the first place that we stopped to stretch our legs on our Dingle peninsula driving tour was at the Dunbeg Fort. it’s a promontory fort built on the side of a cliff during the Iron Age, which ran from approximately 500 BC to 500 AD in Ireland.
this, and other promontory forts that remin, is a series of defensive ditches and ramparts protecting a central structure or clochan (the entrance to which is seen in the photo). the one at Dunbeg has four lines of defensive banks (which raise one metre above the old ground level and are 3 metres wide in some places), five fosses (between one and one and a half metres deep and up to 12 metres wide) and an inner drystone rampart (which is up to more than 6 metres thick and 12 metres wide). drystone is a technique in which no mortar was used, the stones were simply stacked together to create the structure. much of the western portion of the rampart has fallen off the cliff and into the sea.
there’s evidence of habitation at Dunbeg dating back to the 8th or 9th century AD, and again in the 10th or 11th century. the earliest feature uncovered during excavations, however, indicate that the site was used for some purpose around 580 BC, or the late Bronze Age. my favorite feature was a little nook built into the inside wall of the beehive just to the right of the doorway (when standing on the inside of the arch seen here). it wasn’t big enough for people to hide in, but you could put all your important stuff inside and then close it up and it looked the same as the other wall — you’d never know there was a hiding nook behind it.
the other fun thing about Dunbeg, mentioned in a previous post: the donkeys! this was the only place that I saw donkeys grazing so close to a touirst attraction, and they were certainly friendly.