Dún Aonghasa is an ancient ring fort at the edge of Europe. The site has been in use for over four thousand years. It is a highly sacred place in Gaelic Folklore. If you were to go west from it you would not hit land until you reached Newfoundland. It is a powerful, remote, and mystical place. It is located on the island of Inishmore on the Aran Islands. I went there on May 1st and it was one of the defining moments of my trip
When I say Dún Aonghasa is remote I mean it. My trip there involved a 6 hour plane flight to Ireland, A drive to Galway, then a bus to the port where the ferry was, a hour long ferry ride to the island, then a drive across the island to reach the base of the climb
At the base there are a few small shops, I will have an article later that talks more about Inishmore itself, but there is a small cafe at the base that serves the best Guinness Beef Stew. There is a fee most days to climb the mountain, but the first of May was a Irish Heritage day so a ticket was not needed to climb to the top. The climb is about twenty five to thirty minutes to the top of Dún Aonghasa, and it is a climb.
The path up is old , it gets more rugged as you get closer. At first its a nice gravel path, as you get close to the top it becomes older and more uneven ground. the site is unfortunately not handicap accessible because of this, but any renovation to the site would be damaging to the legacy of the site. There is an outer wall with a larger what used to be courtyard, and then the inner sanctum of the ring fort which is another few steps into the main round of the ring fort.
As a Druid this site was very special to visit, particularly on the day I went. May 1st as many would know is the Celtic holiday of Beltane. This site according to legend is where the gods of the Gaelic pantheon made land fall. This place is one of the most sacred sites of Ireland, and when you feel the stones at the peak it is hard to not think about the fact someone four thousand years ago had to of placed that stone there. You can feel the power of the site the moment you step onto the path to the summit. The climb that should of been hard was easy for me. Being up there on Beltane was important because that was the day the Tuatha De Dana came to Ireland, and it is also when people would gather for a festival and the elders would gather to make decisions about the coming year.
When I got to the inner sanctum I just walked to the back wall and put my hand on the stone wall behind me, I had a about 25 minutes to meditate on things. It is a very peaceful place. I did however not walk to the edge to lookout like many people did. It was a very important step in my journey spiritually to have meditated there.
There is one thing about the site that for some may spoil the majesty of the place, and that is all the tourists at the peak. It is part of what keeps the people of Inishmoore able to live on the island. Tourism is the main draw of this quiet little island on the edge of Ireland. Too many tourists is really not a good thing, you need to preserve and protect the history that is on the island. Enough people need to come though each year to keep the lights on. I talked with the guide we were with and he mentioned that they really don’t want the island to get UNESCO status because then people would flood in to see the island. There is far more to the island than what they tell the tourists. Much of the stories and histories of the people on the island is still passed down by oral tradition.
I am going to go back to Dún Aonghasa and the Aran Islands. I was told if I want to see more of the island it would be best for me to actually stay the night on the island. I will probably do that next time I go back. I have never felt a more ancient energy in a place than I did atop Dún Aonghasa, and it would be hard to match that feeling again.
As always hope you enjoyed reading,
Go With The Winds.
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