The Riasc Monastic Settlement or Reask Monastic Site (Mainistir Riaisc) on the Dingle Peninsula is home to the impressive ruins of a 6th-century monastery and important carved stone. The site is off the beaten track with a sign that's easy to miss, but perseverence is rewarded with an interesting and atmospheric site you can wander in peace.
History of Riasc Monastic Settlement
The history of the Reask Monastic Site is not well known, but it has been fairly securely dated to the 5th or 6th century (leaning towards the latter).
Excavations have revealed the foundations of an oratory that was first built with wood and later with stone, monastic huts, a kiln for drying corn, and a cemetery. Shards of Roman amphorae (jugs), which were used in the 6th century to transport wine, were also found.
What to See at Riasc Monastic Settlement
The Riasc site is highly atmospheric in its stillness and proximity to the sea. It consists of a stone-walled, grassy area alongside a narrow lane, not far from the turnoff to the Gallarus Oratory. There is a small area for parking along the lane.
The enclosing stone wall is round, as are the foundations of six clochans, or monastic huts. When whole, these looked like the beehive huts that can be seen elsewhere on the Dingle Peninsula and on Skellig Michael. Four of these clochans are adjoined in pairs. There is also a single square clochan.
On the eastern side of the site is the monks' main place of worship, a square oratory (small church). Like the huts, this was made of dry-stone walls and a corbelled roof. In front is a small sunken area that may have been a shrine for relics.
Around and under the oratory is an earlier cemetery of 42 graves laid out in two rows. After the site was abandoned, the area around the oratory was used as a children's burial ground.
The Mainistir Riaisc is home to at least 10 cross-inscribed slabs, the most impressive of which is the Reask Stone, which is decorated with spiral designs and carved with the initials DNE, short for the Latin Domine ("Lord").
Quick Facts on Riasc Monastic Settlement
|Riasc Monastic Settlement
|Visitor and Contact Information
|52.167447° N, 10.387831° W
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- Personal visit (August 30, 2007)
- Informational sign at the site provided by Duchas
- Lonely Planet Ireland, 7th ed. (January 2006), 287.
- Photos of Riasc Monastic Settlement - here on Sacred Destinations
Map of Riasc Monastic Settlement, Ireland
Below is a location map and aerial view of Riasc Monastic Settlement. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.