The Tiny “Big Island” and Its Giant History

1 Feb

My most prominent memory from my trip to Galway was the day at Inis Mór.

I cannot even imagine what it’s like to live on that tiny island – be that good or bad. I thought I grew up in a rural, pretty area but the Aran Islands put Western New York to shame. Attending a university with a student population of 17,000, I always amaze people by telling them I graduated with 85 people. That’s more than the total number of high school students on “The Big Island” of the Aran Islands. The total population is less than twice that of my dorm building last semester. A tiny island yet it holds 7,000 miles of adorable stone walls. And if there’s one thing the Irish can build its loose stone walls. Speaking of, the highlight of the island was the fort Dun Aengus. Despite my complaints of being secretly tricked into “fat camp,” Dun Aengus was well worth the hike. So picture perfect that I had to consciously stop taking photos and actually take in the beauty surrounding me: the hills of the island, the incredible stone structure of the fort, and breathtaking view of the cliffs and ocean – all in one panoramic shot.

Coming from a place where any and all structures are two hundred years old at most and built synthetically it was stunning and mind-boggling to stand in a fort built of loose stone over 2000 years ago by hand. And I heard a language being spoken casually that was just as old.

The inhabitants of that island love it. They built a retirement home so that some never even had to leave. They do not mind being put on a show for tourists, and they are extremely nice! While I can’t imagine having grown up there, I’m incredibly thankful as it was a pleasure to experience.

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