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Camino de Glendalough brings participants on physical and spiritual journey

Pilgrims who undertook the full Camino de Glendalough joined others for a short service at the Upper Lake.
Pilgrims who undertook the full Camino de Glendalough joined others for a short service at the Upper Lake.

Damp and boggy conditions did not deter the intrepid pilgrims who undertook the Camino de Glendalough on Sunday (September 10). Twenty people followed the ancient pilgrim route of St Kevin’s Way from Hollywood to Glendalough in the Wicklow Mountains while others had the option to follow shorter routes throughout the day.

Those taking the full 30 kilometre journey gathered in St Kevin’s Church in Hollywood early yesterday morning to receive their pilgrim blessing as the ancient pilgrims would have done while making their way to Glendalough. This was delivered by Archdeacon Ricky Rountree and the Revd Leonard Ruddock.

Archdeacon Ricky Rountree highlighted the attraction of pilgrimage to people throughout history and the importance of Glendalough as a place of pilgrimage in Ireland. Today, he said, there was a renewed interest in pilgrimage as people tried to discern their own sense of spirituality.

“The journey to the sacred place was just as important as the arrival,” the Archdeacon pointed out noting that pilgrims often endured discomfort and difficulties en route. For monks and missionaries there was a penitential element to pilgrimage while for others the visit to the holy place had practical purposes as they sought healing or forgiveness. Along the way they shared their stories and there were always others to listen.

“At the heart of the experience lay a longing and conviction that by travelling to the special place they would be renewed,” he explained. “As pilgrims you are invited on an adventure to your inner being and I encourage you to accept what you find there… As you travel today ask yourselves what point you have reached on your own journey and where you have now to go.”

The day concluded with a small gathering at a very blustery Upper Lake in Glendalough. During the short service those who had completed the full Camino de Glendalough were presented with their badges.

The Revd Brian O’Reilly reflected on pilgrimage as a meaningful walk to a spiritual place. “In taking your walk today I pray that you have not only taken the physical walk but also the spiritual journey… Jesus makes it clear that he has given us all we need to make this journey,” he said. “Glendalough is a liminal place where heaven and earth meet. We’ve come here and made a meaningful journey.”

 

Participants in the Camino de Glendalough receiving their pilgrim blessing in St Kevin's Church, Hollywood.
Participants in the Camino de Glendalough receiving their pilgrim blessing in St Kevin's Church, Hollywood.