The Cloigtheach of Glendalough

Michael Stephen Wills Photography

Cloigtheach is the Irish language name for a round stone tower. The word’s literal meaning is “Bell House.” This fine example of mica slate and graniteis found in the Glendalough valley of County Wicklow, Ireland.

The sun was past noon when we arrived at this glacial valley of the Wicklow mountains.In the few hours available I shot the tower from numerous angles and chose this because the tower is placed in the larger natural environment, viewed as a singular object apart from the monastic city the tower is placed among.

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Saint Kevin founded a monastic settlement within Glendalough valley almost 1,500 years ago, in the late 6th century A.D. As a religious center the monastery flourished for 600+ years, becoming a monastic city. Destroyed by English forces in 1398, it was disestablished at that time. Still, Glendalough served as a pilgrimage destination through…

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