An Eye Opening View

9 Oct

            This past weekend, I traveled, along with the other students in the Irish Life and Culture class to the West coast of Ireland. We began on Friday, with a journey a little under three hours, via coach, from Dublin to Galway. We then enjoyed spending time in Galway on Friday afternoon and evening, taking in local shops, sights and pubs. On Saturday, we traveled to the Aran Islands and spent the day at Inis Mór. Inis Mór is the largest of the three Aran Islands. The name Inis Mór means “big island”. We were fortunate enough to have wonderful weather (sunny and warm with a slight breeze) for our day of adventure. My favorite part of the day was exploring Dun Aengus.  After approximately a twenty-minute hike up a rocky, steep series of hills we reached Dun Aengus. Dun Aengus is a historical fort that rests at the highest point of the cliffs. It was a beautiful view from the top and allowed us to see for miles. Long ago, Dun Aengus was used as a fort by indigenous tribes. Historically, because of its location and vantage point, the fort was used to monitor approaching sea traffic, coming from the Atlantic Ocean. The fort was built in a strategic location. The location allowed for strong defense and offense and, being on the edge of a cliff reduced the risk of surprise raids. This was significant to the people who inhabited the fort, high-ranking, important members of tribes. During this time, raids and conquests were a very real threat. Similar examples of this include the Viking and Norman raids. I found it most fascinating that after so many years, the Irish people are still able to preserve and maintain such a significant piece of architectural history, such as Dun Aengus. It is evident that the fort is a centerpiece of tourism for the island. In coordination, tourism is the main source of income for the predominately Irish-speaking island. I enjoyed the opportunity to be immersed in a more rural area than I typically see in Dublin. Both the weekend trip, as well as our day at Inis Mór, provided a great deal of history that I was able to relate to the topics covered in lecture. 

 

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