Caherciveen meaning ‘Little Sadhbh’s stone ring fort’ is a coastal town on the Iveragh Peninsula in Co.Kerry. The town has a population of approximately 1200 people and is located on the famous Ring of Kerry and The Wild Atlantic Way. It is an original town in County Kerry as it has not fully enjoyed the benefits of the tourist industry. Down through the centuries it has remained principally a market town. There are three different ways to spell the town, Caherciveen, Cahirciveen or Cahersiveen.
Overlooking Valentia harbour, it stands at the foot of Beentee mountain. on the river Fertha. If you are a boating or marine enthusiast it is worth visiting the area the see the town’s beautiful marina. There are many attractions to see in Caherciveen including Kells Bay House and Gardens, Cahergall Fort, the Daniel O’Connell Memorial Church, The Old Barracks and lots more. You will not be short of things to do during your visit.
Things To Do In Caherciveen
1 – Kells Bay House And Gardens
Kells Bay House And Gardens is a subtropical experience in a spectacular setting located 14km from Caherciveen town. It is known locally as the ‘Jewel on the Ring’ and is open daily to the public from 9.30am-7pm. In the Summer months they are opened till 9pm. The gardens have many subtropical plants and cover over 17 hectares. It is overlooking Dingle Bay and offers dramatic views of the harbour. There are 6 wonderful gardens in Kells Bay to visit, The Ladies Walled Garden, The River Ramble, The Primeval Forest, The Bog Walk, The Bamboo Glade and The Palm and Succulent Garden.
You can enjoy Thai food in the evening in ‘Sala Thai’ restaurant while taking in the beautiful views of Dingle Bay. There is also a private room that caters for up to 10 people. Daily the ‘Delligeenagh River Café’ offers snacks and refreshments.
In the garden centre in Kells Bay Gardens there is ferns and many other plants available to buy. It is an enthusiast owned nursery specialising in the import of Tree Ferns and rare unusual exotics from all over the world to suit both the professional and amateur gardener.
2 – Go To See Cahergall Stone Fort
Cahergall Stone Fort is located approximately 3.2km from Caherciveen town. It was built around 600AD. The current impressive structure has undergone some reconstruction. It was built as a defended farmstead. It is a circular stone ring fort with an internal diameter of 25 metres. The walls are approximately 6 metres tall and some are 3 metres in thickness. It is one of the best examples on the Ring of Kerry of a medieval stone fort.
3 – Explore Leacanabuaile Stone Fort
Leacanabuaile Stone Fort is located on the hillside just over 600 metres from Cahergall Stone Fort. It is believed to have been built around the 9th century and is partly reconstructed and it sits on a massive rock foundation. The 10 feet thick walls enclose an almost circular area over 21 metres in diameter. It is built of drystone with gaps filled in with rubble and protected on three sides by grassy slopes. The entrance is on the eastern side. Steps lead up to the inside that contain the ruins of a dwelling house.
During excavation in 1939-1940 Iron and Bronze objects were found including bone combs, iron knives and pins, lead and bronze millstones. These dated back to the 9th or 10th century. This suggests the existence of an early Christian farming community. Leacanbuaile is an Irish word and translated in English it means ‘Hillside of the Milking Place’.
4 – Wander Through The Grounds Ballycarbery Castle
Ballycarbery Castle is located approximately 3.7km from the town of Caherciveen. It is just over 1km from Cahergall Stone Fort and 2km from Leacanbuaile Stone Fort. The castle is on a high grass hill facing the sea. The area is known locally as ‘over the water’. It was built in the 16th century. This impressive looking castle has an ivy covered towering is listed on the Count’s historical buildings. Unfortunately it has not been preserved and is in a poor state of repair. Ballycarbery Castle is not sign posted but is hard to miss and there is no entrance fee.
5 – Learn The Local History Of Caherciveen At The Old Barracks
The Old Barracks is located in Caherciveen town and is now home to the town’s Heritage Centre. It was built between the years of 1870-1875 as a police station for the Royal Irish Constabulary. The building has fascinating history. The authorities wanted an imposing building to protect the Irish end of the transatlantic cable that entered the sea at Valentia Island. The now Heritage Centre houses various exhibitions of the locate area including The Life And Times of Daniel O’Connell, The Great Southern and Western Railway, The Fenin Rising of 1867, The 1916 Easter Rising. Toilets are available in The Old Barracks and there is an elevator to all the floors.
6 – Visit The Daniel O’Connell Memorial Church
Daniel O’Connell’s birthplace Carahan can be found just outside Caherciveen as you enter the town from the Killarney road. He was born on the 6th of August 1775 and a monument can be found here overlooking his place of birth. It is an interesting stop and you can read the plaques that are located here on your way into the town.
7 – The Top Of The Rock Viewing Platform
The Top of the Rock Viewing Platform is a 550 metre walking trail suitable for all ages overlooking Caherciveen and Valentia Island. As you walk up a slight incline you will see farm animals and historical sites along the way. There is picnic benches dotted along the walkway if you feel like a break or have a picnic. There are also some little fairy houses for children to discover. At the top of the trail you will enjoy panoramic views and information posted on the history of the area at the top.
8 – Cnoc na dTobar
Cnoc na dTobar meaning “Mountain of the Wells” is an sacred pilgrim site dating back to prehistoric and medieval times. In Pagan times it was an important mountain long before Christianity arrived. It was the site of ancient mountain assemblies especially the festival of Lughnasa. A fire was lit and singing and dancing was held.
Cnoc na dTobar is 690 metres high and located approximately 4.5km from Caherciveen town. It is one of the main mountains on the Iveragh Peninsula and recently added to The Pilgrim Paths of Ireland. It is just one of 12 pilgrim trails to be selected in Ireland. The car park is located at the foot of the mountain.
9 – Visit Valentia Island By Ferry Or Car