Monday, June 21, 2010


As some of you may know, I grew up near Glendalough, just outside a village called Roundwood in Co.Wicklow. Glendalough was, in a sense, our back yard. We used to go there with our mother and set up a camp beside the river, build a fire in which we would put tinfoil wrapped potatoes so they cooked in the embers and Mum would set up a kettle over it to make lovely smoky tea. We would splash about in the river, explore the woods, sing songs and gambol about. Of course, nowadays you can't light a fire and you even have to pay exorbitant fees just to park near the lake. It makes me furious in a way. I went there recently and was so incensed that I had to pay some ridiculous amount of money to only stay one hour (you can't pay by the hour!!) and felt it was like having to pay to get into my own garden.  I left in a huff.  

Despite that, Glendalough has to be one of the most wonderful places on this planet. Everyone who goes there feels it.  If you spend any real time there, it seeps into you bones and gives you magical dreams.  When my mother dies, which might be soon, we have promised to spread her ashes in Glendalough, one of the places she loved the most. I know she will be at peace there and it will make each journey back even more special, knowing that a part of our mother rests in the breezes and ancient mystical nooks there.
The river by which we picnicked as children. Take by Maya Oct 2009

Here is a wonderful poem written by Orna Ross called At Glendalough:

At Glendalough
After walking through the ruins of seven churches
head tilting back to look
to the top 
of the tower that took the round of Kevin’s steeple, 
and jutted it up three times as high, 
from earth to sky
to mark the ground you walk upon 
as holy;
after circling green lake-paths
that urged you up to top the waterfall, 
or higher, and being stopped 
and stopped again, 
by sightings of bare mountain 
dropping sheer, sliced 
by a mesh of rivers and falls emptying 
into the two, long lakes 
that somehow take 
their gush and hold it
then you will know 
the allure of here,
as of all the places we call sacred,
is the silence,
and you will hear the voice 
of your own blood 
into the deep.


  1. Love this, Maya. It's so good to hear a local describe Glendalough. There's a richness, a truthfulness that can't be duplicated by a visitor that comes through.

    Lovely post. Thanks so much.
    Mindie B.

  2. You conjure Glendalough up perfectly, Maya. It really *is* mystical and magical. Thanks for reminding me that I need to take my kids there again this summer. Kashmira always spots lots of fairies whenever I take her. It is one of the 'must see' places in Ireland - whether you're a fairy-spotter or not!


  3. Do you think I mentioned 'magical' enough times? :)

  4. It's like Ireland's Garden of Eden.



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