Out of Sight – Not Out of Mind
A Monastic Link through the Wicklow Mountains
Remnants of an ancient pathway, lined with yew trees, still connects these two early medieval monastic sites, yet they are very different in terms of inspiration, design and natural environment.
The sheltered valleys in the mountains that run along the east coast of Ireland have long appealed to settlers. Among these was St. Mochorog who established a monastery at Kilmacurragh (The Church of Mochorog) in the early 7th.
On our way to Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens, you will learn about the history of this ruined abbey which is now famous for its century-old rhododendrons and monkey-puzzles. Together we will explore the season’s highlights as we walk among the blooming treasures of this spectacular gardens and learn how exotic and native species can thrive here side by side – and of course there will be enough time for your own explorations.
On the way to our next destination we travel through the beautiful Vale of Clara, clothed in the largest area of semi-natural woodland in Co. Wicklow and one of the most extensive stands of native hardwoods in Ireland.
Just a kilometer from the famous hiking route the ‘Wicklow Way’, we reach the village of Laragh, a small, picturesque spot and an ideal place to have lunch break.
In the afternoon we will visit the monastic site of Glendalough, founded by St. Kevin in about 600 AD. This was once the largest settlement in Medieval Ireland and here you will be introduced to some of the more important features of an Irish Early Christian monastery. Afterwards you will have the opportunity to walk down to the lake and along thoughtfully planned tracks through the surrounding oak trees so you can soak up the atmosphere of Celtic Monasticism.
On our return journey to Dublin, we travel over the Wicklow Gap, stopping at the highest point to admire the rugged landscape which has appeared in such Hollywood blockbusters as `Excalibur’ and `Braveheart’. This is where 1,500 extras recruited from the Irish Defence Forces, donned in kilts (and little else!) and led by Mel Gibson, charged down the mountainside to attack the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.
For whom is this tour suitable?
Everyone with an interest in the early Christian period in Ireland, particularly Celtic monasticism and how this developed quite independently of the Church in Rome. Gardeners and especially those interested in trees and woodlands will also find plenty to excite them.
Generally all paths are manageable for all levels of walker. The guided walks on this tour are on both solid and unpaved pathways. Steeper and more uneven paths can be experienced on your own during free time. We highly recommend suitable sturdy footwear for best enjoyment of this day.
- Tour duration of approximately 8 hours
- Spacious, fully air-conditioned coach
- Live on-board commentary in English by an Irish Tourist Board approved, fully insured Tourist Guide
- Complementary WiFi on board
- Entrance fees to all sites
- Guiding on the sites by qualified local guides
- Lunch and all refreshments are at your own expense
Good to Know
- Sturdy footwear and weather-appropriate clothing are recommended
- Generally tours will run with a minimum of 20 persons and a maximum of 40
- Travel times between stops will be between 45 and 90 minutes. We do not anticipate additional comfort stops being necessary
- The coach will be white and have the name ‘Sillan’ in red on the front, back and sides
- As we must always keep to schedule, guests should be at the arranged meeting point at least 15 minutes before the designated departure time. No refunds can be given for no-shows.
Gresham Hotel, O’Connell Street 09.00
Shelbourne Hotel, Stephen’s Green 09.15
Mespil Hotel, Grand Canal, Mespil Road 09.30
Return to Dublin
Mespil Hotel 17.00
Shelbourne Hotel 17.15
Gresham Hotel 17.30
Children under 14 and students with a valid ID card will be given €5 back as they board the coach.