Five brand new hermitages, designed to help people enjoy solitude and spiritual renewal were officially opened in the grounds of St Kevin's parish church in Glendalough, County Wicklow.

Glendalough has been a spiritual site since ancient times, long before St Kevin founded his monastery in the 6th century. The modern hermitages were built with financial help from the National Millennium Committee and will be available to anyone, regardless of faith, who wants to spend some time in quiet contemplation.

The hermitages were officially opened by the Chair of the Millennium Committee, Cardinal Desmond Connell who believes the project is a sign of the importance of prayer. Minister of State Seamus Brennan adds

The millennium was about Christianity at the end of the day, and about celebrating that Christianity.

The hermitages are not holiday homes and mobile phones, televisions and radios are banned. Parish Priest for Glendalough, Father Sean O'Toole believes

Most people who come here will have the right intentions; they really want to come on retreat.

An RTÉ News report by Bethan Kilfoil broadcast on 3 June 2001.