Glendalough has a magnetic pull for hikers, walkers and all sorts of tourists. They were all there the day we visited last week. Yes, all of them. And all properly attired with backpacks and hiking boots.
And then there was us. Three ladies of assorted ages and fitness.
And imminently unsuitable footwear. Sigh.
Only one thing for it: the Glendalough Lite Tour.
No, it`s not an official tour per say. Just our lazy version of how to do Glendalough.
We ambled slowly to the Visitor Centre. But, on the basis that too much information can actually be a bad thing, we ambled past it and on to the Upper Lake.
There we got our first glimpse of the excited multitudes as they preened and posed for their facebook friends in glorious surroundings.
Off to Luggduff brook with us then, where two of our party actually managed to ascend the path adjoining the waterfall.
We returned to our waiting companion to show her the our waterfall snaps.
That pleased her no end and revived her sufficiently to diverge towards the ruins of St. Kevin`s monastery.
St Kevin himself rambled around these parts in the sixth century. He and his monks developed one of the great seats of learning in Ireland at that time, with this monastery.
Much of it lies in ruins. Including this cathedral. Though what`s remains gives us a clue to the skills and craftsmanship available in medieval Ireland.
The round tower itself is a particular delight. It functioned as the bell tower for the abbey. It was also a shelter for the monks to which they retreated with their precious books, chalices and other treasures when the Viking invaders were snooping around.
Note the entrance to the tower is raised high off the ground. The monks scaled a ladder to enter the tower, hauled the up the ladder, and bolted the door to exclude the Scandanavian marauders. Clever, eh?
I have visions of bewildered Viking monks clambering around the hillsides seeking out those darned monks.
Whistle stop tour over, we strolled back to our waiting car and sped past exhausted hikers on our way out of the valley. We stopped briefly at the Miner`s Village.
Lead, zinc and silver were mined here from the 1790s for around 150 years. In this photo you`ll spot the piles of stone which are a legacy from the mining days alongside ruins of the miners`dwellings.
The view from the mining village is wonderful, though no doubt, in those more straitened times, the miners had more to concern themselves with than admiring their surroundings.
That marked the end of our whistle stop trip to Glendalough as we repaired for the delights of our hotel spa and a long massage to ease our aching muscles!
It should is a marvellous place for a strenuous hike. Or maybe even consider the Glendalough Trail Run on November 9th.
For me, at any rate, Glendalough deserves a return trip. Next time, I`ll wear hiking boots or runners.
And leave my two lazy companions at behind!
Hey! You know who you are! 😉