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Glendalough is a valley in County Wicklow, Ireland, renowned for its medieval monastic settlement, much of which still survives in the form of towers, churches and smaller structures built between 1000-1200 AD. It is an interesting place to shoot panoramas: while none of the individual buildings by themselves are exactly Chartres, taken together the complex can be pretty impressive. It is also very much integrated into the surroundings, a kind of "Irish Angkor" if you very will, very different from Dunluce Castle, which I posted about last week, and which is designed to dominate its cliff-side setting. The buildings at Glendalough are more understated, and are striking as much for the lovely valley setting as for any extraordinary architectural flourishes.

Another very appealing aspect of the Glendalough setting is that, like Monasterboice that I have also posted about here, the whole area has been repurposed over the last few hundred years as a graveyard, with stones that date up to modern times. So it is not only a very ancient place, but also still used, and for purposes other than just tourism. You can do a pilgrimage walk there from Dublin if so inclined (the 82 km "Camino de Glendalough," maybe not exactly the name I would have chosen...) I'm nobody's idea of a pilgrim, but I can see the real satisfaction of arriving at a peaceful place like this on foot.

I spent a few hours at Glendalough, a 2-hour drive each way from where I live in N. Ireland, last Sunday afternoon. Rain threatened the whole time, and delivered occasionally. The crowds were pretty thin this late in the day (though I admit to executing a few stragglers with the clone stamp tool...) I shot three pans, one of which I could tell just by looking at the individual panels was not going to be satisfactory. The buildings aren't very prominent in any of these, which is consistent with the look and feel of the place. Of the two I worked on (still fiddling...), the first shows the various main buildings scattered amidst the gravestones and trees:

Medieval Glendalough, Repurposed as a Graveyard

The second was shot just as I thought I was leaving, from a vantage point I only noticed traipsing back to my car, and using the GF 250. I've had trouble getting sharp images from this in any kind of wind, but the day was largely breathless, and I used a 10-sec delay and the EFCS to minimize vibrations. This shot was more about showing the old settlement in its valley setting, with the buildings playing second fiddle to the landscape, as I'm sure the original builders intended. I think I'm happier with this one, but I expect I'll be back to try again.

Glendalough in the Valley

The first image is full-size, and the second had to be reduced from 40K pixels across to about 30K to fit here, even with heavy jpegging.

Thanks for any thoughts and suggestions.

Best regards,


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MOD JimKasson
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