up into the tower.glendalough round tower 5x7 net Here is part of the cathedral walls still standing with a square stone over the doorway.glendalough cathedral door 5x7 netThere is another smaller church next to this called St. Kevin’s kitchen because of the smaller round tower that is incorporated into the building.glendalough st Kevins kitchen netThere is a graveyard around the ruins that is still in use today.  It was considered good luck to be buried by the bones of a saint.  This was a particularly touching stone that states that these two people ( I have removed their last names) were betrothed in 1923 by this stone of their ancestors . betrothal gravestone 5x7 netThis is an artist’s model of what the monastery might have looked like in its heyday.  You can see the round tower.glendalough monastery model 5x7 netBut the best part was meeting Daphne the great Dane and her kind owners.  She is so beautiful and friendly.great dane netAnd of course, coming home to our sweet kitties.cat Panndy 5x7 net

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