one heap o' tidy stones...

The structure above is considered to be well over 1,000 years old. It squats on a rise of green pasture just a bit inland from the raw northern Atlantic Ocean, on a spit of land that juts from the southeast coast of Ireland.

It is far from the world now; it was another world entirely 1,000 years ago.

The ancient Celt monks who built this temple were serious about their meditation. One imagines them, squatting and huddled inside their stone refuge, contemplating the divine in a collective of solitude and isolation. The thick rock walls insulate all sound and most light, protect from the weather, and deflect all uninvited sensory intrusions.

Not much is known about these people now. Their legacy was in stonework, not paper.

The architecture is pure inspired genius; the masonry is brilliant. The structure is stone and only stone, hewed chip by chip by hand from local materials. No mortar, every stone is perfectly cut for its unique purpose, and each is slightly canted in its position to shed the frequent and forceful Irish rain. The ground inside the structure remains absolutely dry to this day.

There is a door on one end, toward the sea. There is a small window on the other end, toward the hill.

Gallarus Oratory, Dingle Peninsula, Republic of Ireland.

September 2007.

Rolleiflex X, Tessar, Fomapan 400.