We had a family staying in our Glendalough Hostel recently and when we asked them what they thought of it, both of the children replied “EPIC!”. This got us thinking about Glendalough in a different way.
1. Epic History
Yes, we all know about the early medieval Romanesque architecture and the round tower, but that is not why you see Irish Mammies and Daddies sitting at the picnic benches with a wistful look in their eyes. They see the past alright, but it is the recent past. Most Irish people have gone to Glendalough at some stage on a school tour. They piled onto the buses, followed their history teacher around the ruins and ate ham sandwiches out of bread wrapper paper. This place is living history for them – their own Golden Age, so when they return to Glendalough Hostel it all comes flooding back to them.
2. Epic Fun
Kids love Glendalough. That is why all the school tours come here. If you have 60 kids and you need to keep them stimulated, Glendalough is the place to bring them. From pretending they are Ezio from Assasins Creed in St Kevin’s monastic city to climbing the banana tree to playing that timeless game of stone skimming at the lakes, kids are never bored here and it is always simple stuff. If anything they complain when the bus-driver finishes his ice-cream and starts making shapes. That is why families are taking the rush out of it and staying in the Glendalough hostel for an extra night.
3. Epic Activities
Glendalough is built for outdoor activities. Being a deep valley, there are plenty of opportunities for rock-climbing especially on the north western cliffs. Local kids can often be seen lugging climbing mats with them as they hang upside down out of tree branches like monkeys. The miners village is a boulderers playground and toddlers practise their grappling moves on the circular Caher by the upper lake. Even the walks are epic. There are nine of them within a mile of Glendalough hostel, ranging from tranquil lake loops to epic hikes up Spinc and down the other side. Guaranteed to tire out the most hyper of kids and if that does not work, check out the nearby Clara Lara Park.
4. Epic Nature
Glendalough has two lakes divided by the epic waterfall of Poulanass River that flows down the side of the valley. In between them is the Wicklow National Parks Education Centre which has a wealth of information and free family biodiversity activities. The sides of the valley are over 650m and are home to epic woodland trees that look like they have been there since the early days of creation. There is something about standing at the shore of the Upper lake which is timeless and calms everyone. With over one million visitors every year you would think that Glendalough is a wild animal free zone, but this is not the case. Deer roam freely and during the rutting season they put on a display for everyone. Mountain goats hop along the ledges of the waterfall. Glendalough hostel has its own resident ducks that visit us from the lake. Peregrine falcons nest and hunt here and the whole place is an epic nature fest.
5. Epic Location
Glendalough is the jewel in the crown of the Wicklow National Park which is over 200 square miles of unspoiled location that seems to gather in this one spot. Staying here is like staying in the Grand Canyon, or Yellowstone. Not many places in the world will allow you to do this but luckily for us Glendalough Hostel is ideally situated for your family to settle in and enjoy what all the tourists come for. The only difference is you can experience it at your own pace and that is what hostelling is all about.
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