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“Dun Aengus, Rain and Shine”
Review of Dun Aonghasa

Dun Aonghasa
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Aran Islands Scenic Flight and Galway Tour from Dublin
Ranked #1 of 14 things to do in Inishmore
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Perched on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Dun Aonghasa is the largest of the prehistoric stone forts of the Aran Islands. It is enclosed by three massive dry-stone walls and a chevaux-de-frise consisting of blocks of limestone set vertically into the ground to deter attackers. Originally constructed c.1100BC, it was re-fortified around 700-800 AD. Excavations revealed significant evidence of prehistoric metalworking, as well as several burials. Visitor safety information: The fort is about 1km from the Visitors Centre and is approached over rising ground. The last section of the path is over rough, natural rock and care is needed, especially when descending. Boots or strong walking shoes are recommended. There is no fence or barrier at the edge of the cliff.
Reviewed June 6, 2014

A few weeks ago I traveled to Inishmore on Michael Faherty's tour of the island. One of the highlights of the tour was the time spent in the area of and atop Dún Aonghasa, or Dun Aengus in its anglicized version. This ancient fortress dates back to 1100 BC and is mightily impressive, as much for where it sits as for its defenses. Perched on a cliffside it commands views that would have enabled its inhabitants to spot enemies on the approach from land or sea. Certainly it was used as a fortress, but also, from archeological explorations, by a pre-Christian, probably Druidic religion for ceremonies.

To get to the actual site involves paying a fee at its Visitor Centre, then climbing gently, for the most part along a path, towards the end stepping on stones. It is not terribly difficult, but can be tricky in the sun, slippery in the rain.

I experienced both on my climb. I was among the first off the tour bus as the mere view of it in the distance set my heart pounding. When I began the ascent it was intermittently cloudy and sunny, and windy (be prepared for winds on Inishmore, as you're almost never without them). But weather changes rapidly here, and just as I was about to gain access to the fortress itself it began to rain, then rain hard, with the aid of the wind pelting me with what I felt could have been sleet or tiny bits of hail. In hindsight I believe it was simply rain, but what a rain!

So come prepared. I had a poncho handy in my day bag, but even so I was soaked everywhere not explicitly covered by the poncho. I suppose I could have given up and headed back down immediately, but it was my only chance to see it, and to see FROM it, so I plunged on to different sections of the fort, observing and attempting to photograph the site and the cliffs on either side of it. I was fortunate that my little point-and-shoot survived, but several of my photos were spotted with raindrops.

Still, it was exhilarating, and the sudden storm said as much to me as anything else that day of the hardy nature of the inhabitants (about 800) of Inishmore. I'm glad I made the climb, glad that I endured the rain and wind, very glad to have seen this fascinating ancient site.

Thank DottoreGianni
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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628 - 632 of 1,107 reviews

Reviewed June 1, 2014

I had read about this and seen lots of pictures, but you really have to see it to believe it. The views from the fort are stunning, and it's possible to sit right on the edge. Visitors are strictly forbidden to climb the walls, but otherwise are welcome to explore as they please. Friendly and knowledgeable staff are available to answer questions.

Thank TravelBug62458
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2014

Loved it, we were up there nearly alone in the evening. A great cliff fort and a wonderful walk. Great views of the cliffs of the island, and the blowhole!

Thank Puffallump
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2014

Love this place! Great place for people willing to walk and climb to high places. Young Children will be a bit of a challenge! Amazing view!

Thank Mags B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2014

My husband and I biked from the town center to the base of Dun Aengus (visitor center- not the friendliest people working there). At that point, you must walk the rest of the way up, about 15 minutes. The views were tremendous- the Cliffs of Moher have NOTHING on this place! It is an amazing experience to be at such an historical site with such raw beauty and not to have any other tourists with you! My husband and I took an early flight to Inismore so we were able to be the first tourists of the day up there- an unforgettable experience!

Thank CMD11115
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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