Glendalough Hermitage

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Holy Week Ceremonies 2018

March 13th, 2018


10.00 am: Morning Prayer followed by Confession

7 pm: Mass of the Lord’s Supper followed by Exposition

GOOD FRIDAY 30th March

10.00 am: Morning Prayer followed by Confession

11.00 am: Stations of the Cross in the Valley led by the Tearmann Spirituality Centre Team (Meet at the Visitors Centre)

3.00 pm: Solemn Liturgy of the Passion/Veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion.

7.00 pm: Stations of the Cross (St. Kevin’s Church)


10.00 am: Morning Prayer followed by Confession

9.00 pm: Solemn Easter Vigil


10.30 am: Mass




My Threshold Pilgrimage by Patricia Turner

June 23rd, 2014

People have been retreating to the Wicklow Mountain region south of Dublin for hundreds of years. It is a place of splendid isolation and sublime beauty. The Glendalough valley encourages both inner and outer exploration. This was where I came to contemplate my third threshold.

» Read about Patricia’s stay with us

St. Kevin’s Feast Day 2014

April 28th, 2014

St. Kevin’s Way – A One-Day Camino to Glendalough

This year, to celebrate the Feast of St. Kevin, two walks have been organised, for 31st May, 2014.

Walk 1

For the seasoned walker, will consist of 7 stages: 8.30 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Stage 1 starts, at 8.30 a.m., at the church in Hollywood, Co. Wicklow, led by Fr. Kevin Doran and ends at 4.00 p.m. at the Upper Lake.

You may join the walk at any one of these stages:

  • Stage 1: Hollywood to King’s River Junction (8.30 to 10.30 a.m.)
  • Stage 2: King’s River Valley (10.30 a.m.)
  • Stage 3: River Bank Walk (11.30 a.m.)
  • Stage 4: Ballinagee to Kevin’s Pool (12.00 to 1.30 p.m., includes a lunch break)
  • Stage 5: St. Kevin’s Pool to Wicklow Gap (1.30 to 2.30 p.m.)
  • Stage 6: Wicklow Gap to Mining Village (2.30 to 3.30 p.m.)
  • Stage 7: Miners’ Village to Glendalough (3.30 to 4.00 p.m.)

Walk 2

A gentle walk, on level ground. It starts at 2.00 p.m. at the Green Road (Woollen Mills), led by Srs. Kathleen and Doreen and Eileen Patterson and ends at 4.00 p.m. at the Upper Lake.

All pilgrims from both walks will assemble here for a concluding prayer led by Fr. Michael Rodgers and Bernie Healy.

Participants are asked to wear suitable clothing and footwear, for their chosen walk. A walking stick is advisable. Time will be allocated for a lunch break on Walk 1, so please bring a packed lunch and drinks. There will be 2 water stations en route.

Through participating in one of these walks, you are being invited to bring the sacred into your everyday.


In order for us to have an idea of numbers, we would appreciate if you could register with Glendalough Hermitage Centre in advance and indicate the stage at which you plan to start.

Please contact Glendalough Hermitage Centre: (087) 9356696

No registration fee. At the Upper Lake, a box will be provided for a donation towards Mountain Rescue.

We hope that this will become an annual event to celebrate the Feast of St. Kevin.


Stations of the Cross Easter 2014

April 16th, 2014



Way to Calvary – Stations of the Cross


Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

First Station: Jesus is condemned to death


Second Station: Jesus Receives His Cross


Third Station: Jesus Falls the First Time


Fourth Station: Jesus Meets His Mother


Fifth Station: Simon Helps Jesus to Carry His Cross


Sixth Station: Jesus Falls the Second Time


Seventh Station: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus With a Towel


Eight Station: Jesus Comforts the Women


Ninth Station: Jesus Falls a Third Time


Tenth Station: Jesus is Stripped of His Garments


Eleventh Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross


Twelfth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross


Thirteenth Station: Jesus is Taken Down From the Cross


Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb


Fifteenth Station



Stations of the Cross: From Glenstal Abbey Church
By Brother Benedict Tutty, OSB.

Photographs: The Irish Times


Lenten Reflection

March 7th, 2014

Come Back to Me With All Your Heart

Do you know how loved you are, how sacred your story is?

Do you know the gift which you are being offered?

Do you know the joy to which you are called?

Do you know what you are looking for, what your heart longs for?

Where have you been searching?

Have you found your heart’s desire?


Now is the Time,

This is the time to discover that which will bring you deep peace.

Now is the time to rethink, repent, to change the direction in which you are looking for happiness.

This is the time to make a pilgrimage to the centre of your own heart,

And find Who is waiting for you.


Can you come into the desert for a while?

Walk the path of silence, solitude, simplicity?

Leave behind the burdens that you carry

And travel lightly into the cave of your own heart?

If you listen, you will learn the wisdom you need for the journey.


This Lent

Take time to -


Tranquility Sunday

February 24th, 2014

Tranquility Sunday – First Sunday of the month March to November inclusive – 10.30 am-4.30 pm

A day of silent prayer takes place in the Coach House on the first Sunday of each month. This is an opportunity to celebrate the Sabbath in silence, prayer and rest and to experience the space and solitude offered by the Hermitage Centre.

The day begins with a short morning prayer. This is followed by periods of silent prayer. A long break at lunchtime allows pilgrims to rest, to walk, to contemplate nature, to reflect or pray as they choose, all in an atmosphere of silence and in the peaceful and beautiful surroundings of Glendalough. Further silent prayer takes place in the afternoon and the day closes with an evening reflection.

“Come to me … and you will find rest for your soul.” (Matt 11:27-30)

Visitors and guests are both most welcome to join with us in prayer at any of these times. Guests who join us for the Tranquility Sunday are asked to bring a packed lunch.

Guests staying in the hermitages are entirely free to decide whether to participate and to what extent. We deeply respect and honour the uniqueness of each person’s journey and the individual path we are each called to follow. The only requirement is that the atmosphere of silence is maintained.

“Let the beauty you love be what you do;
there are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” (Rumi)

Spring: An Invitation to Joy

January 31st, 2014

‘Nothing is as beautiful as Spring

When weeds in wheels shoot long and lovely and lush.’

G.M. Hopkins

This thought came to mind on looking out my bedroom window earlier this week. After weeks of rain, wind, fog and an overall greyness and gloom the land was sodden, drenched, weeping profuse tears of sadness. The greyness of winter covered the land and for many people, their spirits resembled the weather. When will this darkness end?

And then-

In the teeth of a cold and raw wind, tiny snowdrops appeared ‘from nowhere’ under the trees as a prelude to the joy of the awakening of Nature into a new life of warmth, sunshine, abundance and colour. But not yet! In this ‘in between time’ we must wait a little longer, we must hope and believe. But sure as the dawn, it will come. All around us the new life which warms our hearts and our spirits invites us to recognise a greater Presence. This voice beacons us to awaken and recognise the hope to which we are called. This call in an invitation to joy.

St BrigidThe Celtic woman, Brigid, who is celebrated as Mary of the Gael, heard this invitation to joy and spent her live sharing it. Her feast ushers in the beginning of Spring on February 1st.

In the words of the’ Song of Songs’.

‘Come, my love, come with me,

The winter is over, the rains have stopped

In the countryside the flowers are in bloom.

This is a time for singing,

The song of doves is heard in the fields.

Brigid’s recognition and experience of this call to live through love in God’s Presence impelled her to found a monastery and minister to the poor.

The beauty of the world around us is our mentor and guide, our Wisdom teacher. The Psalmist cries

‘How clearly the sky reveals God’s glory!

How plainly it shows what God has done!

Each day announces it to the following day:

Each night repeats it to the next.’

Psalm 18

Patrick Kavanagh rejoiced because he saw nature as God’s hiding place where

This beautiful, beautiful God

Is breathing His love in a cutaway bog’.

Tagore too is filled with joy as he recognises a greater Love inviting him,

‘Listen, my heart, to the whispers of the world

with which it makes love to you.’

DaffodilsHafiz delights in

‘ A Love so deep and

sweet, it needed to

express itself with scents, sounds, colours that never before existed’.

At this time, as Nature awakens in readiness to reveal her beauty, we too must awaken to receive and savour this treasure. It offers us joy, that for which we came to be.

In the Christian Way, we are also offered ‘Eternal Newness and Joy’ in coming to know the Person of Jesus Christ. Pope Francis, in the words of his recent Exhortation describes this-

“I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord”.[1] The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace”. How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. Christ, who told us to forgive one another “seventy times seven” (Mt 18:22) has given us his example: he has forgiven us seventy times seven. Time and time again he bears us on his shoulders. No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love. With a tenderness which never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew. Let us not flee from the resurrection of Jesus, let us never give up, come what will. May nothing inspire more than his life, which impels us onwards!”

The beauty, freshness and awakening of Nature in Spring is God’s invitation to us.



November 28th, 2013

Occurring at the time of year when the earth moves towards the Winter Solstice, when days are gradually shortening and a chill in the air replaces a soft breeze, Advent conjures up a time of twilight, expectancy and waiting. Trees bravely shed their beauty and stand stark and naked in the cold. A crisp frost covers the ground. A sense of the impending winter is in the air.

We pause in silence and gather to remember and to prepare.

Advent for many people is a time of waiting for the coming of the Lord, and many prayer services and liturgies provide us with beautiful experiences and reminders of the glory of the One who is to come.

We wait for the coming of the Lord. We are encouraged to ‘Awake, keep watch!’

However we also need to awaken to the fact that the Lord is waiting for us.

There is a sense in which we do not need to wait for God. God is always present in myriad ways, around us, among us, between us, within us. Do we not need to awaken to the wonder and mystery of this?

For those who are awake and those who see

‘The earth is charged with the grandeur of God’. Hopkins



This beauty of creation that surrounds us assures us that our planet is pervaded by a sacred Presence.
‘The earth proclaims the glory of God’ Psalm 19:1

Isaiah invites us to find comfort and rest in this mysterious and enfolding Presence who is always with us -
‘In returning and rest your shall be saved,
In quietness and trust shall be your strength,
The Lord waits to be gracious to you’
. Isaiah 30:15

This loving Presence is also waiting for us to recognise, receive,
believe in and accept a deep and personal love.

‘Behold I stand at the door and knock ’ Rev.3:20

This waiting of the Beloved is also described in the Song of Songs

‘See, my beloved stands behind the wall’. Song of Songs, 2:8-10

Sieger Koder, a German artist depicts this gentle, patient and vulnerable waiting of our lover God.


Beate Heinen

Quite often the difficulty is not that God does not come, but that we do
not see the Divine presence or action all around us. So we are not ready to receive this waiting Love.

‘They have eyes that see not, and ears that hear not.’ Psalm 135:16

Afterwards on reflection on an event we may come to realise

‘Surely Yahweh is in this place and I never knew.’ Genesis 28:16 Beate Heinen



Our Divine Lover waits for us to notice, recognise, and acknowledge God’s gifts in love, beauty, health, friends and all the blessings that we are given every day.

Jesus cries out -

‘If you only knew (recognised) the gift of God and what it is that is being offered to you.’ John 4:10

This same Love asks us to awaken to our human/divine God in the needs of those around us.

We come to recognise that Christ is the recipient of our kindness shown to others. God waits to receive daily bread through our hands

‘I was hungry and you gave me food’ Matthew 25:35

So this Advent our prayer may not be so much about waiting for God as recognising Emmanuel who is already present.


‘Have I been with you all this time and you do not know me?’ John 14:9

May God enlighten the eyes of our mind so that we can know more deeply and more personally the breath and length, the height and depth of the love with which we are loved.
May we extend this love to all our loved ones and especially to those in need.

We pray.

Your eternal Word took flesh on our earth when the Virgin Mary placed her life at the service of your plan. Open our eyes to see you in the hunger and pain of our sisters and brothers. Open our hearts to respond and our hands to share. Lift our minds in watchful hope to hear the voice which announces your glory, and open our hearts to receive the Spirit who is with us and who Presence is new every day.

What marvels the Lord works for us, indeed we are glad. Psalm 125



Beate Heinen, Maria Laach Art Publishers
Sieger Koder.
Irish Times Photograph




Food for the Journey – Pilgrimage to Our Heart

October 7th, 2013

‘You would not be seeking me if you had not already found me’ says the Lord.

Because our hearts are restless until they rest in God (St. Augustine), at some time in our lives we sense a void, an inner ache and longing that urges us to search for meaning. All may be very well in our lives, our relationships, our family, occupation and even financial situation, yet we somehow long for more.

This need can be felt even more keenly when all is not well, when illness, stress, broken relationships, financial worries cast a great shadow over our lives. And so we embark on an inner journey, not with great fanfare or flourish, but quietly in our hearts.

From ancient times people have walked this path, this path of searching and following the still small voice, which John of the Cross calls ‘I know not what’, yet which powerfully attracts, allures and calls us.  The journey is very personal, yet we recognise and find support in the search with others. We find food and nourishment in personal quiet, meditation and contemplative prayer. We also are enriched  in conversations with others who share our dream, in the gatherings of small groups, in community worship and  ritual, in the celebration of the Eucharist, in prayer, pilgrimage, sacred texts, literature, poems, music, art and also in nature.

Each culture and religion nourishes its followers in its own unique and beautiful way. No matter what words are used,  what stories are told, what gestures or rituals are enacted, the ultimate aim is nothing less than guiding its people through and beyond symbols to that central point where the Spirit abides in the heart of each person. Having been awakened to this Presence within we are invited to rest, to savour, to ‘be still and know’ and live our lives from that ‘strange knowing’.

Over time our lives are gradually transformed so that we become more alive, more human and more filled with compassion. Jesus said ‘ I have come that you may have life and have it to the full’ (John 10 : 10) Another culture would express it as a wish that we ‘may face the winds and walk the good road to the day of Quiet’ (Black Elk)

When people walk the Camino de Santiago the conversations with those they meet on the way greatly encourage and inspire them, as is portrayed in the movie ‘The Way’.
In Medieval times the pilgrims who walked to Canterbury were  supported by stories they shared, as related in the ‘Canterbury Tales’.  Today, as our poets, artists, musicians and ordinary people share their thoughts and visions through poetry, music and art we too are greatly nourished by this spiritual food.

An initial ‘Taster  Menu’ of Food for our Journey’ of some writings and poems from sacred world  Religions and Traditions is offered here for tasting, savouring, absorbing, nourishing and ‘building up the Body’. You may linger longer with one or other poem or word of wisdom.

We are all seeking  meaning,  be it in God,   Presence, The Great Spirit, the Buddha, Jesus Christ.

The Hindu Indian poet Tagore reminds us that God is also seeking us.

Have you not heard His silent steps? He comes, comes, ever comes.
Every moment and every age, every day and every night, He comes, comes, ever comes.
Many a song have I sung in many a mood of mind, but all their notes have always proclaimed ’He comes, comes, ever comes’.
In the fragrant days of sunny April through the forest path, He comes, comes, ever comes.
In the rainy gloom of July nights on the thundering chariot of clouds He comes, come, ever comes.
In sorrow after sorrow it is His steps that press upon my heart, and it is the golden touch of His feet that make my joy to shine.

The Spanish poet and mystic, St John of the Cross finds his Beloved everywhere.
My Beloved is the mountains,
The solitary wooded valleys
The strange islands,
The roaring torrents,
The whisper of the amorous gales;
The tranquil night
At the approaches of dawn,
The silent music,
The murmuring solitude
The supper which revives and enkindles love.

Native Americans know that there is a Sacred Presence upholding all things.
They  pray
O Great Spirit
Whose voice I hear in the winds
and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me!
Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes
Ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made
And my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.

Our human longing for the Sacred is described in a similar way by two very different people.

ST. Thomas Aquinas believes that

Every creature has a religion.
Every foot is a shrine where
A secret candle burns.

Every cell in us worships God.

Every arrow in the bow of desire
Has rushed out in hope
Of nearing

Rabia,  a ninth century  Sufi  saint writes

my soul
there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church
where I kneel.

Prayer should bring us to an altar where no walls or names exist.

The psalms of our Judeo Christian faith celebrate the Deepest Mystery which all humanity thirsts for, experiences and shares regardless of what  It is called or how it is envisioned.

Psalm 16
Remain ever before me, O Living Presence
For in You I am safe.
You are my Beloved; in You and through You I can do all things.

I look to those who are one with You
And learn from them Your ways:
My delight increases each time I sense your Presence within me!
Songs of praise well up from my heart.

Our growth towards transformation is the gentle and ongoing work of the Holy One, but our awakening to this Presence depends on our openness and response.

Jesus fed five thousand hungry people on the mountainside.  We are fed by Him every day so that we too have food to share and to offer to one another.  Our words can indeed give life. These we can  savour and celebrate as truly our Bread from Heaven.

Wicklow Hospice Foundation

October 7th, 2013


Miriam McGrath (right) and Sister Margaret PrendergastMiriam McGrath (right) of the Wicklow Hospice Foundation receives a cheque for a thousand Euro on behalf of the Foundation from Sister Margaret Prendergast of the Glendalough Hermitage Centre. The money was raised by hosting a Variety concert in the Brockagh Centre in Laragh