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Cill Maoilchéadair
Cill Mhaoilchéadair (Kilmalkedar) Church - - 275349.jpg
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Monastery information
Other names Cell-maeilchetair
Established early 7th century AD
Disestablished 12th century
Diocese Ardfert and Aghadoe
Founder(s) Saint Maolcethair
Status Inactive
Style Celtic Christianity, Romanesque
Location Kilmalkedar, Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry
Coordinates 52°11′05″N 10°20′10″W / 52.184775°N 10.33623°W / 52.184775; -10.33623
Visible remains stone church, cross, oratory, holy well
Public access yes
National Monument of Ireland
Official name Kilmalkedar Early Medieval Ecclesiastical Site
Reference no. 65

Kilmalkedar is a medieval ecclesiastical site and National Monument located in County Kerry, Ireland.


Kilmalkedar is on the Dingle Peninsula, 4.8 km (3.0 mi) east of Ballyferriter and 6.7 km (4.2 mi) northwest of Dingle.


Kilmalkedar is traditionally associated with Saint Brendan (c. AD 484 – c. 577), but also with a local saint, Maolcethair (Maol Céadair, Maol Céaltair, Malkedar; died 636).

The surviving church dates to the mid-12th century, with the chancel extended c. 1200.

It was a traditional assembly site for pilgrims, who followed the Saint's Road (Casán na Naomh) northeast to Mount Brandon.

Some of the rituals carried out by locals, like performing nine clockwise circuits of the site on Easter Sunday, or the boring of holes in standing stones, suggest remnants of Celtic religion; Kilmalkedar may well have been a religious site long before Christianity arrived.


Kilmalkeader Church north west view
NW view

The church resembles Cormac's Chapel on the Rock of Cashel (built 1127–1134). Its nave is 8.28 m × 9.4 m (27.2 ft × 30.8 ft) with antae and steep gables. The chancel is 5.72 m × 5.1 m (18.8 ft × 16.7 ft) externally. The doorway is a notable Hiberno-Romanesque piece. A hole in the east wall of the chancel is called "the eye of the needle"; if one can fit through it, one is certain to go to heaven.

Pre-Romanesque remains include a corbelled building, perhaps a monastic cell; an alphabet stone; an Ogham stone; a sundial; a stone cross; and some bullauns. One of the bullauns is associated with the mythical cow Glas Gaibhnenn.

The alphabet stone is carved with "DNI" (domini) and the Latin alphabet in uncial script, carved c. AD 550–600.

Ogham stone, Kilmalkedar Church (geograph 4663698)
Ogham stone. The hole bored in the top is unique.

The Ogham stone (CIIC 187) reads ẠṆM MẠỊLE-INBIR/ MACI BROCANN ("Name of Máel-Inbher son of Broccán") and dates to c. AD 600.

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