Temple Geal Oratory, Kerry, Ireland

Temple Geal Oratory (‘The Bright Church’) is an 8th century structure built overlooking the harbour at Dingle, Co. Kerry. The church is also known as St Mancháns after the 7th century saint who was traditionally believed to have been buried under an Ogham Stone that stands a couple of metres from the church. Unusually the Ogham Stone has both a Latin and Ogham inscription. These type of Oratories seem to be quite common in the West Kerry region, but sure Kerry really is an archeological treasure trove of sites, one only has to look to the west of Temple Geal to see the mighty Skelligs in the distance. The Oratory still stands, roofless, and with its walls rebuilt to about a height of 3 metres. Built into the wall over the linteled doorway is the finial (highest decorative feature) of the west gable.

I visited Temple Geal on a very wet and windy day but was still struck by the beauty of the surroundings. The Oratory is not well signposted and you end up having to park on a farmer’s land, however he was friendly enough to me and the site does allow for public access. If exploring the Dingle Peninsula I recommend visiting Temple Geal as it is one of the quieter, less visited heritage sites.

GPS: 52.15452, -10.33128

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