Standing in Dún Aonghasa
is a little like teetering on the edge of the world. Dún Aonghasa (the fort of Aonghas, in Irish) is a prehistoric hill fort, perched precariously on a 100m cliff over the harsh Atlantic Ocean. It’s one of Ireland’s most ancient features, estimated to be more than 3,000 years old!
Like any good fortress, Dún Aonghasa keeps its secrets. No one knows who Aonghas was, and the rock platform that sits dramatically at the cliff edge remains a mystery. But that just adds to the appeal of this magical place. As you wander the ruins, it's best to let your imagination soar...
Dún Aonghasa is on Inis Mór (Inishmore), the largest of the three Aran Islands
– the name actually means ‘big island’ in the Irish language. While this ancient fort is the island’s best-known attraction, Inis Mór has more than 50 different monuments from Christian, pre-Christian and Celtic eras.
Stretching out terrifyingly over the sea is Dún Dúchatair, also known as the Black Fort. Erosion from the wild ocean has left the fort on a thin platform over the water so peek over the edge at your own risk!
And don’t miss Teaghlach Einne, the house of St Enda, a little church half-buried in sand at Killeany graveyard. The graveyard is at least 1500 years old and St Enda himself, the patron saint of Inis Mór, is believed to be buried there.
Make sure to check out the island’s spectacular beaches and unique natural features. Kilmurvey beach lies in a sheltered cove, and has the calmest waters in the island. If you’re feeling adventurous, visit Poll na bPeist, also called The Wormhole - a spectacular naturally formed rectangular pool in the cliffs into which the sea flows in and out. Scary as it looks, it’s a popular cliff diving spot for thrill-seeking visitors.
There’s so much to explore on the Aran Islands, and Dún Aonghasa is just the start! Do any other Community members have any suggestions to share?