Site: Gallerus Oratory

Name:Gallerus Oratory (Sáipéilín Ghallarais) [Also: Gallaras] CISP No:GLLRS
Place:Gallarus (Ghallarais) Grid Ref:Q 392 50 (IR)   Map
Parish:Corkaguiney Stones:1
County:Kerry (Ciarraí) , Ireland Saint(s):none
Site Type:ecclesiastical

Site Notes

Cuppage et al/1986, 286--289: `Gallarus Oratory/Sáipéilín Ghallarais is situated on the lower NW slopes of Lateevemore, overlooking the broad crescent of land that surrounds Smerwick Harbour. It stands at the SE side of a large stone-walled enclosure, directly SW of a leacht-type feature at the head of which stands an Early Christian cross-slab with an inscription in half-uncial script.

The enclosure measures c. 36m NE--SW x c. 44m NW--SE internally, but the W half of its outline is no longer traceable. It may have originally been oval or sub-circular in plan. The drystone enclosing wall stands to a maximum height of 1.3m and averages c. 1.3m in thickness but, though it preserves the line of the original wall, it may have undergone rebuilding and repair due to its maintenance as a field boundary and due to the use of its N section as a boundary between the townlands of Gallarus and Ballynana. An internal dividing wall isolates the SE sector, containing the oratory, leacht and cross-slab, from the remainder. This, too, was in use in the 19th century as a field boundary (2nd edition OS map). The area to E of it is raised slightly above the remainder of the interior and the wall stands to a maximum height of .95m on its E side and 1.2m on its W side. Access is now provided by a modern style at about its mid-point. At the same point, a low footing projects .26m out from the E side of the wall, for a distance of about 1.8m. The function of the short length of walling that extends W from the dividing wall is not clear'.

Okasha/Forsyth/2001, 150: `The ecclesiastical site is delineated by the partial remains of a large dry-stone-walled sub-circular enclosure which contains the well-known oratory, the only perfectly preserved example of a `boat-shaped' dry-stone oratory. .. Immediately to the east of the oratory is a leacht consisting of a low rectangular mound of stones ( 9 m long and 5 m wide) including a quantity of quartz. The inscribed pillar stands at its eastern end although this may be a secondary position. No other remains are known from the site and nothing is known of its early history'.