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St Kevins Way - Pilgrim Path

Trail Overview Details

Grade: Moderate
Format: Linear
Trail Quality: **
County: Wicklow
Category: Walking/Hiking Trails
Type: Pilgrim Path
Length (Kms): 30.00
Climb (m): 580
Estimated time: 1 days
Start point: Hollywood
Start point grid ref: N 940 055
End point: Glendalough
End point grid ref: T 124 969
Nearest town to start: Hollywood/ Valleymount/ Glendalough
Ordnance survey map: OSI Discovery Series Sheet 56
Dogs Allowed: No
Facilities: Car Parking: Space on street in Hollywood/ Valleymount.
Car Park at Glendalough
Public transport: No public transport available to Hollywood or Valleymount.
No direct public bus service to Glendalough but there is a private bus company, St. Kevin's Bus, that run a daily service Dublin/Glendalough and Glendalough/Dublin. Times available at www.glendaloughbus.com
Map guide available: Medieval Irish Pilgrim Paths No. 2 - St Kevin's Way - Hollywood to Glendalough, Co Wicklow - available from the Heritage Council - see contact details below.


Yellow arrow on black background

Description of Trail

St Kevin’s Way follows in the footsteps of St Kevin through the hills of Wicklow to the haunting and mysterious valley of Glendalough where he spent the rest of his life in solitary prayer and contemplation. After Kevin’s death in AD 618, what had been a humble hermit’s retreat developed into an impressive monastic city which was to continue as a centre of piety and learning for many years to come. Medieval pilgrims came from far and wide to visit Kevin’s tomb, and the alternative starting points to the walk reflect the different directions from which they are likely to have travelled. The main route starts in Hollywood, while the alternative route comes from Valleymount. The paths meet and join at Ballinagee Bridge. The walker then climbs towards the spectacular Wicklow Gap, a classic example of a ‘wind gap’ and the highest point on the route. The flagstones of the old pilgrimage road are still visible in sections. The route then follows the descent of the Glendasan River into the Valley of Glendalough. Before proceeding to the monastic buildings, a visit to the fine interpretative centre beside Glendalough carpark will give an overview of the history of the area.  Little remains of the early monastery that grew up around St Kevin’s tomb, and most of the monastic buildings date from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the heyday of the European pilgrimage. The cluster includes one of the country’s best preserved examples of a round tower. The valley beyond the monastic settlement has much to offer, including a view of the inaccessible ‘St Kevin’s Bed’ from which he reputedly hurled a seductive maiden into the lake below in a determined effort to preserve his chastity. 

Trail Reviews

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Start is shown above as Hollywood or Valleymount but this trail can be started from Glendalough either.
***Do not enter farmland if you have dogs with you, even on a leash, unless with the permission of the landowner***
This trail is waymarked with yellow walking pilgrim and arrow on black posts
The estimated time of 1 day to complete the trail applies to the journey from either Hollymount to Glendalough or Valleymount to Glendalough

Trail management organisation contact details

Bryan Fennell
Rural Recreation Officer
County Wicklow Partnership
Avoca River House
3rd Floor Bridgewater Centre

Co Wicklow
Tel:0402 20955
Email: bfennell@wicklowpartnership.ie

Trail Map


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