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Best Early Christian Ruins

We are planning a fall trip and hope to see one or two - but not there - early ruins. These are now on our itinerary - could you suggest which is most interesting?

Glendalough
Clonmacnoise
Jerpoint Abbey

Thanks you!!

Posted by
130 posts

If you are talking Early Christian sites then it has to be Glendalough followed by Clonmacnoise. Jerpoint Abbey is later - C12th - and is basically a ruined abbey.

Glendalough was founded in the C6th and has a round tower as well as assorted monastic ruins. Have a look at the map here.

https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https%3A%2F%2Fi.pinimg.com%2Foriginals%2Ff6%2F75%2F0d%2Ff6750d360bed94178c72d2d5bbb4e1aa.jpg&imgrefurl=https%3A%2F%2Fnl.pinterest.com%2Fpin%2F542261611364867704%2F&tbnid=QZQzWVYDOK0dYM&vet=12ahUKEwjl4OPFwNbnAhUCNxoKHR-pAT4QMygGegUIARD1AQ..i&docid=3md0MfkZA5xR0M&w=700&h=350&itg=1&q=glendalough%20map&client=firefox-b-d&ved=2ahUKEwjl4OPFwNbnAhUCNxoKHR-pAT4QMygGegUIARD1AQ

It is a delightful site and there are several good trails to follow to the two lakes and different attractions.

https://visitwicklow.ie/item/glendalough-monastic-city/

Clomnmacnoise is another c6th site with round tower, ruined cathedral and other chapels. It also has a wonderful selection of carved crosses. Lots of information and a map here.

https://irishhighcrosses.com/clonmacnois-scripture-cross.html

Posted by
277 posts

We had a chance to see Glendalough, but since we got there early afternoon on a gorgeous October Saturday, the place was packed to overflowing, so we skipped it instead of parking 1/4 mile down the road.

Clonmacnoise, otoh, was on a rainy afternoon two days later, when we only had maybe four other people on site with us. I actually enjoyed the rain, since it added to the atmospheric otherworldliness of the place. It was just wonderful, but I love old ruins, especially with the River Shannon flowing alongside. Not a bad camera angle in sight!

Posted by
150 posts

It sounds so lovely. We're now debating Sept vs next spring, when the days are longer... but, we'll see....

Posted by
1701 posts

All good suggestions from the others. I would only add that the Rock of Cashel would be another place to consider, though it too can get pretty crowded at the height of the tourist season.
The town of Cashel is a pleasant place for a lunch stop, and if you'd like to stretch your legs a bit you can explore the ruins of Hore Abbey - located just down the hill from the Rock and which features some stunning views of the medieval buildings above.