9Harbison, Peter. Pilgrimage in Ireland: the Monuments and the People. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse Univ., 1992. 77, 82.
The author asserts that it is wrong to assume that Gallarus Oratory must necessarily be the first building to occupy its site simply because there were no resources for wooden construction nearby. "It is quite possible therefore that wood grew in areas where oratories of Gallarus type are found, and the argument that such oratories must have been the first churches built on the site because there could have been no earlier churches of wood is manifestly untrue. Similarly, the suggestion that Gallarus was contemporary with wooden churches in other parts of the country where wood was plentiful cannot be proved." (p. 44-45) Harbison continues, "my purpose in suggesting that Gallarus could be even as late as the 12th century is to abandon the age-old idea that the 8th century is the latest possible date. In the absence of a more reliable chronological pointer the date of Gallarus must rest entirely on circumstantial evidence, and remains an open question although I lean towards a date later than that heretofore accepted. But if Gallarus cannot be proved to date from the 8th century and could even be as late as the 12th, then there is no longer any reason to believe that it represents the oldest type of stone church in Ireland and the first stage in the evolution of Irish church architecture in stone." (p. 58)