Glendalough in County Wicklow - One of the Most Magical Places on Earth ~ Maya Hanley
The photograph above placed 2nd in popular vote in the Ireland Photos by You! contest. 59 photographs were entered and over 300 people voted by LIKING their favorite photos on Thin Places Mystical Tour of Ireland Facebook page.
This colorful Autumn scene was taken by Maya Hanley of Carlow, Ireland and submitted with the caption - Glendalough - County Wicklow, one of the most magical places on earth.
Maya added this commentary after winning second place.
It was taken in Glendalough on an October day when I had a friend over from Sweden. It was her first visit and I wanted her to see the magic of Glendalough. I grew up near there, in Roundwood, so Glendalough was sort of my back yard.
When we were small, my mother used to take us out on picnics in the summer and that photo was taken at the exact spot we used to picnic. In those days, we were able to light a fire and my mother would put potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil into the base of the fire and they would roast as the fire grew. She would boil a kettle on the fire and make tea that was smokey and delicious.
Mother would lie on the picnic blanket while we played in the river. After lunch, we would head to the lake, just around the corner and sit and look at the sky and the trees and talk about the history of the place and how there were fairies in the woods and other magical creatures. We all 'knew' there was something magical there, we could feel it in the soles of our bare feet as we ran about the place.
We always went to the wishing rock in the graveyard too. You had to stand with one hand in the groves of one rock and straddle the pathway to reach the other rock where there was always a pool of water, and make your wish.
I go back to Glendalough over and over again and it never fails to intrigue and inspire me. My friend,who was with me that day, was thunderstruck and it opened up a discussion of the 'other world' and what's possible. Since then, her life has taken another turn and has opened up to the idea of magic. I blame Glendalough!
Maya Hanley is a Marketing Consultant who works with small businesses, helping them with marketing strategies and social media practices. More information about Maya can be found on her website and on her Facebook business page.
A Little More about GlendaloughThe name Glendalough means valley between two lakes, which is indeed where the ruins of St. Kevin's monastic city rest - in a valley between two lakes. In the late sixth century, St. Kevin founded a monastic community on this site and it flourished into the thirteenth century becoming a self sufficient city and center for learning. The remnants of the grand building that once stood are from the eleventh and twelfth centuries.
The double gateway leading into Glendalough is rare and is actually set at two levels. The arches still stand - one slightly higher than the other. Several churches, a cathedral and round towers make up the main complex, which rests on a sea of grave markers remembering the dead of the Glendalough parish. St. Kevin's High Cross, though not as ornate as many others scattered around Ireland, stands in the center of the complex
Pathways and bridges guide the visitor in and out of ruins that cling to the present time and space, but somehow those old relics seem to connect with the past ... with a time when they were new and vibrant and the city thrived.
Even with throngs of visitors, one can find a quiet spot in Glendalough and ponder, pray, remember. There's a quietness about the place and a mystical draw that makes everyone want to return.
When I asked Paddy Moloney of the The Chieftains if he could name a thin place in Ireland, he remembered Glendalough. He said, "Glendalough is my parish. I live near there. I like to go there when it rains and walk and walk. Almost nobody goes there when it rains."
Flickr Slide Show comprised of photographs by Mindie Burgoyne - (c) 2012