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McCarthy Mór Tower in Ballinskelligs

The Iveragh peninsula is home to many sandy beaches (the Beara peninsula, in contrast, only has one natural sandy beach). Ballinskelligs Bay is home to one of those nice beaches and as an added bonus, you can explorer the ruins of the McCarthy Mór Tower and the Ballinskelligs Augustinian priory there.

The McCarthy Mór tower on Ballinskelligs BeachThe McCarthy Mór Tower

The Tower is also referred to as “Ballinskelligs Castle” and “McCarthy Castle”. It is in fact a 16th century tower house built by the McCarthy Mór family. At the time it was this family who ruled South Kerry. Several of these tower houses were built to protect the land from pirates, and to allow for taxes being levied on ships importing goods.

A short stroll further along Ballinskellig’s Blue-Flagged beach are the remains of an Augustinian priory. It was founded in the 12th century for monks coming home from the nearby monastery on Skellig Michael. I’m not really into this kind of thing myself but allegedly the abbey is an spiritual destination.