Ballyferriter is a coastal village in the Irish (Gaelic)-speaking region, or Gaeltacht, of the Dingle peninsula in County Kerry.
Situated in the westernmost edge of the peninsula, three quarters of this rural community still speaks Irish on a day-to-day basis.
Nearby is a beautiful sandy beach, the Beál Bán strand, overlooked by Mount Brandon, on which an annual horse race is held in June. The village takes its name from the Feiritéar family, a Norman-Irish family who settled in the region in the middle ages and controlled much of the region, including the Blasket Islands. Ballyferriter literally means Feiritéar town.
The name is also associated with the Irish poet and warrior Pierce Ferriter, who was the last of the Norman lineage, and the last Gaelic chieftan to hold out against Cromwell's forces. His homestead, Ferriter's Castle, now a ruin, is nearby.
Ballyferriter's Irish Language Schools
During the summer, Ballyferriter's population swells as students from across Ireland flock to its schools to learn the Irish language.
While learning the indigenous language is mandatory for all citizens in Ireland, Gaelic is not widely spoken outside of Gaeltacht areas.
Spending a summer in a Gaeltacht school, such as those at Ballyferriter, is now an Irish tradition, one that often follows from one sibling to the next, or even from parent to child.
Parents are happy that children are getting immersive language learning, and will hope their children will reap the rewards with improved exam results in subsequent terms. For children, their is a sense of adventure in spending the summer away from home at a Gaeltacht School such as those at Ballyferriter.
Ballyferriter does not only offer summer schools -- study is offered year-round for university level students. Adults also come to Ballyferriter to learn Irish.
Irish Music School and Festival
Every year in February, Ballyferriter hosts an annual traditional Irish music school and festival, the Scoil Cheoil an Earraigh.
Places to Visit Near Ballyferriter
There are many interesting things to see within a short distance of the village, including