Smerwick sowed with the mouthing corpses
Of six hundred papists, ‘as gallant and good
Personages as ever were beheld.’ –Seamus Heaney, from “Ocean’s Love to Ireland,” 1974
There is today little left to see at the Ard na Caithne (Smerwick) headland known as Dún An Óir. Scant evidence remains of the original Iron Age fort occupying this spot. The earthworks—remnants of the hastily constructed 1580 fortification—have become eroded by weather and the waves until only a barely-recognisable outer bank and two bastions (bulwarks) are to be noted by the visitor. The bank is 25.6 m (84 ft) long, with one bastion projecting 1.5 m (5 ft) and the other one 5.8 m (19 ft). Only a treacherous foot-wide path, where once there was a drawbridge, connects to the inner part of the fort. This off-limits path has a 15-meter (50-foot) drop to the sea on each side.
The other name…
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