Promontory Forts

Dun Beag Promontory Fort
Helen Riddell
Shee Head Promontory Fort
Helen Riddell

Dun Beag

There are a number of promontory forts around Bere Island’s coastline, the largest of which is Dun Beag located on the southern side of the island in the townland of Greenane.  The fort is a large semi-rectangular area  and projects south west into Bantry Bay.  A large fosse/cutting with a stone wall separates Dun Beag from the island.  A small valley is located in the middle of the fort and it is surrounded on three sides by precipitous cliffs. There are some stone remains in the valley.  It is said locally that there were once hut sites in the vicinity of Dun Beag, where islanders would stay while grazing their animals in the area during the summer months.

Dun Beag is part of the island’s Beara Way Walking trail can be accessed via the Dun Beag loop walk.


Shee Head

Shee Head, is located on the western end of Bere Island, on its southern shoreline     to the west of Dun Beag promontory fort. The headland is a roughly rectangular   promontory fort with a high rocky outcrop and seems to have the remains of a stone wall defence. Shee Head overlooks the entrance to Bantry Bay with views of Sheep’s Head and the Mizen Head to the south. It is surrounded on three sides by high cliffs.  There are the remains of a stone circle on the approach to Shee Head.



Doonigar Promontory Fort at the western end of the island is said to be the closest point on the island to the mainland, and it is thought it was used as a vantage point to control the entrance to Berehaven.  The point can only be reached by boat and has two sea arches. Local folklore recounts that one of these arches was used by island fishermen who, while being pursued by a naval press gang escaped through the arch, secured their boat in a creek which lies inside and clambered up the cliffs, escaping to the hills.

Both Doonigar and Shee Head are  part of the island’s Beara Way Walking trail can be accessed via the Dun Beag loop walk.



Dooneen promontory fort  projects south east into Bantry Bay is also known as Duneen (little fort) and is on a small headland overlooking the strand at Cloughland on the eastern end of the island. The fort is on private land the majority of it is now completely eroded by the sea and has been fenced off, but it can be viewed from the strand.

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