Dún Aonghasa, Inis Mór- Arann Islands

29 Sep

This past weekend, we took our study tour to the west of Ireland. Staying in the hostel in Galway was lovely; the city was smaller than Dublin, and had a friendly, quaint feeling about it. The part of the trip that stayed with me the most, however, was when we were ferried out to the largest of the Arann Islands: Inis Mór. We arrived on the dock of a seemingly dreary town. The sky was grey and the wind made it that much colder. After about thirty minutes of wandering around, browsing the sweater shop, we were loaded into vans for a tour of the island. On my bus, we were dropped off with no instruction other than “be back here in two hours.” My friends and I were confused because this town didn’t really seem to have that much to offer, other than a restaurant with what I thought was the best tomato soup I’d ever had. After scarfing down the lunch that we had been waiting so long to have, we drifted in and out of tiny tourist shops. They had virtually the same items in each store, so we began wondering what we were actually meant to be doing here. We passed two of our ISAs and asked just that. Apparently, our bus tour guide was supposed to have given us tickets to go hike up to a fort (Dún Aonghasa). Looking at my watch, we only had an hour and half left, so we booked it in the direction of the fort. We passed other friends who raved about the view and that only made us hike in double time (though it was hard not to stop and take photos). When we finally reached the top, we were speechless. The fort was simply a circular stone wall, with another wall within it. The wall ended, however, at the cliff so the whole left side of the fort was open to the sea. I assume there must have been a wall there at some point, but today it is nothing but horizon. I had never seen so much ocean at once. I laid down on my stomach and let my head hang over the edge of the cliff, looking down at the crashing waves on the rocks. I say “hang” when really there was just a wall of wind, blowing straight up from the face of the cliff. My hair was standing straight up! It made for some interesting photos. Standing on the edge of the cliff, looking down, I have never felt more alive. It was an terrifying and exhilarating experience, and not one I will soon forget.

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