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Cosan na Naomh

An old pilgrimage road in Co. Kerry, 18km in length, which takes in breathtaking scenery and important heritage sites.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 11.2 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview :  Cosan na Naomh or The Saints’ Road is an old pilgrimage road which starts here at Traigh Fhionntra in Ventry and finishes in Baile... more »

Tips:  Start: Tra Fionntra (Ventry Beach) • Finish: An Baile Breac
Distance: c. 18km • Map: No. 70, Discovery Series

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Points of Interest

1. Ventry Beach / Traigh Fionntra

Traigh Fionntra is the start of the pilgrimage route, as it doubtless also was a thousand years ago or more. In Old Irish literature, this beach was the scene of a somewhat mythical encounter known as Cath Fionntra (the Battle of Ventry) in which the great hero Fionn Mac Cumhaill overcame the Emperor of all the World except Ireland, Daire Donn.

... More

2. Cill na gColman

A monastic site in the middle of a field, which consists of a circular earthen enclosure. (If visiting make sure you close the gate behind you.) Its main feature is a large boulder decorated with an encircled cross-of-arcs and a separate, smaller cross, both half framed by an inscription in the Old Irish Ogham script, requesting a prayer for... More

3. Rathanan Castle and Fort

On the west side of the road a ruined 15th-century tower house sits within a ring fort of the early medieval period (probably dating from the 7th-10th centuries A.D.) The ringfort would have been the home of a strong farmer of that period. The castle was built by the branch of the Fitzgerald Family known as the Knights of Kerry, who re-used and... More

4. Teampall na Cluanach

This is a small ecclesiastical enclosure on private land, containing the ruins of an oratory and a slightly larger church. In addition to some equally ruined beehive huts, it also contains two impressive standing crossinscribed pillars which may be no earlier than the ninth century.

Imfhalu beag eaglasta ar thalamh priobhaideach ata i dTeampall... More

This iconic building is the only one of its kind surviving intact on the Irish mainland. It was the church of a monastery, other elements of which are still visible on the site. It may date from the 10th or 11th century AD, or even earlier.

Saipeilin Ghallarais
Ta Gallaras ar an gceann is foirfe agus is iomlaine des na cealla Críostaí go leir a... More

This recently restored 15th-century tower house was built by members of the Fitzgerald family, who were important chieftains in this area at that time. It was damaged during the Cromwellian Wars in the middle of the 17th century.

Caislean Ghallarais
Turtheach on 15u cead atá sa chaisleán agus sliocht Gearaltach a bhí ina gconai ann. Deineadh... More

7. Cathair Deargain

This National Monument, which consists of a roughly circular enclosure wall within which are 5 clochain or circular rooms, was probably built sometime in the 8th or 9th century AD, and would have been the home of a fairly strong farmer and his family. The original entrance is no longer extant, and one enters today over a style. There is a blocked ... More

8. Fothrach an tSainsileara

This reputedly was the house of successive Chancellors of the Diocese of Ardfert. It is a long, rectangular ruined building divided into two rooms, and with an oven opening off one of them. It probably dates from the later medieval period.

Fothrach an tSainsileara
Meastar gurb e seo tigh Sheansaileiri leanunacha Dheoise Ard Fhearta. Fothrach... More

9. Cill Maoilcheadair

This is by far the most important ecclesiastical site on the Dingle Peninsula. The church is dedicated to St Maolceadair who died in 616. The twelfth-century nave-and-chancel church is built in the Romanesque style. Near the chancel arch is a cross-decorated stone with the old Irish alphabet carved on one side, dating from the latter part of the... More

10. Corr Aille

The early ecclesiastical site of Corr Aille must have functioned in connection with the pilgrimage to Cnoc Bréanainn, although its path passes around the opposite side to the site’s original entrance. Here, a stone wall or cashel encloses a beehive hut, a leacht (ancient stone platform), a broken cross-inscribed stone and a number of grave-markers... More

11. Baile Breac

Cnoc Breanainn / Mount Brandon
Mount Brandon, the second highest mountain in Ireland at over 950m, dominates the area. This mountain has been a focus of pilgrimage since medieval times, and probably earlier. Cosan na Naomh (The Saints’ Road) is a pilgrim route through the peninsula finishing eventually on the top of the mountain, which is named... More