God's Cottage, Glendalough

Glendalough, nestling among two lakes and seven valleys in Ireland's Wicklow mountains, attracts ever more visitors.

We come for the beauty of nature, for her singing trees and streams. We come for the beauty of a holy soul, Saint Kevin, whose prayers in the lake vanquished the local attackers, of whom a poet wrote:

A soldier of Christ into the land of Ireland

A high name over wave and sea

Kevin the holy fair warrior

In the valley of the two broad lakes.

We come for the world's best preserved remains of a Celtic and medieval monastic village.

But what now? Are ice cream cones all that is on offer to today's soul travellers? Not so. At the monastic entrance a woman pipes who has not sold her soul to cheap marketing ploys. Quietly, with eyes closed, she sings from deep within her soul as the people pass. These are not 'lost customers' - they are eavesdroppers on angelic tones.

On our right as we wend our way to the Upper Lake is 'God's Cottage', a geo-thermally heated place of prayer and a spiritual resource shop. On the stone altar are carved the prophet Isaiah's words: 'You will rebuild the ancient ruins, build on the old foundations'. My sister Sally and I pray there. We learn that it is the vision of Father Thaddeus Doyle and a Trust which recently purchased it from donations. You can read all about it at www.glendaloughprayercentre.org

Then we walked to Kevin's cell and had food. I ate hot curry. Sally had cold salad - and we both had ice cream cones.

Posted at 00:21am on 27th July 2013
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