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Cosán na Naomh (The Saint's Road)

The route starts at Tráigh Fionntrá, winding its way up a gently rising local road that curves around to provide a backward look over Cuan Fionntrá and beyond to Sceilig Mhichíl. A cross-inscribed stone in the wall on the left indicates the proximity of the round enclosure known as Cill na gColmán (Kilcolman) which has a boulder marked with two crosses and bearing an Ogham inscription bearing the name of Colmán the Pilgrim.

Continuing westwards along the southern flank of Leataoibh Beag (Lateevebeg) brings the walker to a short stretch of the Ventry – Ballyferriter road where the tower–house of Ráth Sheanáin (Rahinanne) can be seen across the fields. After a few hundred yards northwards along the road, turn right into a smaller road which curves along the northern flank of Leataoibh Beag and Leataoibh Mór (Lateevemore). Beyond it is a splendid view to Ceann Sibéal (Sybil Head), An Triúr Deirféar (The Three Sisters), Ceann Bhaile Dháith (Ballydavid Head) and Binn Bhaile Reo (Beenmore), reminders of a landscape formed in the Tertiary Age 10 – 20 million years ago. The hill of Leataoibh Mór on the south side of the pathway has hummocks formed by landslides resulting from the melting of glacial ice a mere 14,000 years ago.

After crossing the Dingle – Ballyferriter Road, Cosán na Naomh passes close to Teampall na Cluanach (Templenacloonagh), an ancient earthen enclosure containing a church, an oratory, huts and cross-inscribed pillars. Where the route comes closest to Cuan Ard na Caithne, a machair spreads itself to the left, a sandy dune area with much of interest for the ecologist and the ornithologist. Rock crags there point to old stacks where the sea-bed rose 120m after the ice melted some 20,000 years ago.

Sáipéilín Ghallarais (Gallarus Oratory), marks perhaps an old monastic site with accompanying burial area in the form of a raised platform of stones. Nearby is Caisleán Ghallarais (Gallarus Castle), a 15th / 16th century tower house. Teaming up with the Dingle – Murreagh road for a while, the route passes Cathair Deargáin (Caherdorgan), a stone fort or cashel and further on, on the left, a rectangular building known as Fothrach an tSainsiléara (The Chancellor’s House).

Close by is the route’s most important ecclesiastical site – Cill Maolchéadair (Kilmalkedar), with its Romanesque church, Ogham stone, sun-dial, bullaun, holy well, Teampaillín Bréanainn (St. Brendan’s Oratory) and Fothrach Bréanainn (St. Brendan’s House). Continuing over Cnoc Rinn Chonaill (Reenconnell Hill), the vista westwards looks out over the great amphitheatre which opens onto Cuan Ard na Caithne, while north-eastwards the eye roams over Com an Lochaigh (Ballinloghig Valley) towards the pilgrim’s goal of Cnoc Bréanainn. The grassland and heather on Rinn Chonaill leads down to Corráilí (Currauly), an enclosure skirted by the path and enclosing a beehive hut and a broken cross.

Finally the end the road is at hand in the car park at Baile Breac.

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