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Ireland: The Aran Islands

The ruins of Dun Aenghus on the west side facing the open sea, on the top of a high cliff with crashing waves below–a long walk to get there between the ubiquitous stone wall (there are 7000 miles of them on the island!) surrounding small fields. It’s not really known what this site was, perhaps a fort? I think that’s what dun means but they really aren’t sure. They think it is nearly 3000 years old.

At Dun Aenghus, where the limestone has not been turned into fields by layering seaweed and bits of sand and soil from cracks and I suppose dung and letting it all compost, the stone is relatively flat and cracked into rough rectangles from freezing during the winters. Whoever built this place took pieces of limestone and upended them in a wide band around the site. They remind one of the Jewish cemeteries of Prague with their tipped and falling gravestones, leaning into one another. These are assumed to be a deterrent to attackers, creating a obstacle for invaders. It’s also beautiful.

the walk up

first view


entering
the setting


looking the other direction (north

doorway into the Dun
first of several views from the site


looking out from the dun to the Atlanticlooking out from the Dun to the Atlantic


the deterrent field of stones

All the stone walls on the island have names. They originally served a double purpose,  clear the fields as well as wall them.  The wall a ‘dry’ i.e. there is no mortar holding them together. They purposely leave holes for two reasons: allow the strong winds to blow thru so they don’t blow them down and to allow for air circulation so the fields don’t get too soaked.

the walls against the sky looked like lace to me



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