Hiberno-Romanesque Oratory

To the northeast of Innisfallen Abbey is this small 12th century single celled Hiberno-Romanesque oratory. Situated by the lake shore the now roofless 7.2 metre long church was constructed on three plinths. Located in the centre of the east gable is a 2 metre high romanesque window built from red and yellow sandstone. Some of the quoin stones are also yellow sandstone. Standing in the centre of the oratory is an early stone ringed cross, see image below, that was recovered from the lough.

The most striking feature of the oratory is the elaborately decorated two ordered romanesque doorway. The jambs are red sandstone and the carved arches and hood moulding are yellow. The voussoirs of the inner order are decorated with chevrons. The unusual outer voussoirs, unique in Ireland, are ridged on both faces. These are also decorated with chevrons. The four red voussoirs on the northern side are replacements. The hooded moulding is wonderful even if the red northern arc is a replacement. The other four arch-stones are yellow sandstone decorated with grotesque heads. The best preserved is the central arch featuring the heads. These are similar to the carvings used on the Nuns Church at Clonmacnoise.

Ringed cross

East window

Situated: On Lough Leane, Killarney. There are boat trips out to the Island from Ross Castle. There is an information board with a phone number to ring at the pier. 10 euro per person.

Discovery Map 78: V 9345 8945. Last visit May 2013.

Longitude: 9° 33' 12" W

Latitude: 52° 2' 49" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

Grotesque heads

Previous-----Home-----Next Page