The Ring Forts of Cahersiveen, County Kerry

Along the Ring of Kerry near the village of Cahersiveen, there are two ancient ring forts worthy of a stop. The forts share a gravel car park and require a short, rewarding walk.

Cahergal Fort has been restored and offers Ireland’s most impressive restoration of what the early Irish achieved using dry, stacked stone. The 10 foot thick walls reach a height of nearly 20 feet, and visitors can climb the “stepped” design all the way to the top where they can circumnavigate the “crown” of the fort — an unforgettable experience with views of the bay, Ballycarbery Castle, and the surrounding landscape.

Leacanabuaile Fort stands only a few yards away, and reveals how these forts look without the extensive reconstruction of its neighbor. Leacanabuaile also features an interesting inner chamber built into the forts walls.

Visit for more info and location.

The path to Cahergal Fort

Impressive stonework… nearly 20 feet to the top – Cahergal Fort

Atop Cahergal Fort

Atop Cahergal Fort with Ballycarbery Castle in the distance.

Leacanabuaile Fort

Leacanabuaile Fort

Leacanabuaile Fort

Cahergal photos by Corey Taratua
Leacanabuaile photos by Anthony Rue – creative commons

Author: Liam

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  1. Thank you Liam for these beautiful pictures! I’vent had the chance to see that place yet but they’re a good substitute for the real thing 🙂

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  2. This is on my list to visit this year! So thank you for this post!

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  3. We made a stop at these hill forts as well as Ballycarbery Castle in the distance. All are really top notch in my opinion. It’s nice to have things in such close proximity to each other, makes the detour all the more worth it. I loved how the tops of the walls of Leacanabuaile were earthen, grass covered (and explorable). Plenty of sheep around with personality too. Also a plus, we basically had the place to ourselves. Ballycarbery was a very atmostpheric castle, so covered in vines and ,for the intrepid, you can climb and explore at will. We preferred these forts to Staigue Fort also on the Ring of Kerry which was quite busy despite the insanely narrow road! Almost had to use the car rental insurance. Yikes!

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    • Abby, thanks for mentioning your experience. They are a truly special place… and I agree that the two forts together have an advantage over Staigue.

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  4. Visit this site at sunset (or dawn, if you are an early riser/coming home from a late night) for an unforgettable view into Ireland’s past. Drive a few minutes to the nearby castle, walk up the old stone stairs, linger for a good while among the ruins of the passageways and halls, and it won’t be difficult to imagine people sitting down at big wooden tables knocking back goblets of mead.

    US visitors may be interested to know that the circular US embassy in Elgin Road, Dublin, was modeled after the Irish ring forts, of which this is a fine example.

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  5. This is truly a magnificent area. Two ancient forts, a castle, seaside, mountains and amazing scenery!!

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