Dun Aonghasa - Iron Age Irish Ruins
Photograph - Panorama Photo
I'd read a bit about Dun Aonghasa (or Dun Aengus as we have anglicized it) before I found myself on Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands off the coast near Galway. But nothing really prepares one for standing there in that stark but beautiful landscape.
And I fear nothing gives one a complete view quite like a helicopter would, but if you've been, you are familiar with the layout. The iron age site is divided into concentric semi-circles. Each ring intersects with the sheer cliff walls and a drop to the sea. The view in this panorama photo is before one enters the final ring of the stone fort.
Fort is used very loosely today, though. It's not clear what this structure was intended to be. It's only in our comparably modern written history that the place comes to be known as Dun Aonghasa or Dun Aengus. Dun is the Irish Gaelic word for fort. It was believed when the ruins were discovered that they were the remnants of a for belonging to peoples pushed from the mainland and that this was some last outpost of a lost people.
In modern times, though, current theory suggests the site may have had a special cultural or spiritual significance. While there is a little defensive nature to the site, it could just as much be possible the iron age people who built it were protecting a very special place in their world.
We'll likely never know the full story, but I stood there and couldn't help feeling there was much more beneath the surface, and I bet you feel the same if you've been?
November 13th, 2012
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