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Ceann Trá/ Ventry

Welcome to Ceann Trá/ Ventry

Winter Evening on Ventry Beach. ©Helene Brennan www.helenebrennan.com Beehives in Fahan, Ventry, on the Slea Head Drive. ©Helene Brennan www.helenebrennan.com Ventry Cloud. ©Helene Brennnan www.helenebrennan.com

Ventry village, Ceann Trá in Irish (meaning at the head of the beach) is a beautiful and charming village on the Slea Head Drive with beautiful sea views. The village is situated right on a beautifully calm harbour. A feature of this village is that it has two centres of commerce, with a pub, shop, and church in one centre, and a pub, post office, and primary school in the other.The village is connected by 5 miles of awe inspiring beach. This golden, sandy beach is a certified blue flag which rewards by acknowledgement its cleanliness and safety. Fishing is an important industry here but most of the locals are dependant on the tourism and farming industries.

There are wonderful facilities here, experienced horse riding instructors will guide you on jaunts on Ventry Strand, and other scenic routes. You can go pony trekking on those rainy days when you don’t wish get soaked to the skin, in an indoor riding facility, a great way to keep the children entertained. The Skipper restaurant in the village is a lovely spot to stop and have lunch on a lovely sunny day. Pennys Pottery is a quaint little pottery shop and café on the edge of the village next to the community hall. Built in the 1600s, Rahinne Castle was the tower house of the Knights of Kerry. It was built on the site of an old ring fort. Today it is on privately owned land and is closed to visitors. The area is rich in mythology. Legend has it that Fionn MacCumhaill, the protector of Ireland, fought the King of the world, Daire Donn, in single combat to save Ireland from invasion by Daire’s armies on Ventry Strand.

4 miles west of Ventry village are the ruins of Dunbeg (An Dún Beag), an impressive example of an Iron Age promontory fort on the edge of a steep cliff at the base of Mount Eagle, Sliabh an Iolair.  The fort stands within the triangle of a small promontory with four parallel stone faced banks and ditches to protect it on the landward side. There’s a large inner clochán, stone hut, and the paving stones that form a path to the fort entrance are the roofing stones of a long souterrain (a type of underground dwelling-space).The most common surviving house type in Corca Dhuibhne during the Early Medieval period was the clochán, (Beehive Hut) a round house built using local stone, and roofed either in stone, using the corbelling technique, or thatched or roofed with wooden shingles. Although these buildings are found throughout the peninsula, both as unenclosed examples but also within earthen ringforts, stone cashels and monastic sites, examples can be found in the Ceann Trá (Ventry) area near Slea Head. They perhaps date from the 6th to the 10th or 11th centuries AD.  These structures are found either singly, conjoined or three together. These were the houses people lived in, regardless of status, or  they were lived in by monks within monasteries.  Sometimes underground passages known as souterrains are found associated with them. Locally, they are called ‘beehive’ houses, because of their similarity in appearance to a type of beehive current in the past, but not so much today.  But the word in Irish, clochán, which incorporates the element cloch (stone) is perhaps a more accurate term to use. Some of these structures date from more recent times, and they seem to have been a popular form of outbuilding at the end of the 19th and early in the 20th century, and are often found associated with farmhouses . If you travel towards Slea Head from Ceann Trá, you will see signs with information about these monuments. The landowners usually charge a small entrance fee to visit the sites.

The annual “Comórtas Peile Páidí Ó Sé” is a senior club mens and ladies Gaelic football tournament takes place in Ventry. Though the matches are held in pitches throughout the Dingle Peninsula, Ventry is at the heart of the festival. Since its inception the weekend football festival has grown in popularity and in recent years has diversified it's offering to include more Gaelic games and Irish tradition.Lá Caitlín, Saint Kathleens Day, is an important date in the Ventry calendar and  locals celebrate their patron through prayer. The Ventry Regatta's annual naomhóg racing is held in Ventry Harbour. Ventry Regatta is one of Ireland's oldest regattas and is renowned in song and story, particularly in the classic writings of the great Blasket Island authors. There's plenty to see and do at the regatta there's a Feis (Irish dancing), horseshoe throwing, fun cycle, poetry readings, sandcastle building, organised walks and plenty for children to enjoy.

There are numerous bed and breakfasts and self catering cottages in this lovely area which can be used as a base for your days of relaxing on and exploring the Dingle Peninsula. There are a couple of lovely restaurants in Ventry for those days when you don’t wish to cook.

Ceann Trá/ Ventry
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