Caherciveen (with several spellings) is a village on the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry in southwest Ireland. It has a population (as of 2016) of 1041, but it's on the popular Ring of Kerry tourist circuit and gets very busy in summer. Cathair Saidhbhín in Irish means "Little Sadhbh's stone ringfort" and there are two well-restored ringforts just across the river.
See Killarney and Tralee for long-distance travel by bus or train, and for Kerry Airport midway between them. By road the last stretch is along N70 which follows the coast of Iveragh Peninsula, the "Ring of Kerry" road.
Bus Éireann 279A runs twice M-Sa and once on Sunday from Killarney, taking 70 min via Fossa, Killorglin and Glenbeigh; M-Sa one bus continues down the coast to Waterville. Other buses from Killarney and Tralee only run as far as Killorglin.
1 Fair Green is the main bus stop in the village, a draughty square behind Spar Express.
2 Valentia Island Ferry sails from Reenard's Point to Knightstown on the island, a 10 min crossing. It's a small ro-ro sailing Mar-Sept daily 08:00-21:00; it shuttles continuously, no booking. Fares are €5 single per car and passengers, €8 return; cyclist €2 single €3 return, pedestrians €1.50 single €2 return. You can also reach the island by the bridge from Portmagee.
Ballycarbery and the ringforts are within hiking distance across Castlequin Bridge. But you'll need wheels to explore further along the coast.
Local Link Bus 285 runs from Killorglin to Glenbeigh, Caherciveen, Waterville, Caherdaniel and Cahercove. There are two or three daily on the Caherciveen-Waterville section, but fewer at the ends of the route.
Local Link Bus 287A runs from Caherciveen to Portmagee then crosses the bridge to Chapeltown and Knightstown on Valentia Island. There are 2-3 on Tu, Th and Friday. Bus 287B runs from Caherciveen to Dromid and Ballinskelligs twice M and W.
Casey Cycles on New St hire bikes. They're open M-Sa 09:00-18:00, in July and Aug also Su 10:30-13:30.
- Monuments at Carhan Bridge as you enter the village on N70 commemmorate St Brendan the Navigator and the birthplace of Daniel O'Connell.
- Daniel O'Connell Church, Church Street. O'Connell (1775-1847) "The Great Liberator" was born at Carhan and grew up at Derrynane House. In 1791 he joined the Jesuit college at Douai, but fled from revolutionary violence back to Britain. It gave him a lifelong determination to overturn the repression of Ireland and especially of its Catholics solely by legal and constitutional means. The church, built 1888-1902 of granite from County Down, is a mix of neo-gothic and cod-medieval, and still in use as the parish church. The marble foundation stone was a gift from Pope Leo XIII, sourced from the catacombs in Rome.
- Old Abbey of the Holy Cross is a ruin 100 m west of the church. O'Connell's parents are buried in the graveyard of the former church, a humble affair since it dates from the Penal era which curbed RC worship.
- The Old Barracks, Bridge St. Daily. "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair - Jaysuz it's the cops!" This police barracks was built in schloss or baronial style in 1870-75: the authorities were anxious about Fenian attacks on the new transatlantic telegraph cable, which came ashore at Valentia Island. It was torched in 1922 during the Irish civil war but rebuilt from 1992 and refurbished in 2013. It's now a heritage centre with museum exhibitions on Daniel O'Connell, local history and the Royal Irish Constabulary.
- 1 Ballycarbery Castle, Ballycarberry East. Closed. Dilapidated remains of a 16th century castle, blasted by Cromwell in 1652. The masonry was recycled into a house, but this was demolished in the 20th century. Until 2017 you could walk around it, but the landowner then blocked public access, mindful no doubt of the legal repercussions if someone stubbed their toe. So you can admire it from the car park 200 m away, from where it looks more like prize topiary than a castle.
- Cahergall north of Ballycarbery is a stone ringfort from the 7th century, with 25 m internal diameter.
- Leacanabuaile another 400 m north is similar but 9th century, more fully restored and with 30 m internal diameter. Findings on site indicate that both structures were more like fortified farmsteads than warrior castles. They're free to access 24 hours.
- Whitestrand is the fine beach southwest of the ringforts. Church Island 200 m off the point has the remains of a monastic settlement.
- 2 Beginish Island further west has no permanent inhabitants but has holiday homes. There's the remains of a Viking settlement.
- 3 Killelan is the 275 m hill on the peninsula that ends at Doulus Head. The usual hike is a circuit rather than an ascent.
- 4 Knocknadobar (Cnoc na dTobar, "hill of the wells") is the top of the coastal ridge northeast of the village. It's a place of pilgrimage, where the copious rainfall emerges from the mountain in a series of springs and holy wells. At 690 m / 2260 ft and rising prominently from the coast it's a "Marilyn". The hiking route and pilgrimage trail is from St Fursey's Holy Well on the lane to Coonanna, ascending east past "Stations of the Cross" markers; 9 km there and back.
- 5 Kell's Bay House and Gardens, Kells Bay V23 EP48, ☏ . Daily Mar-Oct 09:30-19:00, Nov Dec Feb 09:30-16:30. Extensive Victorian gardens: highlights are the Ladies Walled Gardens and the Primeval Forest; the palms and succulents will be a few more years maturing. The house is now a B&B. Adult €8.50, child €6; B&B double €110.
- The marina is the starting point for boat trips and water activities. There are long-stay and visitor berths.
- Portmagee however is the main starting point for trips to Skellig Michael.
- Hikes: see Knocknadobar and Killelan above. A trail also ascends Bentee, the 376 m hill overlooking the village.
- Ring of Kerry is the 214 km tourist itinerary around the Iveragh Peninsula. Tour buses always go anti-clockwise: if you start from Killarney as most of them do, it's probably best to buck the trend and go clockwise. But if you start from Caherciveen, tour anti-clockwise as you've a few hours start on them.
- The Wild Atlantic Way is a driving itinerary from Donegal all the way down the west coast to Kinsale in County Cork. On this section it's identical to the Ring of Kerry.
- Cahersiveen Festival is held just before the August Bank Holiday: that's the first Monday in August with the Festival on the preceding Friday-Sunday. So the next is probably 29 - 31 July 2022, tbc.
- There's a Spar and Centra in village centre, with Supervalu 500 m west.
- Oratory Pizza & Winebar, West Main St, ☏ . Apr-Oct daily 17:00-22:00, Nov-Mar F-Su 17:00-22:00. Pizzeria and winebar in a converted church.
- Chinfong, West Main St, ☏ . Daily 16:30-00:00. Decent range and quality of Chinese and Thai food.
- Joeys is a fast-food place at 15 Main St.
- Camos is a small bistro at 24 Church St, open M-Sa 10:00-17:00.
- Skellig Rock Curry House at 13 New St is open daily 17:00-22:30. It got good reviews until 2020 but has disappointed since.
- Mike Murt's, New Market St, ☏ . Nice trad pub, with outdoor seating in summer and a cosy fire in winter, often has live music.
- Shebeen, New Market St, ☏ . Small trad pub.
- The Fertha, 20 Main St, ☏ . Daily 10:00-23:30. Family-friendly pub does good food.
- Cráineen's Bar, 5 Main St V23 YP26, ☏ . Cosy friendly pub.
- Anchor Bar, Main St V23 FX03. Daily 10:00-00:00. Old-style bar and grill.
- Keating's Corner House, West Main St, ☏ . Lively place in village centre.
- Skellig Six 18 Distillery is 2 km southwest of the village by the turn-off for Valentia Island ferry. It's named for the 618 steps to ascend Skellig Michael and offers tours. Their gin is already on sale, their whiskey needs time to mature and will only come to market in 2024 / 25.
- Sive Townhouse (formerly Sive Hostel), 15 New Market St V23 HY91, ☏ . Small friendly place, central and does a good breakfast. It no longer operates as a hostel / dorm, just budget private rooms. B&B double €65.
- 1 Mannix Point Camping and Caravan Park, Garranebane, Caherciveen V23 PA07, ☏ . Clean spacious site on the sea shore, open Apr-mid Sept. Pitch & 2 adults €26.
- B&Bs east to west along the main strip include Southern Sun, Iveragh Heights, O'Shea's, San Antoine and Sea Breeze.
- Kerry Coast Hotel, 8/9 Church St V23 RV07, ☏ . Friendly accommodation above Frank's Corner restaurant. B&B double €80.
- Quinlan & Cooke Hotel, 3 Main St V23 WA46, ☏ . Excellent small hotel, though it's the restaurant that gets the raves. Open Apr-Oct. B&B double €140.
As of May 2021, Caherciveen has 4G from Three and basic mobile coverage from Vodafone, but no signal from Eir. 5G has not reached this area.
- Portmagee is the main village on the side-loop of "Skellig Ring", and the usual starting point for boats to Skellig Michael.
- Anti-clockwise round the Ring of Kerry, the usual direction, brings you through Caherdaniel, Derrynane and Sneem to Kenmare, then you cross the hills north for Killarney.
- Clockwise brings you to Kerry Bog Village and Killorglin, where the road divides for Killarney or Tralee.