Reefort, Glendalough Monastic City, Glendalough
Glendalough has one of the biggest collections of Monastic remains in Europe, one of the most beautiful simply has to be Reefort church, located in the ancient woodlands above the lough this little chapel and is small grave yard are such a perfect reminder of an age that has long past us by.
The remains of Reefert Church are situated in a oak woodland setting, on the south-eastern shore of the Upper Lake close to an Information Office. Reefert derives its name from the Irish ‘Righ Fearta’ meaning burial place of the kings (referring to the local rulers – the O’Toole family). It dates from the eleventh century and is likely to have been built on the site of an earlier church. The church and graveyard were originally surrounded by a stone wall enclosure known in Gaelic as a ‘caiseal’. Most of the present surrounding walls however are modern. The upper parts of the church walls were re-built over 100 years ago using the original stones.
The Spink and the Wicklow Mountains National Park
Back in the 6th century, hermit monk Saint Kevin first sought solace and contemplation in the idyllic surroundings of Glendalough. His followers established a monastery here, which would become one of the most important monastic sites in Europe. The focal point was the 33m high round tower, where the monks could hide away, keen to keep their precious manuscripts from the hands of invading Vikings.
The Glendalough Valley is now part of the Wicklow Mountains National Park. Established in 1991, it now extends to more than 170sq km. Only an hour’s drive from Dublin city, there is a vast array of routes at all levels of difficulty. But Glendalough is best explored on the Spink and Glenealo Valley Route, a high quality loop walk with excellent waymarking and a well-maintained trail.
Back at the Visitor Centre there are refreshments available in the restaurant, or you might want to head for the nearby village of Laragh with its restaurants and pubs. Laragh also makes a great base for further exploration of the surrounding mountains. Experienced walkers might want to climb Lugnaquilla, the highest mountain in Wicklow, while those in pursuit of more leisurely walks can explore historic Glenmalure or the scenic area around Lough Dan.
Slightly further north is the village of Roundwood, with its thriving Sunday market. Further north still the beautiful formal gardens of the Powerscourt Estate lie in the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain. Don’t miss Powerscourt Waterfall close by, at 130m the highest waterfall in Ireland or Britain. The cascade is impressive at any time of year, but especially dramatic after rain.
The Spink, Wicklow Mountains National Park, Gallery
The North Wind
By : Wallace Stevens
“It is hard to hear the north wind again,
And to watch the treetops, as they sway.
They sway, deeply and loudly, in an effort,
So much less than feeling, so much less than speech,
Saying and saying, the way things say
On the level of that which is not yet knowledge:
A revelation not yet intended.
It is like a critic of God, the world
And human nature, pensively seated
On the waste throne of his own wilderness.
Deeplier, deeplier, loudlier, loudlier,
The trees are swaying, swaying, swaying.”
Wicklow Landscapes on film.
Shot of the Wicklow hills.
Nikon F90x, Nikon 50mm f1.4 lens and Kodak Ektachrome
Irish landscape images : Nigel Borrington
I just started looking at my older stock of slide images and found a set that I took way back when – in County Wicklow.
Some very good and interesting colours coming from these scans, maybe just maybe people have always been correct about film. The detail however is another issue, the film grain in these images removes a lot of detail that even my old Nikon D200 would record.
Look at the black and white contrast!