Statistics: 11.6 miles, ascent 1749′, descent 1746′, 5 1/4 hours
This next day was filled with many delightful experiences.
Walking down the Vale of Glendalough we came upon the fascinating, ancient village, named Monastic City, which had been occupied from the 7th to the 16th centuries. Nestled in a valley at the confluence of two streams surrounded by high mountains, this monastery had been the site of a flourishing religious community. Many of the stone buildings still remain and are open to the public.
Moving up-stream through the valley along a lovely, forested path we first encountered the lower of two lakes in the valley (aptly named “Lower Lake”).
Continuing up the stream we soon discovered the next lake (yes, “Upper Lake”). These sites made for a relaxing morning of exploration and photography which also included our visit to a small information center and natural history museum.
Upon leaving Glendalough the trail took a decided uphill turn. We were now following the Lugduff Brook that was bounding down the mountain, creating the delightful Poulanass waterfall.
On several occasions we observed wild goats enjoying their morning on the mountainside. These goats were identified as the descendants of the goat herds turned loose by miners who left when the local lead mines played out in the 1850’s.
The climb continued steadily upwards, although not as steeply. Since there was nowhere to get out of the damp, we decided to just sit, rest and eat on the trailside for a few minutes.
As we approached Glenmalure the mossy forest began to resemble a rainforest and there were occasional wild flowers.
The very small village of Glenmalure consisted of our attractive B&B which was an old coaching lodge built in 1801, a horse-drawn caravan rental business, Glenmalure Lodge, and a few additional B&B’s. We found that some B&B’s did not turn on the radiators (heat) until October 1. Glenmalure Lodge was such an establishment. The room was so cold that I used the hair dryer to take the edge off the chill in the room.
A varied and most interesting day was concluded with a tasty meal at the only eatery in town, the pub at Glenmalure Lodge.