What better way to celebrate our own little Thanksgiving than by taking a day out to spend with our family and visiting one of Ireland’s most beautiful landmark sites. Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, just a short drive south of Dublin, was a place visited frequently on field trips and school tours growing up. As with so many of these places, I’d neglected to return as an adult. Craving fresh air and mountains, we departed Dublin and drove through the stunning Sally Gap where we found a smattering of snow – just enough for a snowball fight! Snow is rare in Ireland, save a few days a year when the country comes to a shutdown, so this was quite the novelty.
Glendalough is home to one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland. It’s an early Christian monastic settlement that was founded by Saint Kevin back in the 6th century. The settlement consists of a number of monastic remains, the most impressive being the Round Tower which stands 30m high. My children were disappointed to learn that they couldn’t climb up the tower, which has no accessible entry point, but we did enjoy wandering around the other ruined buildings that make up this monastic settlement.
After exploring the ruins and the cemetery, it was time for a brisk walk – cold crisp sunny November days are glorious in Ireland and if you are well wrapped up, most enjoyable!
We walked for approximately two miles, a very easy walk with little elevation. We followed the “boardwalk” to the Upper Lake behind Glendalough and then came back around the lake to the settlement itself. My daughter, in particular, loved the greenery and mounds of mossy earth that looked just like fairy houses; big imaginations at play! The walk brings you past plenty of small little waterfalls and lots of photo ops!
As is the nature of short winter days, sunlight started to fade before we realized it, and so the Lower Lake walk will have to wait for another day. Instead, we opted for the 20-minute drive to Avoca Village to enjoy soup and scones. The beautiful Avoca Mill Cafe is onsite the original handweaving and crafts factory. The food there is the ultimate in quality comfort food and hit the spot for our alternative Thanksgiving feast!