A Weekend in the West

2 Oct

If you were to ask me to describe last weekend in just a couple of words, I would say that it was compelling yet informative at the same time.  For four days we stayed in Galway, a city located in the West of Ireland in the province of Connacht.  The three main sites we visited were the Cliffs of Moher, Ailwee Caves, and the Aran Islands.  During those four days I learned more about Irish history and got to experience a whole different side of Ireland.  One of my favorite parts of the study tour was visiting Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran Islands in population (approximately 840 people live there).  Climbing up Dun Aonghasa and dangling my feet off the edges of the cliffs was exhilarating and unlike anything I have ever experienced or seen.  It was as if I went back in time, back thousands of years ago to the first Stone Age where there was nothing but rocky terrain and cows grazing by the road.

What I found interesting was the architecture and shape of the fort.  Dun Aonghasa is not shaped like a standard fort; it is in the shape of a semi-circle with the inner part facing the Atlantic Ocean.  It covers 14 acres of land and is protected by an outer layer of jagged stone known as Chevaux de frise.  The inner layers were used mostly for defense, whereas the outer layers protected livestock.

Visting Dun Aonghasa gave me a different perspective of Ireland.  The past month was spent mostly in the city center, so spending some time away from all the hustle and bustle of the city was therapeutic.  As I stood on top of the cliffs, all the stress I had within the past week slowly faded away.  In that moment, all my problems seemed so insignificant.  For once I was able to live in the moment and appreciate the beauty of nature.

– Christine Lee

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