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"Glendalough - The Pilgrim's Guide"

Glendalough was once one of the four main places of pilgrimage in Ireland. I myself have been going there as a pilgrim for over thirty years. Not merely have I visited it more often than I have visited all the other pilgrimage destinations combined, but I have visited it more often as a pilgrim than I have visited any other place on the face of the earth for any reason. I absolutely love it, and going there has played an important role in my own walk with Jesus.

It is a place of immense natural beauty, and of infinite variety. The very earth has been made sacred by St. Kevin, St. Laurence O Toole, and a host of other saints, male and female, who truly fell in love with God and lived for Him in this sanctified place.

This booklet, in which I draw not just from the history books, but also from my own many pilgrimages and hours of prayer there, is designed to help you to be touched by God's love in this special place. It also contains stories about St. Kevin like the two underneath.

One can order a copy of "Glendalough - The Pilgrim's Guide" by post for just 3.00 euro including postage (Ireland), but anyone who donates even 10 euro towards the purchase of God's Cottage will get a signed copy. Click at bottom of page for full pricelist.

 

How St. Kevin Exorcised Glendalough

It is generally believed that St. Kevin’s bed was originally a Bronze Age tomb. Cutting that cave would have taken ages and even getting to it would have required a boat. Clearly some important person was buried there for mystical or religious reasons.

The original name for the Lower Lake was Lough na Peestha, the lake of the serpent. It was said to have had its own monster serpent. Given that this monster serpent was reputed to live in the Lower Lake, could “The Green Road” have existed prior to St. Kevin and been called after the Green Serpent God, after which Baltinglass (The Green Baal) at the other side of the Wicklow Mountains is also named. Green was a colour deeply associated with the Druidic worship.

Given that Baltinglass was a major centre of Druidic worship, it is quite likely that Glendalough had connections also.

Folklore told of a major struggle between St. Kevin and the serpent in the Lower Lake, with the serpent being a source of bad luck or of a curse (destroying his work and buildings) until St. Kevin caught and killed the serpent. This story is symbolic of St. Kevin delivering the valley from its pagan past and breaking whatever evil or curses that arose from its past.

Other stories have Kevin swimming in the lake and standing for an hour praying in the lake daily while the serpent was still in it. Doing so would have been a powerful public witness by Kevin of his lack of fear of the serpent - and of the serpent god.

It is understandable that his swimming and praying in the lake, while the natives believed the serpent was still in it, would have caused them to have all sorts of images, including erotic images, of the serpent lapping itself around him. Hence the many such stories.

Just as his swimming and praying in the lake was a mighty statement that he feared neither the serpent nor the serpent god, so too St. Kevin’s sleeping in the pagan burial chamber was a mighty statement that he feared neither the ancient pagan gods nor the spirits of the dead.

 

St. Kevin And Celibacy

St. Kevin was born of a royal line of the tribe of Dal-Mesincorb. Even as a teenager he became a holy man, and clearly was a charismatic figure. Given all this, many ladies undoubtedly cast romantic eyes in his direction.

Some, inspired by his example, sought to dedicate their own lives to God. But undoubtedly some desired only to possess him for themselves.

A story is told that when Kevin was either a student or a young priest in Kilnamanagh, a beautiful young lady called Kathleen wanted him for herself.

She ‘chased’ him for some time without success, then growing more desperate, she sought him out when he was alone, and asked him directly to have sex with her.

It is one thing for a young man to live the celibate lifestyle when his celibacy is being respected. It is quite another thing to live it when an attractive young lady is asking one to have sex with her.

Kevin became a great saint, but first he was an ordinary full blooded young man with normal sexual desires.

It is said that, finding himself sexually aroused by her advances, he jumped into a clump of nestles semi naked - the 6th century equivalent of having a “cold shower”. When Kathleen continued to pursue him, he plucked a bunch of the said nettles and began to beat her with them across her exposed parts. Some commentators refer to this as “violence”. But I say, good for him!

In fairness to her, instead of complaining, she got the message and repented. That was the real miracle.

Some commentators like to portray this incident as the “pushing away of human love”.

It was not!! It was the pushing away of lust, of sex being used not as an expression of love but out of a desire to possess.

By the time storytellers were finished with the story, they had St. Kevin throwing poor Kathleen to her death in the Upper Lake - despite the fact that the incident happened in Kilnamanagh and she lived to convert!

Meanwhile, it would be quite appropriate to ask the intercession of St. Kevin when dealing with any form of sexual difficulties.

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