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Let’s hit the road – A picturesque journey to the dale of Glendalough

Image by Andrew Ridley on Unsplash
Irish Roadtrip IE by toowee on Spotify

A pinch of Jade and a dab of Celadon with a hint of Emerald. The country’s richness in greenness is unmistakable, coaxing nature enthusiasts all year round to embark on the journey beyond the mounds, meadows, and cliffs of evergreen Ireland.

An estimated seven million travellers have packed their bags in 2022 to come and see the island of luck. Next to the country’s famous landmarks such as Dublin Castle, the Cliffs of Moher or the Giant’s Causeway, road-tripping to the ‘valley of two lakes’ is a desired destination for international vacationers.

So, buckle up, and cue the playlist, because The Circular is taking you on a road trip – the Irish style.

1. The seven churches

Image by Laura-Marie Butenhoff for The Circular

Only 40 kilometres and an hour south of Dublin you can find the dale of Glendalough, founded as an early medieval monastic settlement in the 6th century by St. Kevin. Today, as part of Co. Wicklow, Glendalough is renowned for its breathtaking scenery, extensive antiquity, and diverse fauna.

The first stop is the Glendalough Graveyard Trail – of the most significant cemeteries in all of Ireland. Its roots can be traced back to St. Kevin’s founding of the monastery at Glendalough in the seventh century, the beginning of Irish Christian monasticism.

The mediaeval biographies of St. Kevin claim that he brought dirt from Rome and sprinkled it over the graves and cathedral at Glendalough. This, according to the legends, made Glendalough one of the four most significant pilgrimage sites in Ireland, with seven visits there equaling one to Rome.

The cemetery and the ruins of the seven churches make it an extraordinary place that offers history as well as a breathtaking view of the surroundings. Connected to the sites of the ruins is a trail that takes you to the next stop.

2. Wicklow Mountains National Park

Image by Laura-Marie Butenhoff for The Circular

After a short 10-minute trail stroll, you have reached the heart of the second destination.

The Wicklow Mountains National Park spans over 23,000 hectares. Being the only National Park in the east of Ireland, Wicklow’s is the largest that offers expansive views, winding mountain roads, and swift-moving streams that run into the deep lakes of the forested valleys. 

Surrounding cafes make it the ideal spot for a quick pick-me-up – with a view, of cause. Depending on what time of year you decide on the trip, it is strongly recommended to dress for the eventual downpour as well as conformable and durable shoes.

“It’s great to have this amazing National Park just around the corner from Dublin. It took us only an hour to get here and it felt like diving into a new world full of green spaces and unique views,” shares Annalena Bischoff, a journalist for The Circular.

3. The Spinc

Image by Laura-Marie Butenhoff for The Circular

And because all good things come in threes, the last stop offers the full package and you finally come to realise why it is called the ‘valley of two lakes’.

Taking the Glendalough White Route offers a postcard-like hike that will put your physical fitness to the test but makes it all the more rewarding to reach the top. At the top, you can now enjoy a mesmerising view of the Spinc, a ridge that provides views of Glendalough Valley.

The Circulars’ Sophia Roik – The Circular enthuses “It’s crazy to think that you’ll find such a landscape only an hour outside of Dublin. I mostly enjoyed the sheep and their lambs that we encountered while driving up to the lake.”

The CircularsAlessia Bonnori adds, “Glendalough is the perfect day trip destination. Whether you want to relax by the lake or go on a hike there’s something for everyone. I particularly enjoyed the breathtaking 360-degree view from the mountains surrounding the valley. Simply spectacular.”

So, if you ever find yourself on the green island and unsure about what to do, just grab the keys, load the trunk and revel in the guaranteed visual montage that is the dale of Glendalough.

If you have any other spots on the island that The Circular urgently needs to check out, leave us a comment down below and we’ll be looking forward to our next road trip.

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