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Gallarus Oratory

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A CHAPEL STEEPED IN HISTORY AND MYTHS

One of the fascinating stops nestled within the Dingle Peninsula, and just off the Slea Head Drive, is the Gallarus Oratory.

The ancient stone building looks like a boat laid upside down onto the ground. The walls, made of stones (and no mortar at all!), are over 1 metre (3 feet) thick.

Archaeologists say the chapel dates back to the 8th or 9th century. Despite its location on the west coast of Ireland, and its advanced age, the chapel remains dry thanks to its formidable architecture.

The local legend goes that anyone who leaves the oratory through the window will be cleansed of their sins. As the window is only 12 centimetres (5 inches) wide, this feat is extremely unlikely for most people!

You can visit the chapel for free, but the nearby visitor centre has a small entrance fee if you want to learn more about this historical site.

About 1 kilometre away, you can also visit the ruins of the 16th-century Gallarus Castle.

Nearby, you can find the Kilmalkedar Church, one of the most important sacred sites of the Dingle peninsula.

The monastery was founded on this spot in the 7th century, but all that survives now is the 12th-century Romanesque church. Make sure to admire the ancient stones and crosses inside and around the building.

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