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St. Mochta's House Oratory
 

County

Louth

Coordinates

N 53° 57' 12.3"   W 006° 32' 43.4"

Nearest town

Louth

Grid Ref.

H 95544 01425

Map No.

36

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

39

Date of visit

Friday 30 May 2014

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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St. Mochta's House seen from St. Mary's Abbey.
Some cows and bullocks were guarding the place, but a friendly approach with them granted me a clear way to the oratory.


This small church or oratory is about 60 metres west from St. Mary's Abbey, in Louth village.
This is possibly the last witness of the early monastery founded by St. Mochta's, who was a disciple of St. Patrick and it is said that the two met several times in this village. It is thought that this oratory was built around the 9th century, though the legend has it that it was built in one night while St. Mochta was sleeping. St. Mochta died in 543, so it's clearly impossible that legend and reality meet.
It has a structure similar to the one of St. Colmcille's House in Kells. There's a ground level room used as an oratory, and a upper level where monks slept. The barrel vaulted ceiling had the purpose to prevent the roof from collapsing inside the oratory. Unlike the St. Colmcille's House in Kells, the access to the upper floor is through a mural stairway in the north wall rather than through an opening in the roof, the doorway is in the west (290°) gable and there's a narrow round-headed window in the east (110°) wall.
A stone wall was built in 1906 by the Louth County Council to protect the building.


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