Baile an Fheirtéaraigh

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bf-village (8K)   bf-church (32K)

Ballyferriter is nestled in a stunning green valley between the majestic hill of Croaghmarhin to the south and a ridge of jagged peaks to the north—Sybil Head and the Three Sisters. To the east, Smerwick Harbour caresses a two-mile long stretch of white sandy beach called Béal Bán. To the west, the mighty Atlantic is faced off by high rocky cliffs, punctuated with tiny coves and beaches just right for smuggling ... or snuggling.

The village of Ballyferriter is the only substantial village west of Dingle town. Here you'll find a Roman Catholic church, a Gárda barracks, a school, a museum with a bookshop, a shop, a café, three pubs and a hotel. (You may draw your own conclusions why we have three of one and only one of another.) The spoken language in the pubs is Irish Gaelic; everyone speaks English as well, although you may find it a bit more poetic than usual.

Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne

An Irish Language Cultural Organisation based in Ballyferriter
Baile an Fheirtéaraigh
Trá Lí
Co. Chiarraí.
Fón: 066 915 6100
Facs: 066 915 6348

Cúrsaí Gaeilge do Dhaoine Fásta
Irish Language, Heritage and Activity Courses for Adults in the
Gaeltacht of West Kerry: All levels catered for.
Ríomhphost / E-mail
Suíomh Idirlín / Website

Activities Gníomhachtaí

  • Is the day a bit showery or wet?
  • Need to spend some time indoors?
  • Are you curious about all the archaeological monuments
    in the area and want to find out what
    is the real story behind them?
Then a visit to the museum in Baile an Fheirtéaraigh is just what you need.

Músaem Chorca Dhuibhne is housed in the old schoolhouse building, across the road from the Catholic church. You can visit the museum, talk to the staff if you have any further questions, browse in the bookshop and enjoy a coffee and home-baked cakes. And the rain might be gone when you are ready to leave!

Corca Dhuibhne Regional Museum
Músaem Chorca Dhuibhne

Welcome to Músaem Chorca Dhuibhne, where archaeology and history are brought to life.

Open 7 days a week, 10:00am-5:00pm, June to September and at Easter.
Open by request during winter months.

Tel: 00353 66 915 63 33
or 00353 66 915 61 00,
Fax: 00353 66 915 63 48.

The museum is in the old schoolhouse in Baile an Fheirtéaraigh (Ballyferriter), 13km (8 miles) west of Dingle (just across the road from the Catholic Church). We also have a café with freshly baked scones and other treats available each day, and also a book shop which stocks a range of books of local interest, as well as books suitable for learners of the Irish language at all levels. Beidh fáilte romhat!



siuloid (19K)

Heritage Walks
Siúlóidí Oidhreachta

Museum Chorca Dhuibhne have designed three heritage walks centred on the village that allow the visitor to discover many of the antiquities of the area. They are:

  • Slí Ghallarais: (12 km/7.5 miles)

  • Slí an Mháimín (8.5 km/5.2 miles)

  • Slí na nDúnta (8.5 km/5.2 miles)

Full colour guide maps to the three routes can be bought at the museum.


Historical information about Ballyferriter

Oidhreacht agus Gnéithe Eile Suimiúla an Cheantair

This material is excerpted from "The Dingle Peninsula: History, Folklore, Archaeology" by Steve MacDonough, copyright 1993, published by Brandon Book Publishers, Ltd., Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland. Each of its 260 pages is packed with information on the communities of the Dingle Peninsula, and in its entirety, it makes very interesting reading. The book is widely available for purchase throughout the Peninsula.

bf-island (5K)

The Ballyferriter area, like so many parts of the peninsula, is perfect countryside for the walker. Half a mile along the road north out of Ballyferriter is a bohareen to the left signposted to Béal Bán. The strand is about a mile from the main road. To the left along the strand is a cluster of houses; about 500 yards along the road here a right turn leads to Dún an Óir, the fort of gold, scene of an infamous massacre in 1580. Those travelling by car from Ballyferriter Village should take the Dunquin road and turn to the right after about half a mile where there are signposts to the Dún an Óir hotel. At a junction turn right and then right again for the fort.

The promontory here was originally an Iron Age promontory fort, but it was given new defences in 1580 by a force of about 600 Italians and Spaniards under the command of Sebastiano di San Guiseppe of Bologna, after some earlier preparatory work by James Fitzmaurice. This intervention was an attempt to back Irish revolt against the British rule with foreign military aid, and the English responded forcefully; although there was a specifically Irish element, it was more than anything else an incident in a general European struggle, in which the English were determined to show their determination to resist attack through the "back door" of Ireland.

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In early November 1580 Admiral Winter's fleet arrived in Smerwick harbour and Lord Grey of Wilton, the English Lord Deputy, marched through the peninsula and arrived at Dún an Óir with 800 soldiers. The defence of the fort was incompetently organised, Lord Grey's troops were able to move in close, and on the third day the Spanish surrendered, leading to a massacre of most all involved. A memorial was erected on the site in 1980.

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To the west of the fort rise the three peaks known as the Three Sisters. On Binn Diarmada, the highest of the peaks, is a precipitous ledge about which two stories are told: one is that Diarmuid and Gráinne, figures in one of the best known Irish legends, slept here while being pursued through the country; the other is that one of the Fianna named Diarmuid stood watch here when the invasion was anticipated that resulted in the Battle of Ventry. In more recent times it was over the Three Sisters that Lindbergh flew in The Spirit of St. Louis in 1927 when he first reached sight of land after crossing the Atlantic. He signalled a fishing canoe north of the Three Sisters, flew over the westernmost of the three hills and continued southeast via Mám na Gaoithe above Ventry, on towards Valentia, where news of his arrival was immediately conveyed by the radio station to the international news media. From Valentia he continued to his triumphant landing in Paris.

Ballyoughtereagh, or Baile Uachtarach, the upper townland, which lies several miles further along the road, features in The Boycotting Song, one of the very few songs which refer to the evictions which were a dominant fact of life in the 1880s. Landlords at that time evicted, or tried to evict, many tenants who could not pay their rent, and the struggle by the tenant farmers to defend their livings was a bitter one. The tactic of boycotting was used to great effect: anyone who cooperated with the landlords or police or who took over houses and lands from which tenants had been evicted incurred the violent contempt of their neighbours; publicans and other business people who provided for the needs of the landlords and their agents found themselves instantly isolated by the rest of the community.

A green track leds uphill from Ballyoughteragh to the the ruins of a tower built as a look-out post at the end of the 18th Century when it was feared that Napoleon's forces would invade. It stands on a height above Sybil Point and from it similar towers on the Great Blasket and at Ballydavid Head were visible and could be communicated with. Sybil Point and Sybil Head are said to be named after Sybil Lynch, and near Doon Point a stump of masonry is all that remains of Sybil Castle, also known as Ferriter's Castle. In fact, they were named earlier than her time but the story is worth recording. The Ferriters originally le Furetur were a Norman family who settled here in the 13th Century. Sybil Lynch of Galway eloped with one of the Ferriters and was pursued by her father. She hid in a cave while her father laid seige to the castle, but when the fight was over it was found that the sea had swept through the cave and washed her away.

bf-cove (7K)

Below Doon Point lies Ferriter's Cove, and here in the cliff-face can be seen a series of shell middens, which are the earliest known archaeological remains on the Dingle Peninsula. Excavated during the 1980s, the site showed the characteristic piles of shells, together with hearths and charcoal, and it yielded finds of wild pig and re d deer bones, fish bones and stone tools. Indeed, the stone tools found here seem to have been made just a few miles south near Dunquin. Carbon dating places this site between 3670 and 3240 BC, in the late mesolithic / early neolithic period, and it is definitely mesolithic in type. From Ballyferriter village the road north and east leads into an area which was a cradle of early Christian civilisation. Here, at the western edge of Europe, a new way was forged in the course of the 5th to 8th Centuries and a lifestyle was developed which was to contribute to the remarkable and extensive Irish missionary movement of later centuries throughout continental Europe. One can get an idea of what an intensive development took place here by looking at the concentration of early Christian settlements. One mile from Raingiléis lies the excavated site of Reask; one-and-a-half miles from Reask is the cross-slab of a settlement at Lateevemanagh. A mile from Lateevemanagh is Templenacloonagh, and both Kilcolman and St. Manchan's lie about a half-mile over the hill. The oratory of Gallarus is only half a mile from Templenacloonagh and a mile from Kilmalkedar church. The settlement at Cráilí is less than a mile-and-a-half from Kilmalkedar, and Reenconnell is less than a mile distant. Ten early ecclesiastical sites within a small triangle of land.

bf-clogher (5K)

The account of the voyage of Brendan, the Navigatio, attained enormous fame in medieval Europe and is one of the classic adventure stories of all time, with rich elements of magic and fantasy. Whether the tale was mainly an imaginative creation or not, its physical details correspond quite well to what would be encountered on a sea route to North America. The modern explorer and navigator, Tim Severin, has certainly given added credibility in his book, The Brendan Voyage, to the notion that St. Brendan did, in fact, discover America. From Brandon Creek the traveller is recommended to take the road south to a crossroads, turn left and left again to Tiduff. From Tiduff a straight turf-track runs northeast to Masatiompan, and it is a good route for a walk in rising, open countryside with views back along the coastline which are sometimes quite spectacular. The area south of Tiduff is rich in clocháin and cahers. It has been suggested that these were built to provide accommodation for pilgrims waiting for clear weather to make the ascent of Mount Brandon. Less numerous than those at the unique Fahan settlement in the southwest of the peninsula, they still make up a significant concentration.

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From Ballybrack the Saints' Road starts its ascent of Mount Brandon and south of Ballybrack is Ballinloghig. Turning left off the main road into the village a road continues into the valley of Coumaloghig and becomes a rough track. Waterproof footwear is needed, as on most walks, but an easy stroll along the track brings one deep into the valley and up to the massive headwall of Ghearhane. There are signs of tillage on the right and on a spur above stood a spectacularly isolated farmhouse until late in the last century. On the left there are pre-bog field fences on the northern side of the river. From Ballinloghig the main road to Dingle continues south through a low pass, leaving behind the northwestern triangle of the peninsula.

Thanks to the late Steve Mac Donough for allowing us to reprint from his book
"The Dingle Peninsula: History, Folklore, Archaeology", ©1993.
A new revised (2013) edition of the book is available from the Dingle Bookshop.

Accommodation  Loistín

There is a large range of visitor accommodation in the Ballyferriter area.

For Bed and Breakfast Accommodation click here

For Self-Catering Accommodation click here

Towns & Villages Bailte agus Sráidbhailte