Glendalough, Monastery of

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Former monastery in the heart of the Wicklow Hills, Ireland, founded by St. kevin c. 570. The original buildings were on a level patch of ground between two lakes (glenn-dá-locha, the valley of the two lakes). When the area became too small, the community moved to a wider plain further down the valley, where the round tower and a remarkable group of churches still stand. The community's long list of abbots stretches from the death of Kevin in 618 to St. lawrence o'toole in the 12th century. Mention of bishops, priests, hermits, professors, and royal burials there shows that the monastery continued to flourish despite two centuries of attacks by the Scandinavian invaders after 835. In 1111 Glendalough became the see of a large diocese, which was in turn united with Dublin (1214). The monastic buildings, which dot the valley here and there for some two miles, remained more or less intact until 1714, when they were razed by the high sheriff, at the head of troops, and by the local Protestant settlers. Glendalough was the center of a famous pilgrimage, culminating on the feast of St. Kevin (June 3), that survived until the middle of the 19th century.

Bibliography: Vita s. Coemgeni (Kevin), in Vitae sanctorum Hiberniae, comp. c. plummer, 2 v. (Oxford 1910) 1:234257. j. f. kenney, The Sources for the Early History of Ireland : v. 1, Ecclesiastical (New York 1929) 403404. l. price, "Glendalough: St. Kevin's Road," Essays and Studies Presented to Professor Eain McNeill, ed. j. ryan (Dublin 1940) 244271.

[j. ryan]