Gallarus Oratory


The Gallarus Oratory on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry which is believed to be over 1000 years old is the best preserved ancient church in Ireland. For the Culture Night Ireland on 22nd September 2023 Tim Schmelzer chose this special place for a light and sound production. This artistic projection and sound production takes reference refers to the surroundings and the architecture.
The poem "Áiféilín" written an spoken by Dr Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh opened the projection production. Rays of light break through the wall stones, a changing texture of the individual stone layers give the building a changing appearance. Wavelike movements of the stones, accompanied by the sound of the sea and whale songs, symbolise the proximity to the North Atlantic. The opening of the front side gives an insight into the use of the building at the time of its construction. To the rhythm of the music, effective animations run through the building. 
I addition, the local school “Scoil Mhaolcheadair” was given the opportunity for children to design the facade via the light projection. The drawings from the students where adapted onto the building during the short breaks in the projection staging.


The Gallarus Oratory is the best preserved boat-shaped cantilevered building in Ireland, built using dry-stone masonry techniques. The prayer house, built at the end of the 8th century, is considered one of the oldest early Christian churches.

For this projection production, 1636 stones of the exterior walls of the Gallarus Oratory were digitally recreated to create an accurate 3D model. A making off video provides a brief insight into the approach to this work, the preparation and the important steps of the realisation (Video TBA).


Overall artistic concept and realisation by
Tim Schmelzer

Funded by
Culture Night Late 2023 Fund | Arts Council of Ireland
County Council Kerry
Ealaín na Gaeltachta

Supported by
Gallarus Oratory Visitor Centre
Local Link Kerry

Irish language curation
Rachel Holstead

Organisation support by
Neel Bellerby

Providet 3D scan Gallarus Oratory by
David A. Anderson
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
La Crosse, WI USA

Projection technology supported by
Lumine Projections
AV Pro Vienna

Sound technology

Electric power supply by
Gallarus Oratory Visitor Centre

Support 3D modelling and animation by
Patrick Kong
Dirk Pfeifer

Sound production
Patrick Kong

Poem "Áiféilín" by
Dr Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh

Special thanks for support by 
Hannah Pinckheard
Arts Office | Creative Ireland Kerry Office
Kerry County Council

Seamus Kelliher
Gallarus Oratory Visitor Centre

Scoil Mhaolcheadair

David O Donoghue, Sabine Weibezahl, Phil Edwards
Burkhard Neumann und Astrid Weber, Ceann Sibeal Hotel, Aer Lingus