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Glendalough – A Sight Worth Seeing

Ireland is possibly one of the most beautiful countries in the world and Glendalough is the perfect example of Ireland's elaborate beauty. This region is dense with green trees and is a glacial valley, giving it the nickname ''the valley of two lakes''. It is well-known for its wonderful nature walks, hiking trails and its mountain climbing but it most famous for the ruins of the monastic settlement founded by Saint Kevin.

Saint Kevin was the son of a governing family in Leinster. While not much information is surviving on the work of St. Kevin, we know that an angel appeared to his parents on the day of his baptism and told them to call the child Kevin – a name never used in Ireland before this day. It was apparent from an early age that the child was to be a great saint. As a young boy, Kevin would travel to Glendalough with monks – a place he recognised as a place of solitude created by the divine artist. Kevin lived his priestly vocation among people and had a huge following of lay Catholics. As time passed, he longed for life as a hermit and took off back to Glendalough, where he lived a life of strict penance, which involved the wearing of no shoes, eating only enough to survive, wearing garments made of animal skin and most remarkably, sleeping in a tiny open cave at a side of a mountain. The strict life of penance was made bearable by the wooded land and beautiful scenery, as well as the abundant wildlife. Other religious joined Kevin in the wild and soon the monastic settlement came into existence.

The settlement included study rooms, a church, a round tower, cells, an infirmary, guest houses and homes for religious and a small amount of lay Catholics. These buildings were located around the two different lakes and grew over time. Tourist and visitors can walk around what is left of the old monastic settlement as well as view St. Kevin's lake side bed.

St Kevin's bed is one of the most fascinating finds at the whole settlement. It is a little cave that appears to be cut into the stone. It has a small scale man hole which gives access to the tiny cave. See below the image of the cave which visitors and tourists are warned against trying to enter because of its dangerous location.

During the years that followed Saint Kevin's death, this settlement has been widened but there are records that there was attacks on the settlement. Nowadays, visitors can roam around the ruins of this once busy monastic settlement. They can take hikes up and down the absolutely beautiful trails, or they can go mountain climbing. It really is a fabulous day out for nature lovers and people who love the outdoors or for anyone who wants to learn about 6th century Ireland.