Glendalough is an old monastic site founded in the 6th century by the hermit St. Kevin, near two large lakes, the Lower Lake and the Upper Lake. In Gaelic glen means "valley" and lough "lake". The monastic life stopped in 1539 with the dissolution of the monasteries following the Protestant conquest initiated by the British since the 12th century and the conquest of Dublin by Strongbow.
St. Kevin, born in 498, was a descendant of the royal house of Leinster, but he refused the privileges of his rank and opted out to live as a hermit in a cave of Glendalough. He eventually founded a monastery which later was both a centre of learning (where illuminated manuscripts were copied) and a care centre for the sick. Glendalough became a place of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages. Several legends surround St. Kevin. One of them says he died at the age of 120 years. Another, depicted on the panel beside, highlights that St. Kevin enjoyed the company of animals : while St. Kevin opened his hands in prayer, a blackbird landed on the palm of one of his hand and laid an egg. Saint Kevin is said to have remained with the hand stretched and still for days and nights until the egg hatched.
The medieval round tower, so characteristic in Ireland, was probably used as bell tower, warehouse for priceless manuscripts, and perhaps also shelter and watchtower to keep a lookout on vikings hit and run attacks. Near the round tower, there is a Celtic cross : the cross of Saint Kevin. According to the legend, the one who achieves to put their arms round it will be granted a wish, but do not delude yourself : as far as I am concerned I think it is impossible... Further on, there is St. Kevin church.
Below, view of the surrounding countryside with a small waterfall and the upper lake at sunset (the midges were numerous near the lake).