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Camino de Glendalough sees walkers undertake journey of spiritual reflection

The third annual Camino de Glendalough took place on the second Sunday of September and the event is growing from strength to strength. Over 100 people took part in the pilgrimage with up to 80 people undertaking the full 30 kilometre walk from Hollywood to Glendalough.

The Camino de Glendalough follows St Kevin’s Way over the Wicklow Mountains and has been selected as one of the Celtic Camino routes which links in with the Compostela. Those planning to walk the Camino de Santiago can get their Camino Passports stamped at the beginning and end of the Glendalough walk.

The day started with a service of Holy Communion in St Kevin’s Church in Hollywood. Pilgrims were sent out with a pilgrim blessing as the early Christians would have been when they stopped in Hollywood on their way to the Monastic City.

  • Canon Leonard Ruddock signing the Pilgrim Passports of some of those who took part in the Camino de Glendalough.
  • Some of the pilgrims who undertook the full Camino de Glendalough received a blessing in St Kevin's Church, Hollywood.
  • Pilgrims gather at Glendalough's Upper Lake for a short service at the end of the Camino de Glendalough.

Others joined the Camino later and more undertook a section of St Kevin’s Way from the Wicklow Gap to Glendalough, having availed of a bus which transported them from St John’s Church in Laragh.

Many of the weary pilgrims took the time at the end of the day to join the Revd Brian O’Reilly, Rector of the nearby St John’s Church, and the Revd Leonard Ruddock, who is Rector of St Kevin’s, for a short service on the shore of the Upper Lake in Glendalough.

During the service Brian highlighted the importance of pilgrimage in our busy lives. Referring to the reading from Scripture (Mark 9: 2–10, The Transfiguration), he said that Jesus took Peter, James and John to a remote place. He said those who had undertaken the Camino de Glendalough had also taken a journey to a remote place.

“It is very important for us to develop a greater perception of Jesus’s voice, to take time to be alone with Jesus and enjoy his presence,” he explained. “We have come off the mountain and we have work to do. Today you have got inner strength that you can bring away with you. We are a people who are chosen by the living God and we have to go out and impact our communities.”

The Camino de Glendalough takes place on the second Sunday of September each year. For those wishing to walk St Kevin’s Way as part of the Celtic Camino, the stamp is available all year round in the Glendalough Visitor Centre and in the office of Hollywood Community Centre from 9am to 1pm Monday to Friday.

This year’s Camino received very positive feedback from all who took part and Brian and Leonard plan to develop the shorter routes for next year. It is hoped to encourage clergy from Dublin and Glendalough to accompany groups of their parishioners on a journey of spiritual reflection in the afternoon. This is also a great opportunity for parish walking groups.