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Fodor's Ireland 2014
Dunbeg Fort Review
Perched on the very edge of a Dingle Bay cliff, and set in the small district of Fagan (which is part of the larger township of Ventry), the small, well-weathered Dunbeg Fort was an important Iron Age defensive promontory site, inhabited from about AD 800 until around AD 1200. Its drystone mound was defended against cattle raiders by four earthen rings—note the souterraine (underground) escape route, by the entrance. In addition, there are a number of archaeological artifacts here to interest the time traveler.
There is a 10-minute audiovisual show in the adjacent visitor center, but just as fascinating is the building itself, a modern replica of the drystone construction of the clocháns (pronounced cluk-awns), the famous prehistoric "beehive" cells first used by hermit monks in the Early Christian period. Beside it is a typical naomhóg (pronounced "na-vogue"), a tarred canvas canoe, resting upside down.
About half a mile farther on is another parking lot, and an interesting group of clocháns can be visited (€2 fee to resident farmer), built of drystone and set on the southern slopes of Mt. Eagle looking out directly across the sea to Skellig Michael. Far from being only prehistoric relics, as the signposts claim, clocháns were being built until a century ago; wood was scarce and stone abounded, so you'll find more than 400 of these clocháns exist between Ceann Sliebne and Dún Chaoin.
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