Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Road to Kilmalkadar Church, Dingle Peninsula

What a difference a day makes!

The sky was heavy with clouds, intermittent rain, and gusty winds.  SO different from just the day before when I found myself a bit sun-kissed after climbing to view the Cliffs of Moher!

Here I have caught many of our travelers taking photos of unbelieveable scenery as we wound our way down the Dingle Peninsula.

I’ve always heard that Ireland is a patchwork of green….and this sight was there to prove it!

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A crazy patchwork of green…dotted by a few black and white cows!

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It’s the constant rain and humidity that make the green as green as it is.

This is IRELAND!

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We had disrupted the cattle – they were resting out of the wind along the berm, and when we pulled up and off loaded for our photo op..they ran away!  I don't blame them one bit, do you?

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Further up along the coast, the mist hung in the air…dampening the earth but not our spirits!

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Yes, it’s a bad wet hair day!

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This way to Kilmalkedar Church!

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I did a bit of digging on this church and this is what I’ve found:

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Kilmalkedar monastery, founded in the seventh century, is located on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry and is spread out over ten acres.  The site contains a church, ogham stone, oratory, sundial, several cross-inscribed slabs, and two houses.  It includes structures built in the Early Christian era through ones built in the fifteenth century.  Although primarily a Christian site, it includes some pagan elements. 

Supposedly, it was founded by Saint Maolcethair, son of the King of Ulster, who died at this site in 636.  He chose it because of its proximity to Mount Brandon, a pre-Christian religious symbol, and the pilgrim’s track which leads to Mount Brandon passes through Kilmalkedar. 

Saint Brendan was adopted as the patron saint sometime in the centuries following the founding of Kilmalkedar. Although it is not known when the church fell into disrepair, in 1756, half the tithes from the parish of Kilmalkedar still formed part of the money given to the chancellorship of Ardfert.
The churchyard holds objects from the Early Christian phase, some with pre-Christian meanings still attached. 

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Ogham Stone
An ogham stone, 1.83m by .24m, has a hole near the top and sits outside of the church.  Inscribed on it is “ANM M(AI)LE INBIR BROCANN” .
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Sun Dial Stone

A sundial also rests in the churchyard. Some interpret the marks as on the sundial as showing the three-hour intervals of canonical hours kept by the monks but others say that it told the times for pilgrims. It has been moved at least once and stands 1.23m high.

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Alphabet Stone
Other holed stones can be found inside the church.  In pre-Christian times, these holed stones were associated with regeneration and healing. 

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Inside the roofless structure looking up!

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To a side chamber

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East Window

The east window of the church has a similar meaning.  Known as Cró na Snáthaide, or the “Eye of the Needle,” on Easter Sunday people pass through it nine times with the belief that doing so will send them to heaven.  
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A simple slab cross, cross-inscribed stones, and grave-makers rest in the graveyard, and two holy wells are in the surrounding fields.
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Saint Brendan’s House, which may have been a clerical residence in medieval times, was built in the 15th century.  It is three stories and the supports of the wooden floor are still visible.
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The ancient Celtic crosses are so beautiful!

The wind and the sea air have eroded away many inscriptions over the centuries.

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It makes me wonder about the lives, the loves, the hopes and dreams of the person whose life is marked here.

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Over looking the water ---this place is timeless.

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Patrick O Sullivan’s simple cross, 1934.

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Some are tall, some are short

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Some were just marked by a simple rock placed at the resting spot of a loved one.

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And across the road….the land gives way to fields of yellow flags, irises that thrive on boggy ground, overlooking the bay.

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Mystical? Absolutely!

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  1. I so wish I was there! It is a dream of mine! Maybe next year!

  2. Amazing photos! Thank you Bonnie. Now I'm excited about going to Ireland in September.

  3. Love old churches and cemetery's!!

  4. Bonnie thank so much for sharing these photos with us. They are beautiful. I went to England a few years ago with a friend and it was much like Ireland. The green was overwhelming, so beautiful. I would go back in a minute.

  5. Bonnie, I feel I have traveled with you. Thank you so much for sharing your pictures and impressions.

  6. You are wet-hair-beautiful!!!! Awesome photos.

  7. Thank you for sharing your trip with us. I am enjoying it so much!

  8. That patchwork of green and field of wild daffodils is breath-taking, even in the rain. Love all the photos and feel like I'm there with you in Ireland.

  9. Absolutely beautiful, Bonnie! Wish I was there with you. you will just have to enjoy it enough for the both of us!

  10. Ireland is so beautiful, it has long been on my bucket list of places to visit.
    Thanks for sharing your photos and some history of the areas you visit.

  11. Thanks for taking us along for the fabulous trip!!!

  12. Oh so gorgeous!! What a beautiful country. Thanks for sharing your trip!

  13. Have fun Bonnie, enjoy every minute. You look so happy!

  14. Bonnie,
    Thanks for sharing all you photo's. I have never been to Ireland but I sure know it now from your wonderful photo's. Enjoying each day's little report! Keep them coming!

  15. How sweet of you to post these wonderful photos for us to see Ireland! Thanks Bonnie. Hope you are having a blast. It is just beautiful to see the land, and the church photos.


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