GPS: N51.83906,W9.31890


In the tiny village of Gougane Barra, framed by lake mountain and forest, stands a small romanesque oratory chapel.  The little chapel was, erected by a Mr. Walsh, of Chicago, in memory of his locally born parents in 1901-2.  It is situated adjacent to the eighteenth century 'hermitage', itself near the site of St.Finbarr's cell on 'Holy Island'.  

Whether or not this is a natural island is a matter of conjecture, but it's shoreline has certainly been reinforced with boulders by a method similar to that seen at crannógs.  Indeed crannógs are often associated with ecclesiastical sites, so Holy Island may have originated in that way.Continued below gallery

The chapel is 11 metres long by four metres broad with a simple altar and altar rail.  The remainder of the space is filled with wooden seats. The interior is lit by eight stained glass windows, seven of which are illustrated below. Each portrays a saint, most of them local to County Cork.

Nowadays Gougane Barra Oratory is a very popular wedding venue, providing an unequaled backdrop for photographs.  The island is also a home to 'turas' or patterns, which we will probably cover in a later article.

2013-15 Uibh Laoire Parish