Grand Tour

Touring Routes Ireland

Pilgrims, Saints & Scholars TourPilgrims, Saints & Scholars


Approximate Distance 65 MILES/ 105 KM

Did you know the lark doesn’t sing at Glendalough?

According to legend, workers building St. Kevin’s monastic site vowed to “rise with the lark and lie with the lamb”, but grew exhausted because the birds rose so early. St Kevin prayed for a solution, and the skylark’s voice fell silent in the enchanted valley.

The sixth-century ruins at Glendalough are one of the most visited sites in the country. But they’re just one stop on a touring route through the heart of Early Christian Ireland.

Running from Maynooth University to Wicklow Mountains National Park (or vice versa), this drive is the ideal introduction to the Land of Saints and Scholars.

After Glendalough, wind through the dramatic Wicklow Gap towards Kildare, where you’ll find St. Brigid’s Cathedral and Kildare Abbey. Dating from the 13th century, you can learn more about both, and one of Ireland’s oldest towns, at Kildare Heritage Centre.

Of course, Ireland’s tradition of ecclesiastical learning wasn’t limited to Early Christian times – as you’ll find at Maynooth, an historic town home to both lay and religious universities.

You’re more likely to hear the chirrup of a lark here than Glendalough, but there’s another reason to visit Maynooth too – the National Science Museum (seasonal), where a mix of scientific and religious artefacts bring together the best of saintly and scholarly pursuits.


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