For over 900 hundred years, from around 600 AD to
the suppression of the monasteries in 1540,
Glendalough was a major centre of learning and
one of the four main places of pilgrimage in
Ireland. Then all Church property and the Church
lands in Glendalough were confiscated.
For the next 310 years Catholics did not even
have a place to celebrate Mass anywhere near
Glendalough - though they often did so at risk to
their own lives, including sometimes even in the
ruins of the ancient buildings.
In 1847 they were given a site for a new Church,
but it is over 2 km down the road from the
Monastic City which itself is almost 2 km down
from St. Kevin's Cell. Worse still the site was a
short distance off the road from Laragh to
Glendalough, and so the Church is not even
visible from the road.
Today more people than ever are travelling to
Glendalough. It is crammed with visitors daily
all year around, but the vast majority are going
there as tourists. The ancient buildings are
owned by the Office of Public Works so one isn't
free to hold ceremonies in them without special
I have been going to Glendalough as a pilgrim for
over thirty years. Indeed I've visited it more
often than I've visited any other place on earth
for any reason whatever.
I have often sat in St. Kevin's Cell and
elsewhere in Glendalough, and grieved for the
fact that to this day, there is no place in the
upper valley, either near St. Kevin's Cell and
Reefert Church at the Upper Lake or near the
ancient Monastic City at the Lower Lake, for a
person to go in to pray:- no adoration chapel, no
prayer centre, and no place to promote the
Christian message to the countless thousands of
people who visit Glendalough each year.
I have grieved for how the Church has missed
opportunity after opportunity to obtain for
itself the ground for such a centre. Instead
everything that has come up for sale has been
bought either by the Office of Public Works or by
business people. I have prayed again and again
that a place would be bought for the Lord, but
always felt that that was someone else's calling.
In the January 2010 issue of the Diary I wrote of how
I intended to spend several days in prayer in
Glendalough over Christmas arising from the
Murphy report into abuse in the Dublin Diocese.
The first thing I saw on arriving was the
"For Sale" sign on what was originally
the Caretaker's Cottage 100 yards from the
entrance to the ancient Monastic City.
I immediately felt that it had to be bought for
I began to enquire locally to see if anyone was
interested in doing so, being willing to offer
them every spare cent I had to assist with the
Alas I was discover that, while a previous parish
priest of Glendalough had desired to obtain this
very cottage, and while, in the past, a committee
had existed devoted to seeking to obtain land for
a Christian centre in the upper valley, today
there was no one in a position to step forward.
It is my experience that when the Lord puts it
into your heart to pray that someone will step
forward to do something, the person He often
calls and anoints to do it is yourself.
I found myself in the position of absolutely
believing that this little cottage should be
bought for the Lord, but found that there was
nobody interested and able to do so at this time.
So I decided to see if I could buy the little
cottage, not for myself but for the Lord. But
when I contacted the auctioneers, I got a shock.
The asking price was 400,000 euro, and there was
already a bid of 300,000 euro on it! And there isn't
even a plot of land with the cottage! If it was
located anywhere else it would struggle to bring
I prayed about it all over Christmas. The price
was frightening, but I still felt that it had to
be bought for the Lord. Another opportunity to
buy something suitable for the Lord in the upper
valley might not present itself ever again.
After days of intense prayer, I decided to make a
bid of 350,000 euro in the hope that that would prove
sufficient. But the other person then went to
I was now entering 'walking on water' territory,
but I went to the 400,000 euro. By this stage I was
really grieving, fearing that it would go utterly
In deep prayer, I cried, "Lord, it will
break my heart if this cannot be bought for
You." Like a shot the inner voice strongly
replied, "It will break My heart too."
Thankfully the following day the auctioneer
phoned back to say that the other person had
withdrawn and that my bid of 400,000 euro was
400,000 euro is an awful lot of money, but my hope is
that this will be a little centre for the Lord
until the end of time. In 400 years time, please
God it will be seen to have been money well
My sole income in recent years is from the sale
of the Curate's Diary, the booklets and CDs, and
the offerings for my speaking engagements.
Thankfully in recent years I have been doing well
thanks to your loyalty and generous support.
My own life is dedicated to living as simply as
possible. I have been asking the Lord for a
number of years how I was to use my surplus
funds. I did give large sums to Aid to Church in
Need, but I felt I was to retain the rest for
when the Lord would show me what to use it for.
Indeed every time I turned to the Lord and asked
Him what to do with my surplus, I found myself
reminded of the period before I purchased the
House of Mission; how I then had a surplus also,
just enough to put me in a reasonable position to
buy the House of Mission without money becoming a
worry for me.
So I waited, though regularly entrusting my
surplus to the Lord for Him to use for His
kingdom. I didn't realise however that not merely
would He find use for it, but that I would find
myself going cap in hand to the bank looking for
a whole lot more. There is a level of stepping
out in faith involved.
But it is thanks to your loyalty and generosity
to me that I am in a realistic position to take
this step in faith.
It is a remarkable thing that arising 100% from
the profits coming from the sale of my books,
booklets and CDs, and the Curate's Diary, (all at
rock bottom prices,) together with the offerings
received at my speaking engagements, we have been
able to do what several others have tried and
failed to do over the years; that after 470 years
there can be a little centre for the Lord in the
Upper Valley of Glendalough.
I use the word "we" deliberately,
because all I've done is taken your generosity to
me and used it for the Lord - and also shown it
to my bank manager when seeking the very
Every person who has promoted or even bought the
Diary or my books and CDs, or invited me for an
event in their parish, has played a role in this.
Meanwhile I am not keeping the cottage in my own
name, but am handing it over to a Charitable
Trust for the Lord. To this end "God's
Cottage Trust" is being set up.
Since the above article was written, not thanks to the great generosity of many people, not merely has God's Cottage been paid for, but we spend a further 130,000 euro converting it into a Prayer Centre with a repository and Christian Bookshop attached. It was opened on St. Patrick's Day 2011.
Since then we have taken further major steps in faith, including the purchase of the field and sawmill yard behind God's Cottage.
And now, Christmas 2018, we are preparing to make another major step, with the building of an ecumenical prayer centre and a patron's coffee/tea dock.
Your support would be deeply appreciated
Yours, in Christ,
Thaddeus Doyle (Rev)
Click Here for Price