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June 23, 2011
From journal A Visit to Ireland
July 11, 2006
There is a visitor centre at the Oratory, and we were fortunate that there were no tour buses. This is a regular stop for buses, be forewarned. We viewed a short presentation at the centre that was instructive and well done. It runs continuously, so you can pop in and out. The visitor centre is not on the Duchas system and has a moderate charge. You must walk through the gift shop (the usual stuff) to get to the path to the Oratory and to the bathrooms. It is a little stretch of the legs to the actual site, and could be unpleasant in bad weather. Fortunately, the sun was slipping in and out of the clouds and the effect was quite striking. There are good views along the path to the hills and harbor and well framed between brightly flowered fuchsia bushes and stone walls. The actual site is a bit sterile and manicured. The Oratory is clean of any plants and sits in a graveled area. It is impressive for its structure and construction. You can go into the building and examine the interior construction as well as possible in the minimal light. It is quite small but in amazing condition. There are some other items of interest on the site, but overall it's a bit anti-climatic.
In 2005, we discovered that proceeding past the turnoff to the Oratory and continuing up the road a way is a turnout with a gate that leads to a back entrance to the Oratory. You bypass the visitor centre and entrance fee and go directly to the Oratory. This path is shorter and easier for older visitors. Overall, this site is worth visiting for the unique construction of the Oratory and the excellent presentation.
From journal Co. Kerry