Spa to Banna


In the field just across the road from the Oyster Tavern is a fine example of a ring fort. Ring Forts – sometimes called "Raths" or "Lioses" – are numerous throughout Ireland and there are many in this area. As far as can be ascertained they were enclosed farmsteads with a domestic rather than military purpose and they date from a period between 400 AD and 1200AD. That they weathered the years can be attributed in large part to an aura of superstition associated with them. These old survivors were, and indeed still are, known as "fairy forts" and dare not be violated. N.B. this fort is on private property.


The road rises gently towards Scrahan Cross and it is worth stopping now and then to look back at the ever-expanding views over Tralee Bay to the Slieve Mish mountains. Once the Cross is reached, the Way slopes downwards and there is a new vista. Ahead are low hills of Kerry Head and away to the left is the Atlantic, rolling on and on to the horizon.


As you leave the laneway, you will notice a finger post some metres to the right, with the legend "Casement's Fort". It was here that Sir Roger Casement was captured on Good Friday 1916.


Silhouetted sharply against the skyline on a rocky hummock stands the ruin of Rahoneen Castle. "Castles" like this one are found in many parts of Ireland and are, strictly speaking, tower houses or fortified dwellings of the landed gentry – probably Anglo-Irish, but the Gaelic chiefs also used them. They were built during the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.

Little is recorded about Rahoneen Castle, but it is said to have the residence of the Bishop of Ardfert.


Long, long ago a narrow breach in the sand dune barrier allowed the sea to enter and form shallow Carrahane Strand. Many species of birds can be seen feeding along its edge. The prominent outcrop of rock across the water is known as Crosty.


Before going down on to the beach, stand for a moment on the dune and look westwards over the ocean. The promontory on the right is Kerry Head. Straight in front is low and jagged Illaunabarnagh and to its left the distinctive dome of Mucklaghmore.

Just about 1 km from here towards Banna is a memorial to Roger Casement, but it is a little behind the sand dunes and cannot be seen from the beach.

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