Oratory of St Declan, Ardmore

St. Declans Oratory

Today we are heading back down to the monastic settlement in Ardmore, Co. Waterford, where I came across two Ogham Stones recently.  St. Declan founded a monastery at Ardmore or Aird Mhór in Gaelic, meaning “Great Height”. This was said to be prior to the arrival of St. Patrick in Ireland, although there is some dispute of the dates which is typical when it comes to much of Irelands pre medieval history. The dates commonly agreed for Declan’s life are between 350 and 450 A.D. Just around the back of the Cathedral there is a small little building known as St. Declan’s Oratory or ‘The Beannachan’ as it is also known. This is believed to have been built on the final resting place of the site of the early Christian Saint. Despite the torrential downpour, Ardmore was still a nice place to explore. Despite its slanted tiled roof, it reminded me so much of The Priest House at Glendalough. And I quickly made my way for the door in the hope of finding some shelter. Sadly this was not to be as the enterance was block by one of the Ruinhunters nemesis, ‘The Iron Gate’

St. Declan was born Declán mac Eircc, a prince of the Deisi Clan in Munster during the 5th century and is said to have been baptised by St. Colman. After some years studying under the guidance of a sage known as Dioma, Declan went to Rome where he was ordained a Bishop by the Pope. One little legend associated with Declan tells of a strange Bell which he used to summon a vessel to return him to Ireland. The legend states that the bell was placed in a rock and when Declan prayed the rock floated out to sea. Declan followed it and he eventually landed on the shores of Ardmore, where he established his monastery. With the flagstone which is said to have once marked Declan’s grave now gone, a hollow in the south-east corner is believed to be the site of his grave. The Oratory itself dates from around the 8th century and the upper walls show signs of repair work from a later date. There is no trace of the original roof, but it is said that the bishop of Waterford, Thomas Mills had i t re-roofed with slates in 1716.

Dont forget to start sending in submissions for the SPOOKTACULAR CHALLENGE on October 31st.

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About edmooneyphotography

Photographer, Blogger, Ruinhunter, with an unhealthy obsession for history, mythology and the arcane.
This entry was posted in Diary of a Ruinhunter, Photography, Religious Sites and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Oratory of St Declan, Ardmore

  1. GP Cox says:

    So much history packed into this country, and so many stories I have been unaware of. Thank you. [I apologize for not always having the time to comment]

  2. The Iron Gate as a Nemesis!
    Brilliant!
    That would make my Nemesis’ The Chocolate Bar and The Magners Cider!
    I love it!
    Mind you Ed, a floating bell is gilding the lily somewhat….😜

  3. Jnana Hodson says:

    This use of “oratory” to describe a building is fascinating. I had expected to have it describe as a studio or place of study, not as a burial site. It’s intriguing, all the same.

    • Yes, the Oratory was built over the burial site a few centuries later. Whilst today it is seen as a shrine so to speak. Pity I could not get inside to have a look around. Normally these places still cntain certain stone artifacts 🙂

  4. Your history tales reinforces my desire to see Ireland.

  5. beetleypete says:

    Another interesting insight into the history of your country, Ed. I have only ever been to Belfast and Limerick, so one of these days, I must explore more.
    (Shame about all that rain though- worse than Norfolk!)
    Best wishes, Pete.

  6. Me too! I also want to come see all this stuff. Great, great post!!

  7. Ali Isaac says:

    Ah… the dreaded Iron Gate, so beloved of the protectors of these places! Nice piece, Ed. 😊

  8. buddy… I would really encourage you to come to India sometime and do some photography here. Some great historical sites in India. Check out my blog on one of the places. http://www.tripoto.com/trip/the-all-mesmerizing-trip-to-hampi-626052

  9. Debunker says:

    I love Waterford. Beautiful picture, as always! 🙂

  10. Pingback: Ardmore Round Tower | Ed Mooney Photography

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