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Portmagee, Traditional Irish & Fishing Holiday Spot

Portmagee known as An Caladh in Irish is a village in the skellig region of Kerry. The village is located on the west coast of the Iveragh peninsula south of Valentia Island.  Portmagee is a small picturesque fishing village with brightly painted houses. Locally the village is sometimes called “the ferry” referring to its purpose as a crossing point for boats to Valentia Island. Access to Valentia Island is now via a bridge fromPortmagee.

Portmagee village is the fishing centre of South West Kerry with over 80% of the area’s fleet based in the harbour. The village is well known for its traditional pubs and quality restaurants where fresh fish is served daily straight from the boats. Nestled between the spectacular scenery of St. Finan’s Bay & Valentia Island, the area is an amazing sight to behold for its coastal splendour and for its Winter Sunsets.

Portmagee is the main departure point for the boat tours to the Skellig Rocks, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Therefore a visit to the village would not be complete without a visit to the Skelligs IslandsSkellig Michael, the larger of the two islands is the site of the world’s finest example of an early Christian monastic settlement. The monastic complex lies 12km off the south west of Ireland on a rocky pinnacle and dates from around the 6th century A.D. The monastery survived for about six centuries before being abandoned in the 13th century. The monastic enclosure consists of six beehive-shaped huts of mortarless stone construction, two oratories and a church. According to annals, the Vikings raided in 812 and 823 and found an established community. The smaller Skellig is home to 23,000 pairs of Gannet, a large and powerful diving sea bird. It was from Portmagee many years ago that mail and supplies were bought to the lighthouse keepers on the Skelligs.

Sunday night set dancing is a must for any cultural enthusiast as well as the May Bank Holiday Traditional Set Dancing Weekend – where people come from far and wide to sample a taste of traditional Irish culture and set dancing at its finest and also to partake in some of the workshops that are ongoing over the weekend.

In 1911 The Lady Crompton, en route from Buenos Aires to Liverpool, ran aground at Carraig but the crew managed to climb a cliff to safety. In recent years the anchor from ‘The Lady Crompton’ was salvaged and put on display at Knightstown in Valentia Island.”

Another of the highlights of the year is the “Old Year” festivities and always guanantees a fantastic time. It takes place on New Years Eve and is a tradition dating back hundreds of years . The Portmagee area offers exceptional walks, cycling trails and drives. Good places to visit are Coomanaspig Pass (separatingPortmagee and St. Finan’s Bay) and Bray Head Tower on the southern tip of Valentia Island.


For further information click on any of the following links..

History of Portmagee
Illaunloughan – early-christian site