St Mungo Journey

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  • Glasgow Cathedral in the city centre of Glasgow.
    Glasgow Cathedral
  • Looking over to the ruins of Sweetheart Abbey in New Abbey
    The ruins of Sweetheart Abbey in New Abbey

The St Mungo Journey: Saint of Stories follows the life of Saint Mungo, also known at Saint Kentigern, a late sixth century apostle of the Brythonic Kingdom of Strathclyde and the patron saint and founder of the city of Glasgow. There are many tales surrounding the life of Saint Mungo, some rooted in historical fact and others legendary, and this route brings together many of the sites and places associated with them.  

The route begins in Culross where Mungo was raised at monastery by Saint Serf who, according to legend, provided shelter to his pregnant, unwed mother. It is also said that Mungo was the son of a royal prince of Strathclyde and a descendent of King Arthur. Visit Culross Abbey where Mungo spent his early childhood and performed some of his first life-saving miracles before experiencing a vision which commanded him to leave the abbey in the direction in of Falkirk. It is in this town where you can see remains of the Antonine Wall, the largest surviving relic of the Roman occupation of Scotland.

Your next stop is Glasgow which began life as a small community founded by Mungo in what he described as this ‘dear green place’. See inside the magnificent interior of Glasgow Cathedral and visit Glasgow Necropolis, a Victorian cemetery which was originally a citadel. It is here, according to another legend, that Mungo had a fierce confrontation with Merlin, defender of the old pagan beliefs.

Visit other medieval churches that line the route through the Clyde Valley, including the Church of St Kentigern in Lanark where William Wallace met his wife, before traveling further south to Hoddom in Dumfries & Galloway where Mungo preached by the River Annan.

After venturing further south into England, Mungo travelled through Cumbria to what is now the Lake District, preaching at settlements along the way before arriving in north Wales where he established a monastery at St Asaph. After spending a contented period here, Mungo began the journey back to Glasgow.

During the return journey, stop by Ruthwell to admire an incredible 18 ft high stone cross dating from the eighth century, and visit the red sandstone ruins of Sweetheart Abbey in Dumfries where the heart of John de Balliol is famously buried. The route then enters Nithsdale where Mungo went to flee the retribution of his adversary Morkan. Sheltered by a charitable shepherd, Mungo repaid his kindness by educating his son, who was to become Saint Conal. 

After a long period in exile, Mungo eventually made his way to Glasgow which had by now entered a period of peace and prosperity under the rule of the Christian Roderick. It was here, in the city that he founded, that Mungo would perform his best-known miracle, the recovery of a lost ring belonging to Roderick’s unfaithful queen, thereby saving her from disgrace and rescuing the royal marriage.

You can find information and maps of the full route below.

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