Glendalough has a round tower, stone churches and numerous crosses. The Round Tower is one of the products associated with the early Christian period. There are approximately 100 round towers to be found in Ireland and some are as high as 30m (lOOft.). The tall, slender towers tapered as they went upwards and were topped by a conical roof. There were many storeys with wooden floors and the windows, one per storey, faced in different directions. The old Irish name means bell house, so we must assume that was the main reason for their being built. However, in some towers the entrance door is found between 6 and 10 feet from the ground, which might indicate that the towers were also used as fortresses. A beautiful example of a round tower is this one in Glendalough, Co. Wicklow. The tower, which stands alone, is 103 feet high and dates from the I Ith century.

St. Kevin founded a hermitage here in the 6 th century. His sanctity attracted so many people that a monastery was then established, from which grew a monastic city, famous as a centre of learning throughout Europe. The Vikings plundered it in the 9 th and 10 th centuries, it was devastated by a flood in the 12 th century, and was attacked by the English in 1398. The 16 th century suppression of the monastry saw an end to to the settlement, but the site remained a place of pilgramage until the late 1800s.

Glendalough(the glen of two lakes) is set in one of the most beautiful valleys i n Ireland. Glenealo stream forms a waterfall at the west end of the valley, while the two lakes are surrounded by tree clad mountaills through which some of the delightful way-marked walking trails can be followed.

For further information Contact : Visitor Services on 01-661 31111 ext 2386
to RTC Carlow back to Wicklow page
Courtesy South East tourism
JB 23 th July 1996