Thursday, November 7, 2013

Gallarus Oratory, Dingle Peninsula, Ireland

The Gallarus Oratory is an ancient stone church, over 1300 years old. It is made purely from stones piled upon each other. The process is known as "dry rubble masonry." The stones were placed in such a way that any rainwater would drain to the outside, leaving the interior dry.

Gallarus Oratory

We approached from the visitor center and were impressed by its simplicity and its tenacity, enduring the Atlantic-powered wind and rain for over a thousand years.

Approaching from the visitor centre

Front view

The inside is quite roomy, about eight meters long and five meters wide. The walls meet at five meters high, giving a nice symmetry.


The small window faces east, allowing the morning sun to shine into the church. Traditionally, churches were built along an east-west line so that they would face Jerusalem.

The only window

The door naturally faces west and has two protruding stones with holes. These are presumed to have been the hinges for wooden doors.

A place for doors

Outside is a small graveyard with a marker, possibly for the founder of the church. No one has been able to read the stone.


Ancient marker

The views from the area are quite magnificent, especially on a partially sunny day like we had. The hills are dappled with sunlight.

Dingle countryside

Clouds with their shadows!

The name Gallarus probably refers to a local town or perhaps some geographical feature. Viking and Norman raiders successively burned down the settlements around Gallarus Oratory, leaving it alone in the Dingle countryside. It is a great place to visit and fills people who come with wonder.

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