gaze at the stars within one of our greatest prehistoric forts

Staigue Fort in Irish translates to ‘the fort of the steps’ or possibly ‘the windy fort’. It is located in a spectacular location a few miles up a mountain pass valley near the village of Sneem on the Ring of Kerry. It commands incredible sweeping views out across Kenmare Bay to the distant peaks of the Miskish Mountains. It was probably built as a defensive stronghold for a local chieftain with a diameter of 90 feet, walls of 18 feet, and a 20-foot ditch. This was a considerable feat of engineering as it was built without mortar, using undressed stones. The linteled doorway leads to an elaborate network of stairways, terraces, and corbelled cells within the walls. It ranks alongside Grianán of Aileach in County Donegal and Dun Aengus on the Aran Islands as one of our country’s great prehistoric forts. The fort is also attracting the attention of stargazers as this area in southwest Kerry has recently been accredited as an International Dark-Sky Gold Tier Reserve. This is only one of three places on the globe to get the award and the only one in the northern hemisphere – the other 2 being Namibia and New Zealand.