Ireland day 0236. Sunday 22 May 2022- Laragh

Ireland day 0236. Sunday 22 May 2022- Laragh
Today’s summary Day three of our reprised attempt at the Wicklow Way.   Had a fabulous restful night at the lovely peaceful Loughdan B&B then walked over the hill to Glendalough.   Only a short walk so plenty of time to look round the OPW visitor centre and the 1500 year old monastic site
Today’s weather Overcast most of the day with occasional light showers.   Heavier rain in the evening.   Light southwesterly wind.   About 14C
Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of our route)
Close-up location
(The green line shows where we walked)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Wicklow day 3 Roundwood to Laragh

You know, there are some places that you just like, even if they aren’t the smartest or most luxurious or most beautiful of all the places you’ve ever been.   Loughdan B&B last night was one of those places.   It was friendly, a bit quirky, but best of all it was lovely and quiet.  No traffic, no trains, no noisy neighbours, no dogs barking incessantly all night.   Speaking for myself, I think I had the best night sleep I’d had since arriving in Ireland last September.  So we both got up this morning with a bit of a spring in our steps, ready to face the day (though I have to admit it was something of a struggle to get me out of the chair by the window where you get a wonderful view of everything that’s going on in the valley).

When we eventually did manage to drag ourselves away, it was only a short walk over a couple of rounded hills to the next valley where our destinations of Glendalough and then Laragh lay.   We enjoyed the easy walk this morning – it didn’t go up particularly high, the terrain was easy, and the weather was mostly good.   With confidence, you could mostly brazen out the occasional showers without putting on waterproofs.   So we were over at the Glendalough visitor centre by lunchtime, and we rewarded ourselves with a quick coffee from the rather over-touristy café nearby.

The Glendalough valley is both beautiful and of enormous historic interest.   As such, on a nice post-lockdown day like today, it attracts hordes of visitors.   In many ways, wash my mouth out for saying it, but the place is a lot nicer on a Covidy midwinter day.   Still, we decided to use our free afternoon to have a good look at the OPW visitor centre (excellent, and quiet) and then to walk up to the 1500 year old monastic site on the shores of the lower  Lough.   I’d been before, with the Walking Club, but it was Val’s first visit, and it was nice to have chance to wander round with no time pressure.

St Kevin was born around 498AD and the Glendalough monastic site was founded by him sometime in the 500s.   The ascetic lifestyle must have suited him because he didn’t die until 618AD at the grand old and somewhat improbable age of 120.   The round tower (in the featured image at the top of the blog) was built by successor monks at the now thriving monastery around the year 1000, most likely as a bell tower but possibly also as a place of refuge during Viking raids.   The monastery eventually fell into disrepair in the 1200s, partly because the main monastic duties slowly migrated to Dublin, and partly as a result of a number Anglo-Norman raids.

After having a good soak in the atmosphere (and the tourist melee), we decided to extend the day’s excursion a little by taking a short loop walk around the lower Lough.   There’s a good boardwalk around the lough – and unlike the one-way railway sleepers on Djouce, it’s wide enough to accommodate people going in both directions.   Which is a good thing because plenty do.   By the time we’d completed the loop, the heavens really did look significantly more threatening than they had so far all day, and I suspected that no amount of bravado would allow is to get away without waterproofs.   So we upped the pace a little, and headed double quick down the road to the B&B at Laragh, arriving just before the heavens opened to download real a mid May monsoon.

We finished off the day with an enjoyable dinner down at the Wicklow Heather restaurant.  They gave us a “free” Bailey’s at the end (though I feel pretty sure the cost is factored into their margins) which I of course felt compelled to finish off (and Val’s too as she professed not to like it).   I must say I don’t really like it much either – a bit like drinking sugary runny custard – but as it’s free, it really couldn’t be wasted.

Anyway that’s all behind us now and the rain has stopped.   So time for a quick cup of tea and maybe a short evening walk down into Laragh town to suss out the route for tomorrow.   You can find out how that all works out same time, same place on Monday.  See you then!


Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

Loughdan House, where we stayed last night.   We both really enjoyed it.   Super remote, super friendly and super quiet.   Our room was right at the front with a sticking-out conservatory thing overhanging the front door where you could sit and watch what was going on Welsh poppy, Meconopsis (or Papaver) cambrica.   It is in fact native in the wild in the wetter areas of the western British Isles but I’d never seen quite so many as there were today, growing in the verges and walls alongside Lough Dan.   They were absolutely beautiful
Looking unusually excitable this morning, as we were about to head up into the hills for the day’s walk Up in the hills, looking south.   The higher bump, centre right on the horizon, is Lugnaquilla, which we climbed a few weeks ago, in the snow
Glendalough, showing off the two loughs after which it is named (“da lough” means “two lakes” in Irish).   The big advantage of viewing it from this distance is that the hordes of tourists aren’t visible Inside the visitor centre at Glendalough.   Like all things OPW, it was pretty good, and as we are members, it was free to get in.
Me surveying the scene this morning from the greenhouse thing stuck on the end of our room.   I was so comfortable, in fact, that I didn’t really want to move
Interactive map

(Elevations corrected at  GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )

Total distance: 19192 m
Max elevation: 365 m
Min elevation: 129 m
Total climbing: 685 m
Total descent: -828 m
Total time: 07:10:08
Download file: Wicklow Reprised Part 3 Roundwood To Glendalough corrected.gpx

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