Day 9, Glendalough – Celbridge


Fine sleeping last night at the Glendalough Hotel. I was up early and decided to take a walk before breakfast to the monastic cemetery and the upper and lower lakes of the adjacent park. Here is the breakfast room in the hotel . . .


. . . the outflow from the lakes flows right under the hotel!!!


St Kevin’s church . . .


. . . and cemetery . . .


. . . with St Kevin’s cross. This cross is a fine example of how St Patrick, trying to help the once pagan people of Ireland acclimate to Christianity. This was done by combining the cross with the circle representing the sun, because the pagans worshipped the sun and moon. A local legend surrounding St. Kevin’s Cross says that anyone who can wrap their arms around the entire width of the cross body and close the circle by touching fingertips will have their wishes granted.


. . . along the trail to the lakes the vegetation was lush. This seasonal waterfalls had stopped flowing.


. . . the paved path led me along the shores of the lower lake . . .


. . . and ten minutes later I was on the shore of the upper lake. Very serene. I was the only one out and about at this time of the morning,


Saint Kevin lived as a hermit in a cave (a Bronze Age tomb now known as St. Kevin’s Bed), to which he was led, in the account of the Vita, by an angel. St. Kevin’s Bed can best be described as a man-made cave cut in the rock face very close to the edge of the mountain. It is reasonable to assume that the cave could only have been used as a sleeping place, and would have been impossible for an adult to stand upright in, so it is quite likely that St Kevin only used it as his bed, or a place for pious prayer or meditation.


Soon we were on the bikes and began our 6 mile climb up out of the valley of the lakes. The weather was fine as we started the 1,100 foot climb but began to deteriorate almost immediately . . .


. . . the rain was not the bad part, but the horrendous winds were vicious!!!!


. . . we thought things were going to get better when a rainbow appeared at what we thought was the top!!!


. . . the weather did not seem to affect the sheep who browse right next to the road, like deer, until you stop to talk and take a photo of them. Then they scamper away . . . beyond arms reach.


. . .  as we neared the second top the storms blew across aided by the vicious wind . . .


. . . and at Wicklow Gap, elevation 2,687 feet, the vicious wind nearly blew us off our bikes!!!! Over the top we rolled  and had to descend quite some distance before the vicious wind abated. The Wicklow Mountains form the largest contiguous upland area in Ireland. The mountains became a stronghold and hiding place for Irish clans opposed to English rule.


This was an usual design of a church we passed along the way . . .


Soon we neared the twin man made Blessington Lakes constructed 50 years ago with the building of a dam  and hydroelectric station. The road runs right between the lakes.


Since the beginning of our ride, almost daily we encounter these vegetation tunnels sometimes only  a 100 feet long sometimes maybe a half a mile long. Fun to ride through!!!


Near Celbridge we passed  over the Grand Canal, half of a pair of canals connecting Dublin, in the east of Ireland, with the River Shannon in the west.  The last working cargo barge passed through the Grand Canal in 1960.


Soon Bo and I rolled into the courtyard of the Celbridge Manor Inn . . .


. . . looks like Tony, of Iron Donkey, has done us right again by providing superb accommodations!!!!


Nice . . .


. . . lots of nooks and cranny’s filled with comfy chairs for reading, enjoying  a drink or napping!!!


I’m always amazed at how accommodating the hotels have been by usually allowing us to park our bikes inside their hotel in a conference or ballroom. We roll them right through the reception area and into their overnight home!!!!


. . .  speaking of overnight homes the rooms were very comfy . . . no sleeping on the ground in tents on this trip!!!


. . . to bad I am not a bathtub kind of guy!!!!


Anne gave us the good news at our ride meeting that the climb to the Gap today is actually the fourth hardest climb in Ireland!!!!


. . . another great dinner AND yummy chocolate toffee caramel dessert . . .


. . . soon I was  . . . zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.