Posted by: Laura | April 14, 2010

Island Sites: Dún Aonghasa

During the summer tourist season, Inis Mór can see as many as 1,200 tourists a day. That’s quite a good amount of people coming to an island only 12 kilometers long and 3 kilometers wide. To help the ferries serve this amount of people, construction on a new pier has been underway for the past two-and-a-half years. Many of these people simply come on the morning ferry and leave on the evening ferry – taking a bus tour of the island and sampling a Guinness or seafood chowder in one of the pubs or restaurants. Probably the most famous and most visited attraction on the island is Dún Aonghasa.

Impressive Dun Aonghasa

Found on the south-western side of the island, the famous fort may not look as impressive as the 100-meter cliff views. Although the actual date it was built is not known, it’s said to be dated back to 2,000 B.C. That’s pretty incredible if you think about it that way! Its name means “Fort of Aonghas” and most likely refers to a god of the same name from Irish mythology. Dún Aonghasa utilizes the typical dry stone construction found in many other forts and fencing throughout Ireland. Outside the third ring lies a meticulously laid out defensive system of upright, stone slabs but because of the fort’s, the use is thought to be primarily for religious (as opposed to military) purposes.

Our Defensive Ring

To get to Dún Aonghasa, you are best off renting a bike or taking one of the 3.5 hour bus tours – both cost just 10 euro. I’ve toured the island both ways (although my biking experience was less than successful) and I really find the bus tour to be worth its price. You get a nice history lesson tossed in with some Irish humor – and you don’t have to worry about walking your bike up the steep hills. To see the actual fort and cliffs it does cost a small amount of money (1 euro for students or 3 euro for adults) and a small but easy hike to the top of the hill. But the 120 km view of the coastline is well worth it.

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