After Powerscourt, we headed to a medieval ruin – Glendalough Cathedral. Glendlough was founded in the 6th century by Saint Kevin. It grew to become a monastic city. Most of the buildings remaining are from the 10th to 12th century. A guide met us at the entrance to explain a little about the site and point out which direction to go. The tour itself was self guided. She also explained there were 2 paths going to lakes. There was a short walk to Lower Lake and a longer one to Glendalough Lake.
I entered the site through the double gate – an unusual entrance way. It did have a second story which gave it a tower like appearance. Built between 900 and 1200.
Despite continued raids from Vikings, the monastery existed until 1200 when it was destroyed by Normans. St. Kevin’s Church is also called St. Kevin’s Kitchen. It was believed the tower was a chimney. There is no evidence that food was cooked there. The conical top has 4 windows.
The Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul was built in stages between 10th and 13th century. Large, mica shist stones form the foundation. The nave is the earliest part.
The Round Tower can be seen from the entrance parking lot. It is 33 metres high. Built around 1000 years ago by the monks. There were a place of refuge during attacks.
Note the location of the door. It was believed that the monks would enter via a ladder then hoist the ladder up making it difficult for enemies to climb in. Although, Ian, our coach driver, pointed out that a fire could be started at the base. The tower would act like a chimney, smoking the monks. It was also used as a lookout and bells provided a warning of approaching danger.
I started to take a walk with the idea of going to the lake but decided to turn back, sit and rest on the stones.
St. Kieran’s Church was discovered beneath a mound of dirt and stones in 1875. Dated around the 11th century it was the smallest of the 7 churches.
I found a place to sit and rest in the nave. The site is a little off the path so I had it completely to myself and it was peaceful. A view from the nave.
There were two stories about St. Kevin I learned. The first is St. Kevin’s Bed near Glendalough Lake. It is that tiny black square in the centre. It is a man made cave 30 feet above the lake. It is about 4 feet across 8 feet in depth and 2 feet high so you could not stand up. It is thought that St. Kevin used it for either sleep or meditation. Legend has it that Sir Lawrence Olivier used it when he would often visit Glendalough.
The other story is that St. Kevin stood in the cold waters of the lake and held out his arms. Eventually a black bird settled into his palm and built its nest there. The eggs were laid, then hatched all while St. Kevin stood in tranquility. The Welsh artist Clive Hicks- Jenkins did a painting depicting the event.
We boarded the bus and headed to our evening’s entertainment. It was a night of Irish music and dance at a place called Taylors Three Rock Hotel/Pub. It was a large, dinner theatre experience. I asked our greeter about the roof and he said it was the largest thatched roof in Ireland.
Even though were were early, our pre arranged table was at the back again. Also they had to split our group up so half went to another table. But the staff were very organized the the food was good. The show featured excellent musicians, singers and internationally renowned step dancers.
We were allowed to take videos but only for about 30 seconds or so. The following gives you an idea of the presentation.
The dancers came into the audience and used the patrons’ table to perform.
There was a small stage down by where we were. The lights went out and they appeared on this stage to do a set for the people in the back. I thought that was a nice touch.
They had been performing both traditional and modern including The Cranberries, The Pogues and U2. But the ended the night by introducing the performers and a hand clapping Van Morrison. I sipped my Irish coffee and sang along to Brown Eyed Girl.
We headed back to the bus. The parking lot was packed with buses. Because we were early arriving, we did not have to wait long to leave as our bus was at the front of the queue. The hotel was only a 15 minute drive so maybe that is why it was chosen. After all that activity I was asleep in seconds. Tomorrow – it’s the sheep dog demonstration.