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for most tourists the reason to come to Dingle
Gallarus Oratory is without doubt the main attraction in Dingl Island ! It is a tiny church dating back to the 6th century and it was built like a boat standing upside down. There is no seperate roof, but the walls are meeting on top and all of the stones were perfectely set togeather without any kind of a cement. There is just an open door at one side and a tiny round window at the other side of the building.
Get inside of the tiny church, and you will see that wind and rain have NO chance at all to get inside these perfect walls - it might even be a good idea to find shelter there in case of a sudden rainfall, like they happen quite often in Ireland. The monks also left a small cemetary and on my last picture you may see the most beautiful tomb of it.
You may park your car only on a small car-park next to the oratory, and you have to pay a small fee for the parking.
The entry to Gallarus Oratory and the tiny cemetery around of it is free of charge and also possible any time of the day. So you don't have to stick to opening-times, you may even be lucky and park for free, when you come very early or very late !
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Oldest Unrestored Church in the World
Just east of Ballyferriter, about 5 km out of Dingle, is the Gallarus Oratory, the oldest (1,400 years old) un-restored church in the world. It is the only Oratory that has remained in perfect condition and needs no restoration. It resembles a boat turned upside down. Each rock is laid at an angle with the outside edge lower than the inside edge, so it stays dry even in Ireland's rainy climate. There is one small window high up on the wall opposite the entry way. It is amazing that this is all dry rock contruction - no moss or anything else used to chink the rock. A true work of devotion.
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
Avoid the Visitors Center at the Gallarus Oratory
Visiting the Gallarus Oratory is a worthwhile sight and it is actually free. But a local landowner has set up a tourist business near the site. He has created signage that direct oratory visitors into his parking lot. He charges 5 Euros to walk across his field to visit the oratory. Instead, ignore the no left turn sign and turn up the overgrown road far to the right. This road actually takes you nearer to the oratory and it is free. This business owner has no scruples about pretending to be a government site. Skip the center.
- Historical Travel
Swim with Fungi the Dingle Dolphin
Its a rear experience to be able to swim with a dolphin. Here in Dingle Bay you have the opportunity to hire wet suits, gloves, boots, fins, a snorkel, & goggles and avail of a two hour long boat trip out to see Fungi in he's natural environment. Once you arrive at the mouth of the harbour you can jump in and spent time swimming around while you watch dive in and around you. Many visitors have come back time and time again to experience the joy and pleasure they get from such an experience.
- Water Sports
This place is amazing when you consider the building is from the 8th century. During our stop here, it was absolutely pouring rain, and there was very little water getting through the stones. We were just about the only people here, so it was easy to wander about the area. This is a stop well worth making on your drive, as it is interesting to see, and will not take very long to see what you need to see.
This converted ship-shaped stone building is one of the earliest examples of a Christian church in Ireland.
Although it is hard to tell when exactly it was built, they estimate it to date from the 9th-12th century AD. No mortar was used when building this oratory.
The early pilgrims used it for their religious services. The building has no door, only an opening (mind your head!), and there is one window hole (no glass of course) opposite the entrance. So you can imagine that this dark and drafty place can get freezingly cold, especially in winter.
The pilgrims however didn't mind - in fact, enduring these circumstances was seen as a form of penance, a test of their faith.
- Historical Travel
This is one of the best preserved early Christian church buildings in Ireland!
The Unique feature of GALLARUS is that it was built throughout or UNMORTARED stone, yet is completely watertight after so many centuries...
A little hard to find, but when you do find the parking lot and gift shop, the gallus oratory is through the back door of the gift shop, no signs or anything pointing you that way..its about 200 yards up a slight hill. After you buy your ticket they usually direct you to a movie theatre (a Trailer) to see a 20 minute movie (it is a little boaring).
Oldest Church in Ireland?
Pretty cool church considering it's age and the precision with which it was built. No mortar, cement, etc- just stones stacked so precisely and perfectly that it is completely bone dry inside. However, that is not surprising as all over Ireland you will see stone stacked in every which way but always with precision. I read somewhere that in order to farm the land, they had to move the rocks and stones out of the way. The ever resourceful irish killed two birds with one stone (no pun intended) and created walls/fences that kept their fields and life stock penned. Hope that makes sense.
The gift shop at the parking lot for the Gallorus Oratory actually has pretty cool souvenirs at pretty good prices. The items in there are pretty unique. I got my son and daughter-in-law their pagen birth stones which they loved.
The man in the gift shop was very kind. I had no idea that apparently the parking lot and admission fees that he charges are bogus and that you could drive up to the building itself. However, it's not that much and I would have paid that just to use his bathroom! The film is interesting but I think I fell asleep watching it anyway :) You can only say so much about it!
- Religious Travel
- Family Travel
This non-motared stone building has stood in the face of winter gales for centuries - without leaking!
An Christian chapel built in the 600-700's, its still perfectly intact. It's totally bare inside
History of the Oratory
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