Monday, September 27, 2010

Glen da Lough

September 25.  Went to Glen da Lough and the Wicklow Mountains.  Checked out the hotel at 10:40 and drove into Bray.  Bray has quite an interesting selection of shops, including some back alley fishmongers.  Left Bray and navigated to Glen da Lough which was fairly straightforward.  Arrived there at 11:30 and got my gear  together.  Went to the visitor’s center to see about admission.    A nice gentleman informed me that is was free to walk the trails.  My first stop was the monastic city, founded in the 6th century.  There were many people there, so I had some difficulty in finding unobscured viewpoints.  I did however get some good shots of the round tower and St. Kevin’s Church.  These are at least 900 years old.
I tried to imagine what life would have been like for these monks.  For the first 600 years before the Anglo-Normans showed up, quite a nice life probably.  Plenty of space and communion with a serene lakeside natural setting.  God rules this place for sure.  The setting was reminiscent of the types of tarns one would find in the Cascades.  Glacial moraines surround the edges and steeply rising cliffs drop sharply not too far from the shoreline.  After checking out the monastic city, I ventured out into the forest.  I took a long hike up to the logging area.  I saw a red squirrel and a small deer.  Occasionally, I was startled by unfamiliar bird calls and animal noises.  It was a beautiful day, so I didn’t get freaked out.  I doubled back after reaching this gash in the hill, realizing that making it to the top was out of the question.
I continued on in another direction and made my way up to a nice vantage point overlooking the upper lake.
I then walked back down and found a pleasant waterfall. 
I followed this path down to the upper parking lot and had a muffin and some water and iced tea.  I was greeted by a man who was soliciting support for the mountain rescue.  It was a raffle for 2 Euros.  I bought a ticket.  Along the whole route, I encounter many foreigners, some Germans, some French, some Dutch and some Swedes. Most of the people were very nice, and I smiled and said hello to many of them.  After I ate, I walked down past the shoreline of the upper lake.  I continued on and made my back to the lower lake and monastic city area.
This is St. Kevin's Cross.  I got into my car around 3:00 pm.  From Glen da Lough, the route provided by my GPS turned into a beautifully scenic drive through the Wicklow mountains.  
Very sparse vegetation and vast open space surrounded by rolling peaks.  The road (113) was winding and narrow and proved to be a bit hard on my rental, but we made it through unscathed. 

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