Desperate to escape the familiar staleness of Dublin’s urban suburbia, I fled in my rental car and drove south. A kilometer outside of Dublin immediately revealed the beautiful heart of Ireland’s countryside that I yearned to savor. It wasn’t long before I drove haphazardly through the hilly narrow roads of Co. Wicklow. From lack of attention, to the fault of the transfixing lush scenery that surrounded me. The intriguing, endless views of greens and yellows were captivating and quite seductive.
I slipped out from my daze once I reached the glacial valley of Glendalough, which is renowned for being a monastic settlement in the 6th century. My first impression of Ireland was dreadful. Dublin presented itself simply as just another bustling modern city, by majority. But the moment I began hiking through the woods surrounding the tiny village of Glendalough, my discriminations disappeared.
Each and every plant, rock, root and creek left me in an elated stupor. First, I decided to hike around the river stream that lead to Lough Nahanagan (a small lake) and ogle at every lucid change in the landscape. There are endless differences in Ireland’s terra and mire compared to where I grew up in the American midwest.
Following the path that bypassed the fascinating valley cemetery, I meandered through the crowd of tourists examining the Round Tower and Saint Kevin’s Church. While the ruins are definitely interesting, I couldn’t help but feel a consistent allure towards the natural scenery of the valley. What draws me in may simply be the glamour from afar but it’s beauty is so very complex. The entire expanse radiates the characteristic charm that Ireland has to offer with its unique landscape of rolling hills, peat bogs, marshy prairies and moss-covered rocks. My particular favorite highlights of Glendalough’s landscape is its lush beauty of winding vines, rock formations and colorful marshy outcrops throughout the streams.