Glendalough Visitor Centre, County Wicklow

This low key, unobtrusive centre is a useful introduction to the whole Glendalough site, one of Ireland's most notable monastic locations, set in a new national park that will eventually extend to 30,000 ha (12,141 acres). The centre has an audio-visual presentation, Ireland of the Monasteries, an introduction not only to Glendalough but to the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and the spread of the Irish religious influence to Britain and mainland Europe. The centrepiece is a large model of the site as it probably looked about 1080. Outside, the well-preserved ruins include a cathedral, St Kevin's church and a round tower, 33 metres (100 ft) high and one of the best preserved in Ireland.

51 km (32 miles) SW of Dublin.
Turn off the Dublin-Wexford N11 at Kilmacanogue and take the R755.
Admission charge.
Tel. (0404) 45325.