Gallarus Oratory, in Ballydavid County Kerry, was built between the seventh and eighth century and is the best preserved early Christian church in Ireland.
The iconic Gallarus oratory is located in the heart of the Kerry Gaeltacht, on the very western tip of the Dingle peninsula. With its distinctive appearance, often referred to as resembling an upturned boat, the church is now a well-known tourist attraction. Constructed entirely out of locally sourced stone, the church is corbel vaulted. This entailed gradually overlapping the stones, so that each course projected slightly inwards until the arch was closed at the apex of the roof.
As the oratory is the only intact specimen of its type, it has attracted considerable attention, starting from antiquarians in the middle of the 18th century.
According to local legend, if a person climbs out of the oratory via the window, their soul will be cleansed. This is, however, physically impossible, because the window is approximately 18cm in length and 12cm in width.
Gallarus Oratory Visitor Centre is located alongside Gallarus Oratory.