I have really begun to love exploring the great outdoors on the days when I am not in work. When you live in Ireland (like me!) you are especially lucky, there are so many hidden beautiful walks, hikes and bike trails all around the country, you could see a new place every other day of the week. I was following Roz Purcell on Snapchat and noticed that she would be in Glendalough hiking with her friends from time to time, I saw the scenery all around her and I thought I need to be there, I need to see this with my own eyes. So thanks for that 🙂
I had always remembering hearing about the round towers that stood so tall and untouched inside the monastic city in the old history books from Junior Cert and I had always meant to go but like everything, I forgot about and put it on the back burner till now…I have made a vow to make lists of everywhere I want to go and I am going to stop saying things and start doing things…stop saying ‘Shudda, Wudda, Cudda…’ and just get on with it!
We set off one Saturday morning. I packed a full picnic (recipes will be listed in a future post for picnic ideas) and we hit the road.
Glendalough is located in the heart of Wicklow National park. The drive from the West is so scenic, we went through the Curragh and there are just stud farms and lavish dwelling studded (see what I did there) all over the countryside. We were very lucky the day we went as the weather was very cool and crisp with blue skies. When we arrived, it was very busy, hard enough to get a parking space. There was a great atmosphere around the place. The parking is free and access to the monastic city and walks is also free. There is a visitors center, which you pay extra for, you can get additional information about all the goings on back in the day.
When we went to reception and we were greeted by a lovely man who was so helpful. He spoke to us and found out exactly what we were looking for and directed us on the best walk , this happened to be the white trail.There are nine walks located in the national park so there is a huge variety for all fitness levels, time constraints or just the option to try a different one each time, they vary from 1KM to 11KM. You can buy a map of the walks for as little as 50 cents or they are also available to download online for free.
The most iconic landmark in the Monastic City is the round tower and stands 33 meters tall with such a sturdy elegance, it is definitely something to stand back and admire. I found myself looking up at it and imagining how they got into it and what it would have been like to be looking out from the top. It was amazing to think that this was built almost 1,000 years ago! You can also spend some time here weaving in and out of the surrounding graveyard before taking off on your hike.
The thing that really captured my heart was all the different views, terrains and landscapes that you get to see as you ascent up the white trail. You are met by sheep, a long wooden/steel bridges, footpaths, waterfalls, railway sleepers, marshy bog, we even popped a squat in the middle of a river whilst sitting on bouldering rocks. I felt like a child at every turn there was something new to see. I couldn’t recommend the place enough. At the end of the walk it started to rain very heavily. What were we to do? We did what any Irish person does in the rain and went for a ’99 🙂 There are a few food truck-type-things available around the car-parks.
We stopped here at this point (see picture below) to have a picnic. I went all out when I made the food. I made wraps with Cajun chicken, cous-cous, hummus and lettuce. Feta cheese and vine tomatoes with olive oil and mixed herbs, a selection of mixed olives, little biscuits with raspberry jelly centers, trail mix.
Don’t eat the mushrooms!!!!
There are so many viewing points, the picture below is a seat that looks down on the glacial valley below. Someday, I want to go back here and do some really cool looking yogi pose, like a full wheel or a headstand… I might fall off but sure if we get a few likes on Instagram wouldn’t it be worth it?
Do things that make you happy….
“Document the moments you feel most in love with yourself—what you’re wearing, who you’re around, what you’re doing. Recreate and repeat.”
~ Warsan Shire