Dun Aonghasa

Dun Aonghasa, pronounced Done Angus-sa, is a spectacular stone fort located on Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran Islands. It was built 1100-1000 BC on the edge of a cliff (which rival The Cliffs of Mohr). That is several hundred years before the wall of China! Dun Aonghasa is made of three stone rings before you enter the inner court and buildings. You have to hike up a very steep hill to get to the entrance, but if I can do it, you certainly can! (My husband, Ron, says it’s not that steep, so I guess it’s a matter of perspective.)

In the first picture I’m sitting as close as I dare to the edge. The wind was fierce, though that didn’t stop braver (or more foolish) people going to the very edge of the cliff. I discovered I have a fear of falling off of cliffs into water. Notice the terror on my face as I force a smile?

The second picture shows grooves in the limestone that surround the rings. Imagine trying to attack the fort and having to maneuver around those deep crevasses.

This next picture is an aerial view. (I didn’t take this one.) Notice how the fort hugs the edge of the cliff? And look at those rocks in the next picture! This is an excellent example of a chevaux de frise. (Not that the ancient Irish called them that.) Huge pillars are a jagged  protection between the rings. If you made it over the limestone, these pillars and sharp broken rocks would be the next barrier. Many weigh over half a ton.

This fort was used well into medieval time. Whoever the rulers were, they had a lot of influence and power to build such a massive edifice. If you travel Ireland you will see many stone forts, but none as spectacular as Dun Aonghasa.

Luckily, all you have to do is follow the steep path; it’s a rather long hike, about a mile, not too bad, but make sure you’re wearing good walking shoes. The wind picks up the higher you go too.

The fort is about fourteen acres and you are free to wander everywhere.

By the way, one of the big clan names on the island is Flaherty. That is one of my family names, but I don’t know if they were from Inis Mor or not. It is nice to imagine that some of my ancestors may have walked the same paths I did here though.

You never know.

If you’ve been there, let me know what you think.

DunAcliffDunAoutsideDun A airDunA standing stones

3 thoughts on “Dun Aonghasa

  1. Wow
    Stunning photography, this would have been helpful for a recent two I took to Ireland.
    This is a must read for anyone traveling to the emerald isle.


  2. Wow
    Stunning photography, this would have been helpful for a recent trip I took to Ireland.
    This is a must read for anyone traveling to the emerald isle.


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