Gallarus Oratory
The Gallarus Oratory (Irish: Séipéilí­n Ghallarais, literally " The Church of the Place of the Foreigners") is believed to be an early Christian church located on the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland. Though the building is believed to have been built between the 6th century and 9th century, some believe it could have been built as late as the 12th century because the east window has a rounded top made of two carved stones (not a true arch). According to local legend, if a person climbs out of the oratory via the window, their soul will be cleansed. As early as the 6th century, monastic settlements were being built in remote areas of Ireland. This small oratory, built without mortar, uses corbel vaulting, a technique developed by Neolithic tomb-makers. It is dimly lit, with only a tiny window opposite the entrance door. Shaped like an upturned boat, this miniature church overlooks the harbour at Ard na Caithne (formerly also called Smerwick) on the Dingle Peninsula. It is a corbelled-roofed building, built with the stones being laid at a slight angle, lower on the outside than on the inside, thus allowing rainwater to run off. This design has kept the interior relatively dry despite the lack of mortaring, allowing the building to remain in excellent condition. "In Gallarus Oratory" (1969) is a poem written by Seamus Heaney.


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