13 April 2008 at 9:09 pm 1 comment

The present remains in Glendalough tell only a small part of its story. The monastery in its heyday would have included workshops, areas for amnuscript writing and copying, guest houses, an infirmary, farm buildings and dwellings for both the monks and a large lay population. The buildings which survive probably date from between the 10th and 12th centuries.


First monastery in Glendalough was founded by Kevin or Coemhghein (meaning “fair begotten”), a descendant of one of the ruling families in Leinster. His fame as a holy man spread and he attracted numerous followers. He died in about 618. For six centuries afterwards, Glendalough flourished and the Irish Annals have references to deaths of abbots and raids on the settlement.

In 1111 Glendalough was designated as one of the two dioceses of North Leinster. In 1214 the dioceses of Glendalough and Dublin were united and from that time onwards, the cultural and ecclesiastical status of Glendalough diminished. The destruction of the settlement by English forces in 1398 left it a ruin but it continued as a church of local importance and a place fo pilgrimage. Descriptions of Glendalough in the 18th and 19th centuries include references to occasions of “riotous assembly” on the feast of St. Kevin on June 3rd.


Entry filed under: Glendalough.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Mark  |  31 May 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Hyperlinked to my name is a Travel Essay on Glendalough, and a link to some other terrific Web sites about it and the Monastic City.


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