Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Kilmalkedar Church, Dingle Peninsula, Ireland

Kilmalkedar Church was a Catholic church on the Dingle Peninsula that is still used as a graveyard by the locals.

Kilmalkedar Church and graveyard

Front of the church

The site is associated with St. Brendan (who according to legend discovered the American continent in the 500s) but the founder was St. Maolcethair, who established a monastery 636. The church dates from the 1100s. It is a blend of the Roman and Irish styles, with rounded arches and fanciful decorations.


The sanctuary

Irish carving

Us peeking through!

The finials on the roof gables are also unusual, though how they were seen with a roof on is not clear to me. Little crosses are a nice touch.

Cruciform finial

The church is also important because the Christian Alphabet Stone sits next to the chancel arch. The stone has the ancient Irish script that is used elsewhere. Some of the tombs in the graveyard here (and elsewhere in Ireland) are marked with Ogham Stones which use the script to record information about the deceased. Without the Alphabet Stone, there would be no way to translate the other stones.

Christian Alphabet Stone

Ogham Stone outside the church

An ancient stone cross, probably from St. Maolcethiar's time, and a sundial still stand in the graveyard.

Ancient Cross


Back of sundial

The area has plenty of rolling hills and even other churches visible in the distance.

Another view of the graveyard and another church in the distance

Another church

The Pilgrims' Way, a walk through the peninsula, continues here up Mount Brandon but we didn't have the energy to make the trek.

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