Thanks Gilda – Lovely to Meet You All

Greetings to you Martin,

Thank  you for the information–it is very kind of you to take the time to send it to us.

WBwDLxcjD9l8PXWr3-megKSJqoMMO37SzL_Wt5bDtOsYour walk was lovely and we all enjoyed it very much.  There is so much history  to learn and our old brains are so full it is sometimes very difficult to stuff in anything else!  Being told the myths and legends and stories, standing on the same ground, gazing upon the physical ruins and remnants of a previous world, brings  it to life in a way that reading a book or pamphlet could never do.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable few hours and we will gladly recommend your services to anyone traveling your way.

Warmest regards,
Picture is of me as one of St. Kevin’s monks for a special walk to celebrate Heritage Week.
I don’t usually dress up ! ! Martin


Good Advice

Glendalough 2

“If you go, hire Martin Swords”

5 of 5 stars Reviewed 10 November 2012

We picked a house for a week rental near the town of Shillelagh. I specifically wanted to be in Wicklow, to be near Glendalough. I had been before and was amazed by its beauty and history. But this time, I hired a guide, something I rarely do. He is on TripAdvisor, Martin Swords. This man single-handedly made the experience a journey, not a visit. We were with him for hours, just the two of us.

He told the history, the nature of Pilgrimage, some off-colored jokes about Relics and other saintly items and legends. Martin was a retired teacher, but did not teach, he shared, he led you deeper into Glendalough than I ever would have imagined.

Even without him, this is still one of the most magical and special of places.

A Nice Review – Thank You Alman 1958 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Thank you Alman 1958 for a really nice review – glad you enjoyed your

Glendalough Guided Walk (

Come back to Glendalough, or send your friends – I’ll look after them




A Letter From Glendalough

A Letter From Glendalough 

August 2012

I’m walking along the Green Road in Glendalough, when I realize I’m thinking about eyelashes! Eyelashes on babies and infants – and women’s reactions to them. I remember bits of conversations where women I know have reacted to the baby infants of friends, commenting on their beautiful eyelashes.  “You’ve no business having such beautiful eyelashes” I remember being said in reaction to a beautiful infant.

What is it about eyelashes that produce this reaction in women? What is this deep rooted primal response?

As a mere man I don’t understand. Perhaps it’s similar to a baby bird fluttering its wings to trigger a feeding  response in a mother bird. 

Some people would say I should be praying as I walk in the tranquil mystical setting of Glendalough.

In a way, this is what I am doing in remembering this.

Martin Swords August 2012

A Poem for Glendalough








Glendalough Suite


Hill of the white oak grove, beloved of Nelson’s fleet.

Victory left the valley folk burning faggots.

Lugduff & Poulaneass

Black Hole Mountain Brook, father of the two lakes.

Powerful force, a torrent in streams clothing.

Speaks to us in splashes now of the ice that spawned it.


Treacherous Pointed rock. Master view of lakes and valley,

luring unwary travelers to a sloping edge too far


Ton Le Gaoithe, Back To the Wind. Always the wind,

from every direction. Stick your head up proud high

over Wicklow.  Many an Ice Age since you were warm.

manys the bitter blast a Phog Do Thon.


The Pass of the Oak Wood, nobly named in ages past before

the rape of ships and mineshafts


Once a village, proud, hardwon, hardmade.That was then.

Now even Broc himself finds life hard on this bare and

barren rock



magic mystic valley cradled in its mountain arms

Martin Swords



















A Wish at the Glenalo River Bridge – “I Wish the Rain Would Stop!”

Two adventurous American ladies, young in spirit, enjoyed their Glendalough  Guided Walk with guide Martin Swords. They stopped on the new wooden bridge over the Glenalo River, where the old bridge had been swept away by the floods of 2009/2010, and threw their coins in the river to make a wish. But it kept on raining, despite their wishes. Still, they had a great time, even in the rain !

” A walk in the dreech “

A companion on the walk

I had a lovely guided walk with a young couple from Poland, who knew quite a lot about Ireland before they arrived, much of it learned from their Lonely Planet guidebook.

The day was wettish, dampish, what we in Ireland call  ” a soft day”   or ” dreech ” – the rain never really fell heavy, it sort of hung there in wispy strips, not able to make its mind up whether to fall or blow away.

Anyway they loved the walk and learned a lot about St. Kevin, Seamus Heaney, and sphagnum moss ! ! I even asked them as  “homework” to investigate bogs and peatland on the net.

Bet the Lonely Planet doesn’t know about ” Dreech “.

Bye for now, more after the next Glendalough Guided Walk                                                                            Martin Swords