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St. Kevin's Bed (Glendalough)

Cave / Rock Shelter


St. Kevin allegedly died on June the 3rd. His feast day used to be a good excuse for feasting and partying at Glendalough (the place where he founded a monastic settlement). Apparently it all got more and more out of hand - and the festival was banned in the 1890s, according to Kevin Patton's jocular website here
- which calls for St. Kevin's day to be celebrated once again.

Johann Kohl's 1844 'Travels in Ireland' reports that:
The chief wonder in these cliffs is St. Kevin's bed, a little hollow, which is seen some forty feet above the water, and is approached by narrow steps cut in the rock. It appears to have been hollowed out by the hand of man, and is so small that one person only can conveniently stretch himself out in it. It is also said by the people to possess the same virtues in regard to the fruitfulness of women which are ascribed to the cross I have already mentioned... [Their guide, an old woman, proclaimed] that it was her privilege to show a stranger the position of a woman in Kevin's bed. She accordingly crouched herself in it like a bird in its nest, or the image of a saint in its niche, and as seen from the lake, presented a very comical appearance.
But why, you may ask, would a saint be associated with women's fertility? That's because Kevin was popular with the girls, until he decided he was going to be a Saint. But his poor girlfriend Kathleen still loved him. And when he went off to find somewhere quiet so he could try to forget her - his Cave - she insisted on following him. When he woke up one morning, there she was looking at him - he leapt up and shoved her backwards. Unfortunately she fell down the rocks and into the lake, where she drowned. He felt a bit sorry then and prayed for her soul, and that no-one should ever drown in the lake again. Which they haven't of course.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
24th May 2009ce

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