One of the finest examples of a stone fort in Ireland, Staigue Fort or as it is known in Gaelic Cathair Na Stéige in Castlecove County Kerry, is about 2,500 years old.
It is in excellent condition and is thought to have been built in the first century BC. Little is know about its builders or indeed what it was used for. Perhaps it may have been built for religious reasons or to protect cattle. It may also have been an amphitheatre intended for some spectacle, a place to secure stock at night, an observatory, a symbol of wealth and status, or a place of defence and security.
It is built of stone common to the Castlecove district and is almost circular, measuring 27m in diameter. The wall is almost 4 metres thick at the base and 2 metres thick at the top. The north side is still perfectly preserved with some of the old coping stones still in position. The wall is 5.5 metres high on the north and west sides. It has a square headed doorway and inside are two small chambers, one on the west side and the other on the north. The stairways, which are probably the most interesting feature of the fort, run inside the wall almost to the full height of the wall, and these stairs lead to narrow platforms on which the fort’s defenders stood.