Sundials in Ireland - Ancient Monastic Dials

Kilmalkedar Co. Kerry

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The remote Early Christian site of Kilmalkedar on the Dingle Peninsula, associated with St Brendan, has at its centre the ruins of a 12th century Romanesque Church, an Alphabet stone, a holed Ogham stone, two Bullaun stones, a large stone cross, numerous cross slabs and a sundial.
Photo by kind permission of Brian T. McElherron


Reverse Side
Sundial photos by kind permission of
Dr. John Davis

Drawing of the sundial
by Geologist/Antiquarian/Artist
George Du Noyer in the 1860s
Located in the old cemetery near the ruins of the Church is a vertical stone goblet-shaped sundial. Dated to the 8th century, the dial is 1200mm high by 150mm thick with a 300mm wide rectangular shaft and a semi-circular head. The elegantly carved dial face is divided into four equal sections by four double and one triple set of grooves that radiate from a gnomon hole with each pair terminating in a semi-circle. Other time lines may have been painted on the dial face. The shadow casting gnomon is missing. The engraved temporal lines on these sundials were designed not to measure the passing hours but to mark the times when canonical prayers should be said. To emphasis the times of the principal prayers viz Dawn(Prime), Mid-morning(Terce), Mid-day(Sext), Mid-afternoon(None) and Evening(Vespers), the grooves on the ancient dials were sometimes terminated in enclosing semi-circles as on this dial. The reverse face of the head is decorated with intertwining semicircles. Both faces and sides of the shaft are engraved with vertical grooves terminating in rectangular spiral motifs.

From Dingle head west on the R 559 then turn right for Baile na Fheirtearaigh also on the R559. The church is on your right about 7k from Dingle.

National Monument No 65.

Lat 52° 11' North    Long 10° 20' West

IRISH GRID    Q   039290    106090

If you know the location of a sundial in Ireland (NOT a mass produced DIY Store garden ornament) please email it to me (Click here to email M.J.Harley) - a member of British Sundial Society
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