Cloghane village is nestled in a semi-circle of mountain peaks and
overlooks the stunning Brandon Bay. This region offers many rivers,
lakes, streams, and waterfalls.
In 1974 the village was added to the Corca Dhuibhne Gaeltacht region,
where the Irish language is spoken. It has an abundance of sandy
beaches, washed clean by the surf of Brandon Bay.
Nearby is Brandon, a small fishing village with a quay still used by
local fishermen. There is an abundance of walking trails here, and the
climb to the summit of Mt Brandon is very popular. The region is very is
popular with anglers, with salmon, bass and trout being plentiful.
The area has an abundance of flora, with arctic alpines growing near the
peaks of Mt Brandon, and many seaside flowers growing on the sandy
shores of the bay.
There is an abundance of walking trails here, and the climb to the summit of Mt Brandon is very popular. Most of the walks offer spectacular views over lakes, bogs, rivers, waterfalls, mountains, the bay, and the estuary. The mountains around the area harbor deserted villages and uninhabited valleys and offer an almost unique wilderness, in stark contract to the stress of everyday living.
The area also boasts the longest beach in Ireland, which starts in Cloghane and runs unbroken through Fermoyle, Castlegregory, and down the Maharees peninsula. There is also the secluded Trá Bhán (white strand), the distinctive red sand of Ballyquin beach, and the stunning Cappagh beach with its own swimming pool at low tide (enquire locally about safe swimming locations and times).
The Owenmore River and its environs are quite spectacular, from its source in Mullach down through the valley to the estuary and into Brandon Bay. The river is popular with anglers, with salmon and sea trout being plentiful. Fermoyle beach, the Owenmore estuary, Brandon quay, and many other locations in the area are popular fishing spots with anglers.
The Cloghane / Brandon area has a rich heritage of music, language, and dance. There are several traditional pubs in the area serving fine food, some specialising in locally caught seafood. Sessions of music, song, and dance are held nightly in most of the local pubs, where young and old, tourist and local blend together to create a unique atmosphere.
Set dancing is enjoying a revival, as is the Irish language amongst younger people. The Crom Dubh Festival was recently revived and has proven to be very successful. The Brandon Regatta is still going strong in August, as is the tradition of the Wren on 26 December.
On the last weekend in July, the festival of Lughnasa is held, with a wide variety of entertainment available. The highlight of this weekend is the ascent of Mt Brandon, with music and poetry reading and a picnic at its peak with the world at your feet — never to be forgotten.
Emigrants to America, Europe and Britain used to time their visits home to coincide with the festival. People bought new clothes or made them; they painted and cleaned their homes and prepared food. "Pattern pies" were made and sold; fiddlers came and played for their pennies; tinkers converged with their wares; and there were games and dancing and entertainments from the afternoon until early next morning. On the Monday there was a special dance in Brandon.
Do you know who you are? Does your great, great grandfather come from Cloghane or nearby?
High places have been chosen as religious sites throughout the world
since the earliest times, and Lughnasa, which was perhaps the most
important Celtic festival, was generally celebrated at hilltop sites.
The central symbol of the festival was the temporary victory of Lug, a
bright, young god of many talents, over the older, darker god, Crom
Some time after the advent of Christianity Lug was replaced in most cases by St. Patrick, but here, at Mount Brandon, by Saint Brendan. Crom Dubh retained his place in the legend but was reduced to the status of a local pagan chieftain and converted to Christianity with the assistance of a bull.
Saint Brendan's background was integrated with the pagan legend by the name given to his father: Findlug, a combination of Lug and one of his alternative names, Find.
On the Sunday, the Cloghane Pattern is celebrated with the festivities moving to Brandon on the Monday night. Sheep shearing, dog trials, traditional meat pies, face painting, street entertainers, open air dancing, and music and poetry readings are just some of what is on offer.
Pints of Guinness and traditional sessions can be found in all the local pubs over the weekend, and indeed, throughout the year. There are several traditional pubs in the area with many of them serving fine food, some specialising in locally caught seafood.
Sessions of music, song, and dance are held nightly in most of the local
pubs, where young and old, tourist and local blend together to create a
The eastern side of the mountain is also the location for the most remarkable hilltop promontory fort in Ireland. This fort stands on a peak at 2,600 feet (800 metres) due west of the cluster of houses at Faha in the parish of Cloghane.
The fort consists of two stone ramparts. The first stands at the point of the mountain where it falls steeply to the south and north and is about 100 metres long. The second, 120 metres west of the first, is 30 metres long, and both run north south.
Built of large and medium sized stones laid horizontally, the better preserved sections of the walls are about 2 metres thick and stand up to 2 metres high. There are entrances in both walls.
Cloghane’s tourist office also sells a booklet that takes you on a self-guided tour through the Loch a Duin, (Lake of the Fort) Valley (Sciuird also leads a walking tour). Beginning at the hut beside the road at the bottom of Connor Pass, this route leads you on a well-marked, three-hour walk through the valley’s bog lands.
Structures associated with prehistoric habitation (2,000 B.C.), ritual, and agriculture, along with several kilometres of prehistoric field wall, still survive. The valley is also of interest to bird watchers, botanists and geologists.
There are over 2,000 archaeological sites on the Dingle Peninsula and Loch a’Duin is one of the most significant sites in the country. It contains a most remarkable series of monuments from the Bronze Age. In this 1,500-acre valley, there are 90 stone structures dating from 2500 BC up to modern times.
Guided and self-guided walks can be taken through this area. Call in to Cloghane’s Information Centre for maps and more information. Other famous Dingle Peninsula archaeological sites include Gallarus Oratory, Kilmalkedar Church, the Beehive Huts and Riasc. Visit www.dingle-peninsula.ie for more information of the archaeology, history and culture of the Dingle Peninsula.
Owemore Estuary Cloghane