A magnificent historic stone doorway, along with a 10-metre section of a large rampart, has fallen into the sea following weather damage to the cliff at the foot of a 2,500-year-old fort on the Slea Head drive in west Kerry, an archaeologist said yesterday.

The Dún Beg or Dún Beag fort which sits on a promontory near Ventry on the Dingle Peninsula has partially collapsed in recent days following storm Eleanor.

The fort, one of several on the peninsula, is a national monument managed by the OPW and accessed through private lands. The pathway too has suffered damage.

Its origin stands at the cusp of the Bronze and Iron Ages. It is the second time in recent years the fort has been affected by storm damage and been closed to the public.

At least 10m of the dry stone structure has fallen into the sea. The entrance passage into the Bronze Age fort and a dry stone souterrain have also collapsed.

There are around 17 such forts on the Dingle peninsula alone but Dún Beg is one of the better-known ones due to its location on the tourist route of Slea Head. With the advent of the Wild Atlantic Way it had become even more popular, said archaeologist Micheál O’Coileáin.

Previously, the OPW had managed to make the site safe and reopen it. Works may be done again which would allow visitors through but that would depend on the outcome of an inspection which is due to take place next week.

The fort had spectacular views of Dingle Bay and probably had a variety of purposes. “Every threat or trade can be seen,” the archaeologist said.

Dún Beg was of interest also because there was a long history of usage with some structures dating from the 10th century AD.


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