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Prehistoric Forts

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Dún Aonghasa - Dún Aengus

The Most famous prehistoric fort of the Aran islands is situated in Árainn at the edge of a cliff approximately a hundred meters high and dominates at the other side the area of Cill Mhuirbhigh. It's surely the most spectacular place of the island and the best moments to visit it is very early in the morning or After sunset when peace returns and the waves of the sea can be heard breaking up with strong violence to the base of the cliff.

According to mythology, Aengus, son of the God Dagda and the Goddess Boann (personification of the Boyne river), was King of the Fir Bolg, a Celtic tribe who settled down on Aran and constructed these forts for protecting themselves from the inhabitants of the "continent".

It's constituted by 4 series of concentric walls and the first ring is in some points 4 meters of height and are formed by 3 different levels. The original shape was presumably oval or D-shaped and it is thought that the ending part is collapsed for the continuous erosions of the sea, but do not exist written testimonies on the original shape of this fort. In the inside a large rectangular stone slab is visible that faces to the cliff: which was its function is not given to know.
An interesting aspect of this fort is the massive stone Chevaux de Frise (this indicates a defensive system based on using slabs stone or wood that planted in the ground made the access difficult, especially to horses) that extends all around the third line of walls. In some points it's still very well preserved.

There are still large doubts on the function of these forts, especially because from the inside it wasn't possible to have an easy view of the enemy that were approaching and therefore the hypotheses that considered these buildings to have defensive functions are uncertain; but the presence of the Chevaux de Frise makes clear that the access to the fort was wanted to be made difficult. Some studies suggest instead the use of this place for ceremonies, seasonal and magical rites made by the druids.

At the entrance a small museum illustrates the history of the fort and the multiple functions that it could have. The entrance is for a fee.

Dún Dúchatair - Black Fort

It's the other large fort of the island, situated on a stone promontory that stretches out to the sea, to the cliffs to the South.

Outside there is single line of walls that reaches up to 6 meters in height and 5 meters in depth. Also in this case it is presumable that part of the construction collapsed.

To the inside of the walls, in the central area, there are some ruins of those that should have been rooms with unknown functions constructed in medieval age.

Also in Dún Dúchatair there is a Chevaux de Frise that protected the entrance, but it's much less preserved than the one visible at Dún Aonghasa

Dún Eoghanachta

The difference with the two other forts, is that this one was constructed far away from the sea, on a hill to the West of the island.

It's of circular shape with walls constituted by 3 sections that reaches 5 meters in height and 4 meters in depth. Some stones are arranged as stairs they allowing the passage between the several levels. It was partially reconstructed during the restorations of 1880.
in the inside there are traces of 3 rooms of rectangular shape on the western side of the fort.

Dún Eochla

Prehistoric Fort of circular shape on a hill in the centre of the island, position that allowed an almost complete vision of all the surrounding area.

It's constituted by 2 series of walls of which the inner measures approximately 5 meters in height and 3,5 meters in depth. The stones disposed in circle in the inside of the fort are result of operations of cleaning and restoration of the past century.

In the area that encircles the Dún Eochla has been organized a small heritage park that shows some characteristic elements of the Aran islands: among the other things you will see a Neolithic tomb, an illegal distillery, a sighting beacon of... century and a thatched house in which it is possible to enter to understand the lifestyle of the inhabitants of the Aran in the past century. The entrance is for a fee.

Dún Chonchúir

The only important Prehistoric Fort on Inis Meáin is situated on a hill in the centre of the island, in a decidedly favourable position.

It's of oval shape with two series of walls; in the inside there are rests of rooms with stone wall.

 

Dún Aonghasa (6Kb)
Dún Aonghasa and the chaveux de Frise (6Kb)
Cliffs near the Dún Aonghasa (5Kb)
Inside the Dún Dúchatair (5Kb)
Rooms of the Dún Dúchatair (5Kb)
The walls (6Kb)
The cliff of Dún Dúchatair (6Kb)
Dún Eoghanachta (5Kb)
Dún Eochla (6Kb)
The entrance of Dún Eochla (5Kb)
The old tower (5Kb)
Dún Eochla soaked in fog (5Kb)
The entrance of the Dún Eochla museum (4Kb)
A tomb near Dún Eochla (6Kb)
A tomb near Dún Aonghasa (6Kb)

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