'Gallarus Oratory' : Oratory

Grid RefQ 393 049
Longitude10° 20' 57.63" W
Latitude52° 10' 21.4" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownBallyferriter (3.9 Km)
OS Sheet70
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192

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Gallarus - Grave or Cross Slab
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Visit Notes

Saturday, 10th August 2002

This is a pretty special little building that has been de-sensitised and made sterile for the sake of tourism. The (rumoured) 6th or 7th century building is unique in its completeness, although some say it may be as late as 12th century. It is of stone construction and rectangular in plan, the side walls one and a half times as long as the front and rear walls. There are just two opening in the structure, the door and the small window in the opposite wall. The door is lintelled and slopes gently in, the round headed window in the east wall splays greatly on the inside.

To look at from the front (or rear) it is of almost triangular form, the side walls curving gently in to reach a peak, 6m up. Although it uses a corbelling technique some motar was used in its construction, as there is no counterweight on the outside to help balance the stone.

The surrounding area is now gravelled and extremely well manicured. This removes quite a lot of potential ambience from the site. There is a little visitors centre nearby, but you do not have to pay to see the oratory as it stands on a pilgramage route that is a public right of way.

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It is said that if you can climb out of the oratory via the little window then your soul is cleansed. This is probably akin to the early rebirth folklore often attached to holed stones and tombs.

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About Coordinates Displayed

This is an explanation of (and a bit of a disclaimer for) the coordinates I provide.

Where a GPS figure is given this is the master for all other coordinates. According to my Garmin these are quite accurate.

Where there is no GPS figure the 6 figure grid reference is master for the others. This may not be very accurate as it could have come from the OS maps and could have been read by eye. Consequently, all other cordinates are going to have inaccuracies.

The calculation of Longitude and Latitude uses an algorithm that is not 100% accurate. The long/lat figures are used as a basis for calculating the UTM & ITM coordinates. Consequently, UTM & ITM coordinates are slightly out.

UTM is a global coordinate system - Universal Transverse Mercator - that is at the core of the GPS system.

ITM is the new coordinate system - Irish Transverse Mercator - that is more accurate and more GPS friendly than the Irish Grid Reference system. This will be used on the next generation of Irish OS maps.

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