Reask Monastic Site, Kerry, Ireland

The monastic site at Reask, situated on the Dingle Peninsula, is a fine example of the layout of an early 5th or 6th century ecclesiastical settlement. Though no records exist to tell us who built the monastery excavations in the early 1970s have given us some idea of what life may have been like at Reask. Th site comprises of a low surrounding wall about 2 metres in width and a metre high. Inside the wall stand the remains of several round huts (clocháns), some cojoined, an oratory, graveyard and about 10 decorated stone slabs. The tallest of the slabs dates from the 7th century and is decorated by a beautiful encircled Greek cross. Around and under the oratory there are 42 earlier burials laid out in two rows. It is hard to say when the site fell out of use but we do know that it was used at a later date as a Cillín or Ceallúnach. A Cillín was where unbaptised children were buried as they could not be buried in consecrated ground. I always find Cillíns particularly emotional places and I am grateful I didn’t fully know this on the day of my visit as Reask already presented itself as quite a haunting and peaceful place. It is truly tragic how many Cillíns dot the Irish Countryside. It should be noted that some of the cross slabs have now been moved to the museum in nearby Ballyferriter. Apologies for some of the raindrops that got on my lens in a couple of shots but it was pretty torrential in the way only the West of Ireland can be!

GPS: 52.16748, -10.38734

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