Being near the mid-point of the Wicklow Way, Glendalough is a popular location for walkers to take a rest day from the trail. This book is the perfect accompaniment for those that wish to stretch their legs by exploring the Monastic City and learn about it's history by referring to this book in hand.
As the subtitle of the book suggests, the main text is divided into three sections of 'History, Monuments and Legends'.
The books begins by setting out the scene of Glendalough. It delves into the history of Saint Kevin and why he chose to found a monastery here in the 6th Century. Although the research for the book is drawn from ancient Latin and Irish manuscripts dating back to the 9th Century, the text is easy to read and understand.
The middle section of the book looks at the legends of Saint Kevin. Among the short snippets of stories that are recounted are the blackbird that nested in Saint Kevin's hand, King O'Toole's sick goose, the deer that produced milk for an orphaned baby and the tale of Kathleen who tried to seduce Saint Kevin.
The final section of the book is a checklist of monuments that are still present in the valley, most of which can be visited by foot. A reference map helps locate each site and there is at least one dedicated page of photographs and text to describe its main features and significance.
The sites listed include the main Gateway to the Monastic City, the Round Tower, the Cathedral, Saint Kevin's Cross, the Priest's House, Saint Kevin's Church (or Kitchen), Saint Kieran's Church, Saint Mary's Church, Trinity Church, the Monastery of Saint Saviour, the Market Cross, Temple na Skellig, Saint Kevin's Bed, Saint Kevin's Cell, Reefert Church and the Caher.
George McClafferty is the author of the book and has been the manager at the Glendalough Visitor Centre since it opened in 1987. His 95 page publication is 17cm x 14.5cm and illustrated throughout with an abundance of colour photographs.