I have noticed that my blog posts tend to vary quite dramatically – from social issues, to cultural observations, to travel. I guess my thought processes tend to be quite sporadic and muddled, so it wouldn’t make any sense for my blog to be any different. Otherwise, it would not adequately reflect me, in all my madness! Do you ever find when you are having conversations with someone that you’ll come out with something entirely off topic merely because it occurred to you? That’s me. Among my most recent off-topic mind wanderings (translated into sound because i have no ‘filter’, apparently) – ‘Why do you always zip your jacket right up to your neck?’ or ‘Do you think pigeons have feelings?’. The last one may be a slight exaggeration, admittedly. Also, i felt i have talked about a lot of things that annoy me (and that list is rather extensive!) but very little about things that i love. So that leads me on to the topic of today’s narrative.
This post is about my favourite place in the world. Glendalough. Right on my doorstep. A mere hour drive from where i live. I have travelled quite a lot in my 26 (nearly!) years and have seen some incredible places. But i am lucky enough to be so close to the most beautiful place of them all. For those of you who are not familiar with the ye old Irish language this place is pronounced phonetically as GLEN-DA-LOCK. The meaning translates, as far as i am aware, to ‘Glen of the two lakes’. Which is a startlingly apt description for what the place actually is. It is a valley with two lakes in it (one little, one not-so-little), surrounded by mountains. I think the mood calls for a photo.
The picturesque valley was formed during the last ice age when glaciers occupied the area. When the ice thawed the valley remained along with the two lakes.
It is an early medieval monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin, made up of the iconic round tower, the gateway leading into the graveyard, the cathedral and St. Kevin’s Church.
I have been here countless times. There is something about the tranquility and beauty that is so amazing. It also offers a contrast to busy city life, or college life, as the case may be. As soon as this year is over, down to Glendalough i will go and you will never see me again.
I think part of the reason i love this place so much is the memories i have from here. Something amazing always happens – sheep getting their heads stuck in gates, people falling into the river and getting their only pair of shoes soaked, our booking being ‘mislaid’ at the hostel and having to sleep in a former primary-school-turned-hostel in neighbouring Rathdrum, Catan with Jan (and David!)… that rhymes, ‘this isn’t great… we’re going to bed!’, walking in the graveyard at midnight (or merely hoping we would!).
I love the walks you can go on there, long or short, all with gorgeous, breathtaking views of the lakes. I love the phallic-shaped tree branch that everyone takes photos with. I love sitting by the upper lake, possibly watching a friend of mine swimming in the lake past the ‘no swimming’ sign. I love the ice-cream (although that’s not exclusive to Glandalough). I love climbing on the rocks down at the miners village and attempting to cross the treacherous waters :p I love the quiet. I even love the drive down, because i know we’ll have a grand auld time. I don’t so much enjoy the drive back.
Among the most beautiful places in the world are The Great Barrier Reef, the Maldives, the Thai Islands, to name but a few. But to me, the most wonderful, beautiful place in the world is right here in Ireland. It’s amazing, not for its world-renown or its exclusivity, but for its tranquility and its ability to make me happy and recall unforgettable memories that i have built up over the years. It surely is a special place. (But don’t tell anyone… it’s a secret)