John J. Ó Ríordáin C.Ss.R
Glendalough is a tourist site, but it is more than that. For almost a millennium and a half it is a place of Christian pilgrimage, a holy place to which people have resorted in times of joy and times of sorrow, as exemplified by Rome, Jerusalem, Mecca, the Ganges, the Camino di Santiago, or closer to home: a holy well, a sacred stream, or a shrine to somebody who had truly walked with God.
In the latter category is Glendalough, where St Kevin spent his life contemplating the mystery of that which we call God. Added to the spiritual benefits accruing to the God-seeking pilgrim, the host community benefits from trade, improved infrastructure and employment, for as the poet Patrick Kavanagh says ‘God is in the bits and pieces of everyday.’
Fr John J’s book helps ensure that if we come to Glendalough as a tourist, we return home as a pilgrim.