Cuir Aithne ar Chiarraí / Discover Kerry

Gaeltacht Uíbh Ráthaigh / Iveragh Gaeltacht

Travel back in time on the Iveragh peninsula whose remote rugged landscapes have remained largely unchanged since the Stone Age. Situated between the Dingle and Beara peninsulas, Iveragh is the largest peninsula in the south-west of Ireland. It is famous for its Skellig Coast which extends from Kells to Castlecove as well as for its islands. Skellig Michael with its early Christian monastery is the most iconic of the islands while Valentia, famed for its tetrapod tracks, slate quarry and transatlantic telegraph cable, is the most easily accessible.

The landscape is full of drama and diversity. Even by night. Much of Iveragh is in the Kerry Gold Tier International Dark Sky Reserve including Dromid which is in the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking area). As you journey along the beautiful Skellig Coast, you will visit other beautiful parts of this Gaeltacht region including the Glen, Ballinskelligs and Caherdaniel. 

Téigh siar sa stair agus tú in Uíbh Ráthach, áit nár tháinig morán athrú ar an tírdhreacht garbh iargúlta ón gClochaois. Is é Uíbh Ráthach an leithinis atá suite idir leithinsí Chorca Dhuibhne agus Bhéarra. Tá cáil air mar gheall ar Chósta na Sceilge a shíneann ó na Cealla go dtí an Cuan an Chaisleáin chomh maith lena oileáin - arb é Sceilg Mhichíl an ceann is mó a bhfuil cáil air mar gheall ar an mainistir Luath-Chríostaíocht - agus is é Dairbhre, a bhfuil clú air as a rianta tetrapod, cairéal sclátaí slinne agus cábla teileagrafach Atlantach, an t-oileán is fusa le baint amach.

Tá an tírdhreach lán le drámaíocht agus éagsúlacht. Fiú san oíche. Tearmann Idirnáisiúnta (Stádas Órga) Spéire Dorcha Chiarraí is ea cuid mhór d’Uibh Ráthach, an Dromaid, atá ina ceantar Gaeltachta, san áireamh. Agus tú ag taisteal ar chósta álainn na Sceilge, beidh tú ag dul trí cheantair eile Ghaeltachta – Bá Fhíonáin, Baile ‘n Sceilg agus Cathair Dónall.

Bolus Head
Bolus Head, Courtesy Aoibheann Lambe

Our ancient past is still present in our place names - Ballaghisheen is named after Oisín of the famous legend of Oisín and Tír na nÓg; Loch Luíoch after the Celtic god of shining - Lugh; Inbhear Scéine (Ballinskelligs Bay), the bay in which Scéine, the wife of the poet Amergin, drowned; and Cuas Crom after the mischievous deity, Crom.

A mountainous peninsula, the hill known as the Colly (which may be derived from the Irish word 'Cailleach', a name associated with mythological women) is a prominent feature. This hill is adjacent to the Ballaghisheen Pass which is the only access by road north/south through the centre of the peninsula. If you can see this hill, you can navigate your way around the peninsula!

The views to the Macgillycuddy Reeks from Ballaghisheen are spectacular. The approach to the pass brings you along the Inny Valley pass Iveragh's highest standing stone and Bronze Age stone rows which are aligned on the winter solstice sunset at south-west and on the Colly Mór at north-east. The Dromid Centre is on the way - everyone here speaks Irish. You can visit the cafe or stay in the hostel. Enjoy the serenity of a walk by Loch Luíoch (Lough Currane) and the remote Gaeltacht of Glen Mór. The Kerry Way walking route is one of many off-road hikes on Iveragh. There is no better way to see the countryside.

Tá ár stair ársa fós sna logainmneacha - Bealach Oisín ainmnithe i ndiaidh Oisín na Féinne; Loch Luíoch i ndiaidh dia Ceilteach Lugh; Inbhear Scéine (Bá na Scealg), an bhá inar báthadh Scéine, bean Aimheirghin, file Chlanna Mhíle; Cuas Cromtha i ndiaidh rógaire i measc na ndéithe Crom. Tá an cnoc ar a dtugtar an ‘Colly’ (ainm a d’fhéadfadh teacht ón bhfocal ‘Cailleach’, ainm a bhaineann le mná miotaseolaíochta) cóngarach do Bhealach Oisín, arb é an t-aon bhealach isteach ó thuaidh/theas trí lár an leithinis. Más féidir leat an cnoc seo a fheiceáil, itá tú in ann do bhealach a dhéanamh timpeall na leithinise!

Is iontach na radharcanna ó Bhealach Oisín i dtreo na gCruacha Dubha. Tugann an tslí isteach go Bealach Oisín thú trí Ghleann na hUíne thar ar an ngallán is airde in Uíbh Ráthaigh agus na sraitheanna gallán ón gCré-umhaois atá ailínithe ar luí na gréine ag grianstad an gheimhridh ar an taobh thiar theas agus ar an ‘Colly’ ar an taobh thoir thuaidh. Tá Ionad na Dromada ar an mbealach - tá Gaeilge ag gach duine anseo. Tar isteach sa chaifé nó fan sa bhrú. Bain sult as suaimhneas siúlóide cois Loch Luíoch agus Gaeltacht iargúlta an Ghleanna Mhóir. Tá bealach siúil Shlí Uíbh Ráthaigh ar cheann de go leor siúlóidí easbhóthair ar an leithinis. Níl slí níos fearr chun an ceantar a fheiscint.

The magic of Iveragh lies in the places off the beaten track. The rugged coast has a wealth of beaches, coves and little inlets. Local guides can take you on natural history walks, archaeology hikes and dark sky tours. Some of our spectacular beaches include the surfing beach at St Finian's bay while the nearby pier has a prospect right out to the Skelligs - keep an eye out for ancient rock-cut steps nearby (such steps were very handy for pirates smuggling their goods under cover of darkness). Bolus Head Loop walk, also in the Glen, is a wildly beautiful area with few houses and wonderful views to the Skelligs. You'll see many choughs here - look out for their red beaks and legs.

Cuas Crom and White Strand 'Across the Water' close to Cahersiveen are local favourites - you can combine a visit to these beaches with a trip to see McCarthy's castle and the medieval ringforts at Cahergall and Leacanabuaile. Each of these destinations has parking and there are toilets at Cuas Crom too. 

 

Is sna háiteanna iargúlta atá draíocht Uíbh Ráthaigh. Tá go leor tránna, cuanta agus cuasanna ar an gcósta garbh. I measc na dtránna iontacha atá againn tá an trá suirfeála i mBá Fhíonán agus tá radharc ag an gcé in aice láimhe amach ar na Scealga - coinnigh súil amach do chéimeanna ársa gearrtha amach sna carraigeacha in aice láimhe (bhí céimeanna dá leithéid an-áisiúil d’fhoghlaithe mara a bhí ag smuigleáil a gcuid earraí faoi chlúdach an dorchadais). Tá ceantar fiáin álainn timpeall siúlóid Lúb Cheann Bhólais, atá sa Ghleann freisin, le beagán tithe agus radharcanna iontacha ar na Scealga. Feicfidh tú go leor cága cosdearga anseo - faire amach dá ngob agus cosa dearga.

Is breá le muintir na háite Cuas Cromtha agus an Trá Bhán ar an ‘Taobh Thall den Ghóilín’ gar do Chathair Saidhbhín – is féidir cuairt a thabhairt ar na tránna seo le chéile chun caisleán Mhic Cárthaigh agus na ráthanna meánaoiseacha Chathair Gheal agus Leaca na Buaile a fheiceáil. Tá spás páirceála ag gach ceann de na háiteanna seo agus tá leithris i gCuas Cromtha freisin.

Liss rock art with rock art highlighted
Liss Rock Art, Courtesy Aoibheann Lambe

Derrynane House and Gardens near Caherdaniel are often said to be the jewel in the crown - located in a national park, the rare and protected flora and fauna there includes the Kerry Lily and the Knatterjack Toad. Dunes rise above long stretches of golden beaches. From the pier, you can cross to Abbey Island and visit the medieval priory. The bay is perfect for sea sports. 

Kerry people love music, storytelling and having fun - what’s known as ‘the ‘craic/crack’. We like the craic! Many pubs have regular music sessions. Among our favorite festivals are Éigse na Brigeóide (February), the Skellig Coast Dark Sky Festival (April), Discover Derrynane (June), the Cahersiveen Festival (August), Aon Scéal  (September), the Skellig Coast Archaeology Festival (October) and the Sneem Storytelling Festival (November).

Deirtear go minic gurb é Teach agus Gairdíní Dhoire Fhíonáin in aice le Cathair Dónall an tseoid is luachmhaire – sa pháirc náisiúnta seo tá Lile Fhíonáin agus an cnádán i measc an flóra agus fána neamhchoitianta agus cosanta. Ardaíonn dumhcha os cionn stráicí fada de thránna órga. Ón gcé, is féidir leat siúl trasna go hOileán na Mainistreach agus cuairt a thabhairt ar an bprióireacht mheánaoiseach. Tá an cuan foirfe do spóirt farraige.

Is breá le muintir Chiarraí ceol, scéalaíocht agus spraoi – ar a dtugtar ‘craic’. Is maith linn an craic! Bíonn seisiúin rialta ina lán tithe tábhairne. I measc na bhféilte is fearr linn tá Éigse na Brídeoige (Feabhra), Féile Spéire Dorcha Chósta na Sceilge (Aibreán), Discover Derrynane (Meitheamh), Féile Chathair Saidhbhín (Lúnasa), Aon Scéal (Meán Fómhair), Féile Seandálaíochta Chósta na Sceilge (Deireadh Fómhair),agus an Sneem Storytelling Festival (Samhain).

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