Early Christian Wicklow - Sites to Visit

Heritage Office Wicklow County Council

Glendalough Monastery

The site of an Early Christian Monastery founded by St Kevin in the 6th century. The remains include a number of stone churches, a round tower and crosses and are located in the beautiful ‘Valley of the Two Lakes’.

Opens 9.30-17.00 Daily.

See wicklow.ie interactive tour of Wicklow’s historic sites for more information.

Baltinglass Abbey

Baltinglass Abbey, a daughter house of Mellifont Abbey, was founded in 1148. Fragments of the 12th century church and traces of the cloister remain. The nave is aisled with alternate square and cylindrical piers, with unusual designs on the bases and capitals. There are also the bases of two Romanesque doorways. The tower was erected in the later medieval period but was replaced in the 19th century by a narrow neo-gothic one.

Raheen-an-Chluig, Bray Head

A small 12th or 13th century church on the Northern slopes of Bray Head. The remains of a door and round-headed windows are still to be seen. Short walk from the car park to the north side of Bray Head.

St Valery’s Cross, Fassaroe

This small granite cross is situated just outside Bray, off the M11. It is probably 12th century in date and has an unpierced ring with a crucifixion scene on one side and two human heads on the other.

Kilcoole Church

This plain 12th century church, dedicated to St Mary, is a nave and chancel sturcture. The graveyard has some fine 18th century tombstones.

St Mark’s Cross, Blessington

This 4.2m high granite cross stands in the cemetery but was moved from nearby Burgage.

Aghowle Church

This 12th century church occupies the site of an early foundation of st Finnian of Clonard. The church has an interesting west door, an unfinished granite cross and a stone basin. It is situated 8km west of Shillelagh, 400m down a country lane.

CastleTimon Ogham Stone

Situated on the side of the road, 11km south of Wicklow town, take the turn for Kilbride off the Arklow-Brittas Bay road. The stone is inscribed with the words NETA CARI NETA CAGI.

Delgany Ecclesiastical Remains

Situated in Delgany village, the remains consist of the foundations of the nave and chancel of a church, which remained in use until c. 1789. There is a portion of a granite high cross in the graveyard, which contains several early 18th century and 19th century headstones.

Donard Ogham Stone

Now located in the village green in Donard Village, it has been moved from its original location; it is rectangular block of stone with an inscription which reads ‘IAQINI KOI MAQI MUC..’

Church Mountain Passage Tomb and Church, Ballymooney

About 6km south of Hollywood on the summit of Church Mountain is a circular cairn of stones, probably the remains of a passage tomb. The centre of the cairn has been hollowed out to form an enclosure in which there are the foundations of a church and a well.


This article is extracted from County Wicklow in Prehistory a heritage office publication produced as an action of the County Heritage Plan. Text supplied by Chris Corlett

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