This third day in Ireland we started our road trip. We left Dublin and arrived to Kilkenny, but first we visited Glendalough, Baltinglass Abbey, the ruins of Carlow Castle and Black Castle. It was raining almost the entire day.
Friary of Glendalough
It took us the entire morning to arrive to Glendalough from Dublin and make the visit. This monastic ensemble from the first Christian age was founded by St. Kevin in 6th century. It’s located in a glacial valley between two lakes, where you can make a route on foot.
Between the remains of the friary there are an extremely high round tower, some stone churches and numerous Celtic crosses (this is also a cemetery).
We had a really bad weather, so the pictures we took were a bit spoiled. However, despite the rain it’s a highly recommendable visit, to see the ruins of different churches and dwellings, the round tower (this is the first one we saw), the old gravestones and Celtic crosses.
Besides, the friary is set in one of the “few” forests in Ireland, which is not a country plenty of trees.
Free Admission to the monastic complex. Visitor Centre: 3 € per adult (free with the Heritage Pass).
Opening hours: open every day from mid-October to mid-March, from 9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; from mid-March to mid-October, from 9.30. a.m. to 6 p.m.
GPS Coordinates: 53.011014, -6.326973
More information: Glendalough
The Abbey of Baltinglass is one of the places that we didn’t plan to visit, but it showed up as we were driving and we decided to stop.
It was built in the early 12th century. It was a Cistercian abbey until it was closed in 16th century after an order from Henry VIII, during his anti-friary campaign.
What remains are the ruins of the church of the abbey, which at the time had more buildings where the monks developed their lives and works.
Free admission. It’s managed by OPW (Heritage Card), but there’s no access control. You just have to open a pair of gates to be inside the ruins. In front of the abbey there is little space to park the car, but the village is very close.
GPS Coordinates: 52.94377, -6.710105
More information: Baltinglass Abbey
Our next stop, although it was a short one, was the Castle of Carlow, from which only remains a façade with towers in its corners. It was part of the main residence of the castle, in a rare Norman style in Ireland.
It started to rain again and we headed to the next stop in our journey.
GPS Coordinates: 52.83625, -6.935845
More information: Carlow Castle
It’s located in the town of the same name and there are no places to park.
The Black Castle is located in Leighlinbridge town, inside a private property called Garrison House (it’s actually a vacation centre). There was no problem at all to go inside and visit the ruins.
It has a round, 3-storey high tower, and you can visit it entirely. You can go up by narrow steps to the upper terrace, where you can admire a good sight of the Barrow River, which goes through the town, and the stone arc bridge that crosses it.
GPS Coordinates: 52.736012, -6.977789
More information: Garrison House
One more time, you have to park the car in the village and go on foot to the castle.
After this last visit we arrived to Kilkenny, our end of stage. We visited the village the next day.
Here is a map with the route, the villages and the visits we made in this third day: