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Ring forts are the most common monuments on the Irish landscape and are known by several names, including fort, rath, dún, lios, cashel and caher. They consist of a circular or oval area, around 25 to 50 metres in diameter, enclosed by one or more earthen banks. They were erected as protective enclosures around farmsteads, mainly during the early Christian period (c.500-1100 AD).
A glance at the ordnance survey map reveals an abundance of ring forts around Loop Head. However, most are on private land where livestock are kept, so it’s not always possible to approach them. Holy wells are also widespread on the peninsula. A focus of supernatural divination, cure or devotion, these wells often date back to pagan times and were later incorporated into the Christian tradition. Most are associated with a saint or a particular cure, and pilgrims leave votive offerings and petitions.
Many of the holy wells on Loop Head are still in use today.