Staigue Fort, Ring of Kerry, Ireland
Driving the Ring of Kerry, and want to get off the beaten path? Head to Staigue Fort - it's between Sneem and Caherciveen, off a tiny road inland. You will drive a very narrow lane, but keep following the signs. There's a visitor centre with films (and a cafe), although we never stopped there. Park your car in the lot and pay your voluntary entrance fee. Skip across the creek, and climb a small hill to get to the fort. You'll see a large circular stone fort, with a very narrow entrance way. Head in, and be amazed.
Staigue Fort is an incredible early masterpiece of stone fort building in Ireland. It's one of the largest, and was likely built in the early centuries AD.
Staigue Fort is a circular fort, and the walls are all hand-built of stone with no mortar. The walls go up to about 6 meters, are up to 4 meters wide, and the enclosed area is 30 meters in diameter. There are two small rooms within the walls - entered through tiny doors. Our 8 year-old daughter was able to go within and even stand up. You can climb up small stone stair ramps to the top.
The fort held a clan - family, servants, soldiers - and was probably filled with tents, livestock, and more. Now, there are sheep grazing outside of the Fort. There's a lovely creek that runs by, and the views are spectacular (even in the rain). The roads to get there and path to the fort are lovely - loads of fuschia bushes, lots of green of course. Watch your footing, since the sheep run around there. At the gate, pay to support the farmer who owns the land - it's only 1 euro each, as a voluntary contribution.
When we were in Ireland, we stopped by several times - we loved the sense of history, the views, the immense power held within these walls. Make sure to include it on YOUR Ireland itinerary!
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