Teampall Bhean'in, Inishmore

#16 of 17 in Things to do in Inishmore
Landmark · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
The oratory Teampall Bheanáin (Irish pronunciation: [ˈtʲamˠpˠəl̪ˠ ˈwaːnʲaːnʲ], meaning "Benan's Temple") is situated near Kilronan on Inishmore, Aran, Galway Bay, Ireland. A unique example of Celtic church construction. It marks the location of the original monastic settlement founded by Benen, a disciple of St. Patrick, the national saint of Ireland. It dates from the 11th century, and has stood unaltered a thousand years.

It is not a conventional church in the sense of its ability to hold a congregation. It is reasonably assumed to be the tomb-shrine of the saint. This ensured its survival when the adjacent round tower and medieval monastery were recycled to fortify the now-ruined Cromwellian coastal fortress nearby.

The oratory is situated high on a ridge, which dominates the windward southeast sea approach to the main island port. Roofless and with unusually high squared gables it cuts a striking, almost oriental silhouette against the skyline, even though internally it measures a tiny 3.2 m x 2.1 m. It is formed from massive blocks of stone (a single slab forms a half of one side), and is bonded by mortar and very careful fitting. Its thick walls are pierced by a traveated (three beam) narrow north doorway with inclining jambs, and cut away lintel. A small east window with a single stone semi-circular head keeps a vigil towards the mainland of Ireland. The altar faces south rather than east/west which is the usual position, though the symbolism of this is not known.

Put Teampall Bhean'in at the forefront of your travel plans using our Inishmore trip builder site.
Create an itinerary including Teampall Bhean'in
© OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors

Teampall Bhean'in reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
9 reviews
  • Worth a hike up for the stunning view. And touching history -built in 484ad. Very peaceful as its off the beaten track.  more »
  • TEAMPALL BHEAN’IN (ST BENAN’S CHURCH) One of the smallest churches in Europe, This is reputedly the smallest church in Ireland. It stands atop a hill overlooking Cill Éinne Bay. In contrast with...  more »
  • Short climb up to the top, a little rocky but ok. If you go on a sunny day you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Killeany 🤗
  • Worth the hike to the top. Great views of the island.

Plan your trip to Inishmore

  • Get a personalized trip
    A complete day by day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it
    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.