St. Finbarr's Oratory, Gougane Barra, Ballingeary, Co. Cork, Éire

St. Finbarr

The little church on the island in Gougane Barra's lake is an oft photographed object, like Scotland's Eilean Donan castle in its own way. Like that Scottish castle, it is the interplay of water and mountain scenery that is the lure here and having a focal point, even a man-made one, sets it all off, and it's easily reached by a causeway too; the similarities between Eilean Donan and Gougane Barra also stir up contrasts too, but that's another story. In late May or early June, those foreign interlopers, the rhododendron, are in flower, adding more to what is already a potently appealing mixture. In fact, this is one of my own father's favourite places, and it is very hard to disagree with him.

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