I've always felt that I can't have a post about Glen of the Downs without having a similar one dedicated to Glendalough (recently voted the third best place in Ireland to visit by both tourists and locals.) Yesterday we had the most wonderful walk there, giving me an opportunity to take some new photos which I am including here.
We started our walk from the car park at the Visitor Centre. When you cross the bridge you can see the famous tower at the monastic village. As we have visited Glendalough many times during the 10 years we have lived in Ireland we chose a different route to the usual tourist trail. We ended up with a walk that was satisfying without being too strenuous and was also away from the crowds. It does mean though that I won't be including any pictures of the main tourist attractions like the monastic village and Reefer Church, the lake from the shore or the waterfall from the viewing platform as we did not go via any of these places on this occasion.
I adore the trees in this forest (and Ireland in general). There is something about the antiquity of these forests that I find incredibly atmospheric and powerful. In my experience many places that are recognised tourist destinations have all the mystique and soul sucked out of them but that isn't the case here. I can understand why the hermit monk St Kevin decided to settle here in the 6th century and find it incredible that the majesty of the place remains intact to this day.
The heather growing everywhere was lovely. I got a bit carried away and took about 100 photos of it!
I've included this photograph because even though it is not the most attractive it does show the forest regeneration project that is currently underway. All the conifers and flat leaved trees that are not indigenous to the area are being cleared. The hope is that the natural woodland and trees such as oak will re-establish themselves on their own. If not a planting scheme will give them a bit of help to get started. Some fencing has been put up to stop deer from eating the new growth but it has been done in such a way to keep access to all the walking trails open.
Looking down on the Visitor Centre and car park. You can see the row of tourist buses. The car park is to the right and the visitor centre is just in front. The next picture shows the hillside from which this one was taken.
The monastic village photographed from the same hillside:
The upper lake. There is a bench positioned at this lovely vantage spot. I could sit here all day.
My two 'boys' as we meandered along the trail.
The only part of the more popular tourist route we touched on was the site of St Kevin's cell. I love the view of the lake from here.
This is where St Kevin had his cell. I can see why he chose this spot I would love to have it to myself and wake up here each morning.
A tiny corner of the lower lake on the walk back to the car park.
Back to where we started.