The English name Glendalough comes from the Irish Gleann Dá Locha which translates to “The valley of the two lakes”.
St. Kevin was a descendent of one of the ruling families of Leinster. When he was a boy he learned under three righteous men and as a young boy he went to live at Glendalough. He founded a monastery here in the sixth century which continued to expand for 600 years, but was destroyed in 1398. In its prime, the land included churches and monastic cells and also workshops, guesthouses, a health centre, farm buildings and homes. Most of the buildings that survive today date from the 10th through 12th centuries. The most famous is the round tower which is 34m high and 16m in circumference at the base. A cathedral, stone churches and decorated crosses also survived.
Glendalough is a historic site, whose Gaelic name translates to “valley of the two lakes”. It 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.
One convenient way of reaching Glendalough is by car. Travellers from Dublin should take the N11 in the direction of Wexford & take the R755 turn-off at Kilmacanogue. From Kilmacanogue follow signposts to Glendalough through Roundwood & Laragh.
Drivers should be aware that in the busy summer period car parking places may be hard to come-by due to the large number of visitors. This is particularly true on Sunday & the August bank holiday Monday.
The St. Kevins Bus Service (+353 1 281 8119) is a locally owned bus service which has been operating between Glendalough and Dublin for almost a century. The journey takes in some of the best Wicklow scenery, therefore it is a great chance to relax and enjoy the Garden County en-route to Glendalough. Buses leave from Dublin (Dawson Street), check the website for the timetable (there are separate winter and summer timetables). The journey takes roughly 90 minutes to Glendalough and costs €13 for a one-way ticket, a return ticket costs €20.
The only way to see everything that Glendalough has to offer is on foot. The monastic village, lakes and round tower are all within a short stroll of the bus stops, car parks and hotels. For the more outdoor minded visitors there are several walking routes around the area which can vary from a board walk around the forest to more intense walks in the nearby hills.