Our next stop was Glendalough, nestled deep in the spectacular Wicklow Mountains. The steep wooded slopes of Glendalough, (the “valley of the two lakes”) is the site of one of Ireland’s most atmospheric monastic settlements. Sacked time and again by the Vikings, it nevertheless flourished for over 600 years. The monks were as much fighters as they were peaceful souls, and local residents depended on them for safety.
We took a short detour for a quick stop at Kilkenny Castle, a medieval castle in the town of Kilkenny. Its setting on the hill above town was similar, if not identical to that of Windsor Castle, including the location of its former horse stable across from the Castle’s park entrance. Kilkenny Castle, of course, is a modest structure compared to Windsor Castle and doesn’t come close to the grandeur of Queen Elizabeth’s favorite home.