Dun Aonghasa | Inishmore | The Aran Islands | Ireland Website: Dun Aonghasa
Know Before You Go: Dun Aonghasa is on Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands. The ferry to Inishmore is expensive, and there is a fare for admission to Dun Aonghasa as well. Once off the ferry, you can reach the fort by renting either bicycle or taxi from the main village. Length: 12 miles by bicycle + 1.5 miles hiking. Time: 2+ hours bicycling + 1 hour or so hiking. Terrain: Bicycling: paved and gravel narrow roads with some traffic. Hiking: rock, stone stairs, crushed aggregate.Difficulty: There are some difficult hills to bicycle. The hiking is relatively easy but up hill to the fort with some stairs. Dog-friendly: Yes. Dogs must be leashed. Kid-friendly: Yes, but watch the kids near the cliffs as there are not railings or fences to prevent falls. The Aran Islands lie off the coast of County Clare on the central west coast of Ireland. This hike takes you on a gravel path up a large hill to Dun Aonghasa, a prehistoric hill fort dating back 3,000 years on the Aran Island of Inishmore (Inis Mor). Inishmore (Inis Mor), is accessible by ferry; we left from Doolin, but there are a couple ferry services you can use. Once on the island, there are three ways to reach the fort, by tour bus, by bicycle or by taxi. We chose bicycle. We started by bicycling down a road that runs through the center of the island, stopping at several ruins on the way. We made our way to a small market that sits at the base of the hill that holds Dun Aonghasa.
Dun Aonghasa’s primary use was for religious and ceremonial purposes, but it was also built for defense on a large cliff overlooking the sea. It may have been used for seasonal rites by the Druids. Once at the fort, you can hike around inside and see the old stone walls and the magnificent views of the cliffs and the sea. You then hike back down the hill, hop on the bicycle, and can take the coast road back to the docks for some pretty nice views of the surrounding sea. There is also a seal colony on the way. Once you return, there are a couple of restaurants offering Irish fare and some shops that offer locally-crafted woolen goods and other locally-made items.