Perched on the edge of some of the highest cliffs in Ireland, the ancient fortress of Dun Aonghasa is a spectacular sight. The Neolithic monument will whip your breath away with the Atlantic breeze, and spark your imagination of how the old Irish folk lived in this Bronze Age settlement. Dun Aengus is on Inishmore, one of the Aran Islands, and although there are only a handful of accommodation options on the island itself, Galway is only a short ferry ride away, where you can find a good choice of hotels, guesthouses, and family-run bed and breakfasts.
The Wonders of Ancient Ireland: Dun Aengus
When people first settled in Dun Aengus – an Anglicisation of the Irish name, Dun Aonghasa – it’s hard to imagine what they could have been thinking. The fortress is on top of a cliff at the edge of Inishmore, one of the Aran Islands, and life cannot have been easy for the Bronze Age and Iron Age people. The soil on the cliff top is battered by winds straight from the Atlantic ocean, stripping the rocks of much nutrition. The position is so precarious that archaeologists believe that a substantial portion of the fort has fallen into the sea in the millennia since it was built.
On the other hand, the views are breathtaking and it must have been easy for the ancients to defend such a position. Certainly the builders of Dun Aengus were expecting trouble – there are four defensive walls that are thick enough to withstand a cannon ball and the architects of Dun Aengus included rows of vicious, spiky stones, known as Chevaux-de-Frise, which would impale any army reckless enough to run at them.
Irish legend has it that Dun Aengus was built by the Fir Bolgs, a mythical race said to have colonised Ireland 2,000 years ago. More recent archaeological surveys, which began in Victorian times, suggest that Dun Aengus was inhabited at least 1,000 years before that, with burial chambers and other antiquities found on the site.
Visitors to Dun Aengus face a stiff climb up to the top of the cliffs, although when they get there the fortress has been modified to some extent to make it more accessible to visitors, with stairs and other amenities. There is also a museum with information and speculation about the origins and purpose of Dun Aengus.
Find a Hotel Close by Dun Aengus
The stark, dazzling beauty of Dun Aengus is a must see for any visitor to Galway. The combination of ancient history and gorgeous sea views is enough on its own, but there’s enough other things to do in the area to make it worth a repeat visit. The island of Inishmore has some great hotels to choose from and Expedia can help out, giving you plenty of information to make the right choice and find the perfect place for you. Dun Aengus is something every visitor will enjoy.