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Ventry, Dunquin and the Blasket Islands

Ireland Map
Ventry, Dunquin and the Blasket Islands
The road west from Dingle town hugs the coast again towards the beach-side village of Ceann Trá (Ventry), scene of the ancient romantic tale of ‘Cath Fionntrágha’ (Battle of Ventry Strand). The tale, as told in a 15th century manuscript which can now be found in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, recounts the battle between Daire Donn, King of the World and Fionn Mac Cumhaill, the protector of Ireland. The road sweeps around Ventry Harbour and meets the coast near the striking promontory fort at Dunbeg. A great concentration of antiquities lies above the main road between Dunbeg and Fán (Fahan) and includes stone beehive huts, cave dwellings, standing and inscribed stones, cahers, crosses and a church ruin. As the road continues westwards around Sliabh an Iolair (Eagle Mountain), lovely panoramas open up to Slea Head, and beyond, the Blasket Islands beckon.

Dún Chaoin is renowned for its scenery, the spectacular views of the Blasket Islands, the rugged cliffs which make up the coastline, and its surviving Gaelic culture. At Dún Chaoin (Dunquin) a walk through the intriguing Blasket Island visitor centre is a journey through the lives and times of the people of the Great Blasket and the literary wealth of Blasket writers such as Peig Sayers, Tomás Ó Criomhthain and Muiris Ó Suilleabháin, whose works have been translated into many languages. Books produced by some of the islanders are highly regarded in the literary world and include the classics – The Islandman, Twenty Years a Growing and Peig. In 1953, as a result of emigration, the Great Blasket was finally abandoned and its 22 remaining inhabitants transferred to the mainland. Today there are regular boat trips to the island from the unique pier at Dún Chaoin.

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