Iron Age Ruins Of Dun Aengus On The Irish Coast
Mark E Tisdale
Photograph - Photo
There's something so stark and majestic about these ancient ruins that dot Inishmore, the largest of the three Aran Islands off the coast of Galway, Ireland. I had read about these 'ring forts' before I had even left for Ireland. They were part of the reason that I wanted to visit the Aran Islands and one of the reasons I looked into the Galway area in general.
The weather on Inis Mor (or Inishmore) was wild in winter. It was everything you'd expect the weather might be on a rocky island at the edge of the world. Howling winds and rain off and on over the course of my days there. I began to despair that I wouldn't see Dun Aengus, the most well known of the iron age ruins on the island. Luckily, I finally had the beautiful day you see pictured here and grabbed the first tour bus I could find!
And boy was it worth every rainy day there to see this place! Dun Aengus (or Dun Aonghasa) is a semi-circular structure that hugs the top of a towering cliff. Dun is the Gaelic Irish word for fort, but the name is not original. No one knows what the site was for or what it was named. Long ago, people thought this was a defensive structure and named it accordingly. Today we know just enough to be not entirely sure what this site was. There are some who think it may have been a spiritual center of some sort. And it could be a romantic thought, but standing inside, I felt this place was intended to be something more than we understand today. There were certainly defensive elements, but you'd have the same to guard a place you felt was special to your culture, eh?
Whatever the reason for the long ago construction of these ruins, they were pretty fantastic to see and photograph as you can imagine (or know if you've been yourself).
November 10th, 2012
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