Wonderful Glendalough Walks for Families

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Glendalough walks perfect for the family! Explore beyond the monastic ruins. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacations | IrelandFamilyVacations.com

Our first visit to Glendalough in 2008 focused on the Monastic City. The cold and wet March day was much more suitable to learning about St. Kevin in the visitors center and hot tea in the nearby hotel restaurant than explorations beyond the stone churches.

The Monastic City of Glendalough. Ireland vacation tips. Travel in Ireland.
One of the best views of Glendalough in County Wicklow is found along the pathway beyond the visitor centre. From this vantage point on the bridge you can view the stunning round tower and St. Kevin's Kitchen – but none of the tourists in the monastic city!

Finally following up that visit in 2015, our day began much the same – wet and chilly – as we again wandered through the monastic city, steering clear of the large groups of tourists, and sheltering near stone walls huddled under our umbrellas during the hardest downpours.

Round tower at Glendalough. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation | IrelandFamilyVacations.com
Even cold rainy days don't keep visitors from Glendalough.

As the late August morning became mid-day and the rain gave way to low grey clouds and light mist, we set off to explore Glendalough, beyond the ruins.

Find a B&B near Glendalough

Glendalough Walks for Families

The Glendalough valley has nine marked walking trails, graded from easy to ramble to hillwalk.

Arrows, colored to coincide with the routes, keep you on your trail, many intersecting along the pathways.

We chose a few varied walks and spent nearly 5 hours exploring the valley circled by the Wicklow Mountains.

The Green Road Walk (Green Route)

Circling the lower lake, the Green Road Walk is a simple, flat route that includes a woodland boardwalk. The 3km walk will take about an hour – more if you stop to see animals and take in the natural beauty.

A deer grazes in the meadow above the Lower Lake in the Glendalough Valley in County Wicklow. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation | IrelandFamilyVacations.com
A deer grazes in the meadow above the Lower Lake in the Glendalough Valley in County Wicklow.
Along the Green Walk boardwalk at Glendalough, County Wicklow. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation | IrelandFamilyVacations.com
Along the Green Walk boardwalk at Glendalough, County Wicklow.

Poulanass (Pink Route)

This route has some pretty steep hills and trails range from wide and graveled to narrow, rutted dirt. The Pink route overlaps the Green route just a bit; I recommend beginning at the path entrance just past the information center, which puts the waterfall near the end of this route. The route is short, just over 1.5km, but with so much to see it can take above an hour to complete.

Hillwalking in the Glendalough Valley, Wicklow, Ireland. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation | IrelandFamilyVacations.com
Hillwalking in the Glendalough Valley
Wooded and Watery Poulanass Walking Route at Glendalough, Wicklow, Ireland. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation | IrelandFamilyVacations.com
Wooded and Watery Poulanass Walking Route at Glendalough

Poulanass and St. Kevin's Cell (Bronze Route)

We began this walk as we ended the pink route, walking past Reefert Church and on to St. Kevin's Cell. The steepest portion of this trail has rough hewn stairs, which can be slippery. The entire route is only 1km, but adding it to the pink route shortens it a bit.

Reefert Church ruins at Glendalough, Wicklow, Ireland. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation | IrelandFamilyVacations.com
Reefert Church was built upon a site that has long been a burial place for the local O'Toole clan. The early Christian crosses are similar to the one found at Kilmalkedar Church in Dingle.
Ruins of St Kevin's Cell, high in the Wicklow valley. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation | IrelandFamilyVacations.com
The remains of St. Kevin's Cell. This was once a small stone ‘beehive' hut where St. Kevin would find sanctuary, seclusion, and peace to fulfill his desire to live as a hermit. St. Kevin is said to have spent 4 years in this hut before his followers persuaded him to return to the monastic village below.

It is free to visit the Monastic City and enjoying the Glendalough walks, but if you haven't visited before I recommend paying the small fee for the excellent visitors centre (an OPW Heritage site).

You will find two parking spots- one next to the visitors centre and another just down the road a bit. If both are full you'll see cars parked along side the road edge. Be very cautious if you do this as large tour buses do come through and you don't want to be blocking a turn!

Powerscourt Hotel, Wicklow Ireland. Luxury in the Garden County. Ireland Travel Tips | Ireland vacation | IrelandFamilyVacations.com
Powerscourt Hotel is a luxurious base for exploring Glendalough and Wicklow – also easy to day trip to Dublin!

 

 

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