Summer 2014 & Beyond travel blog

Glendalough nestled in the Wicklow Hills

Some of the Monastic Ruins

Beautiful scenery

The 100-ft Round Tower

St. Kevin's Kitchen

The Priest's House

The ancient graveyard

A closer look at the Round Tower

Sheep graze happily


No doubt about that

Deer roam free

Deer roam near the lakes

Small waterfall

Roadside waterfall on the Military Road

Ireland's highest waterfall, at 425 ft.

Powerscourt Waterfall

The base of the Powerscourt waterfall

Statues at Powerscourt Gardens

Beautiful wrought iron gates

And the gardens


The Winged Horses formed part of the Powerscourt coat of arms

Sugar Loaf Mountain in the background

The Powerscourt House

The Pepper Pot Tower

Triton Pond with the Winged Horses

Winged Horse

The fountain is based on the fountain in the Piazza Barberini in...

Japanese Gardens




From the other side of Triton Lake

The House, Triton Lake & Fountain

A few Flowers


The Dolphin Pond


Memorial Pond near the Walled Gardens



The Bamberg Gate

We weren't sure about this sculpture.

Wrought Iron and gilding on the gates

Date stone of 1881

To beat the rush of the day, we met early for breakfast, checked out, and made the short drive to Glendalough, the site of the ancient lakeside monastery tucked away in the Wicklow Hills. Glendalough means 'The Valley of the Two Lakes' and was established by St. Kevin in the 6th century. The monastery flourished for over 600 years. Many of the buildings date to the 10th and 12th centuries and some were restored in the 1870's.

You enter the site through a two-arch gatehouse and find yourself near the 100-ft high Round Tower and surrounding graveyard. The Priest's House was a burial place for clergy. The site is all about St. Kevin and St. Kevin's Cross and St. Kevin's Kitchen are some of the interesting ruins.

We took the walk around one of the lakes; deer, sheep and other wildlife happily feasted on the green grass. While we could have spent lots more time here, we pushed on to head north on the Military Road, built in 1800.

This road carries little traffic but carries the tourist through wild mountain terrain, sparsely populated forest and bog land covered in purple heather, through Sally Gap and on to Glencree.

We turned off to Powerscourt Waterfall, where the River Dargle cascades over granite rocks to form Ireland's highest waterfall. The drop is about 425 ft.

We were hungry by the time we got to Powerscourt House & Gardens and had lunch at the cafe there. Then, we embarked on our tour of the magnificent gardens. From Italian Gardens to Japanese Gardens, you are treated to some beautiful botanical views, rivaled only by the striking surrounding Sugar Loaf Mountain. The Tower Valley showcases intriguing trees and the tower was modeled on a pepper pot from Lord Powerscourt's dining table.

Water is a dominant feature of the gardens with Triton Lake, home of the Winged Horses, and the Dolphin Pond. There is a Walled Garden with vibrant colors and scents; and, of course, the 240-year old Bamberg Gate which came from the Cathedral at Bamberg in Germany. We had a fantastic day here and we were quite exhausted from all the walking.

We headed south to Avoca, where we were staying for the night. We had dinner at the Wooden Bridge, which is reputed to be the oldest hotel in Ireland. We were stuffed and took a walk to the Meeting of the Waters, where the Avonbeg and Avonmore Rivers converge.

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