Glendalough is just south of Dublin and a very popular destination for day-trippers. Despite this the site has a very tangible spirituality that can be experienced whilst standing amidst the remains of the monastic settlement. The Gaelic name translates to 'valley of the two lakes' and there are some breathtaking walks around the ruined monastery and along the clear-as-glass lakes. St Kevin founded the monastery in the 6th century and it became a great European centre for learning. His body lies in the 9th century cathedral, and the site is adorned with St Kevin's Cross, carved in about 1150. Other buildings here have survived from the 8th and 12th centuries, the most famous of which is the round tower, standing 112ft (34m) high with a base measuring 52ft (16m) in circumference. Glendalough is a remarkable place both in its profound history and its natural splendour. Photographers will be in heaven with the scenery and the romantic ruins. It is a place that fires up the imagination. There is a Visitor's Centre - which is also where you can find parking - but although it does give some interesting context, the real attraction is the countryside and the incredible monastic complex.
Address: 18 miles (30km) south of Dublin
Telephone: (404) 45325
Opening times: Daily 9:30am to 6pm (until 5pm from October to March).
Admission: €3 (adult); concessions available