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When you come to see the Gallarus Oratory, you will see the best preserved early Christian church in Ireland. Built in the 7th or 8th century, Gallarus Oratory is found in natural farmland overlooking Smerwick Harbour on the Dingle Peninsula. It has been exposed to the winds and Atlantic weather for over 1200 years and this stone building to this day remains waterproof.
Its shape, often likened to an upturned boat is unusual, though not unique in early Irish churches. The oratory embodies the pinnacle of dry-stone corbelling, using techniques first developed by Neolithic tomb-makers. The distinctive shape is due to the stones being placed at a slight angle, lower on the outside than the inside to allow water to run off. The oratory remains waterproof to this day.
Measuring 15ft by 10ft, when you step inside the oratory you will experience a life gone by as you stare in awe at this stonework masterpiece.
The Gallarus Oratory Visitor Centre offers visitors the opportunity to explore the Oratory and also to enjoy an audio visual display of the archaeological sites of the peninsula and the history of the Gallarus itself.
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You can enjoy a meal in the Oratory café with a gift shop to buy a keepsake of your visit.
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