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Kilmalkedar Monastic Settlement
 

County

Kerry

Coordinates

N 52° 11' 05.1"   W 010° 06' 11.0"

Nearest town

Dingle

Grid Ref.

Q 40258 06179

Map No.

70

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

77

Date of visit

Wednesday 26 June 2013

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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Two ancient crosses, the ogham stone and the church seen from the west-northwest.


This was one of the places we visited during our first travel to Ireland on June 29th, 1994, precisely 19 years ago, and never went back to visit it again. It's of an outstanding beauty both for the the things to be seen here and for the surrounding scenery.
The early monastery was founded by St. Maolcethair at the beginning of the 7th century.
The church now visible at the site was built in the middle of the 12th century and is a fine example of Hiberno-Romanesque architecture, with Irish features like the antae visible at both gables, and Romanesque features like the chevrons and diamond shaped decorations and the beautiful three-order rounded doorway in the west gable. There's a carved head as a keystone in the outer order of the doorway. The building also has inwards sloping side walls typical of the Irish churches prior to the Romanesque influence. The chancel still has part of the roof intact in the south side. In the nave there's a 6th century stone pillar with a Latin short inscription and an elegant incised cross on the south face.
The nave and the chancel are divided by an archway in a curtain wall. At the top of each gable there's a stone cross.
The inner walls of the nave have blind rectangular arcades.
In the graveyard, to the west of the church, there are a tall cross and a slender ogham stone, and at the far end of the graveyard to the west is an early sundial.
Also in the graveyard there are other very old crosses and grave slabs, along with a bullaun stone and a Tau Cross which is about 10 metres north from the church.
Across the road from the graveyard is an old building once marked as St. Brendan's House. It's a solid construction and it was used as a residence for the clergy in late medieval times. When we first came here it was accessible and its descritpion was written on a plaque on the wall along with the classic Fógra sign. This time there was a padlocked gate to block the access, the building had been whitewashed and the signs were gone.


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