Dun Aengus (Dún Aonghasa) is probably the most fantastic of the numerous prehistoric stone forts on the island of Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands. It is believed that people inhabited this hilltop, beside a 100 metre cliff, from as early as 1500BC. According to the Book of Invasions Dun Aengus was named after a leader of the Fir Bolg, a race from the Irish mythological sagas and the fourth set of peoples to settle in Ireland. This leader was known as Aenghus, King of Clann Umoir. It appears that Dun Aengus was heavily inhabited from 1100BC to 700BC, its peak being around 800BC, however after this the population declined and it appears it was only used intermittently up into the early medieval era. This has led some to surmise that it may have been a meeting place or a place for religious or political/dynasty rites at a later stage in its life. Others have also questioned how much of this wonderful monument has fallen the 100 metre drop into the sea and if the fort would have been circular at its peak.
The fort covers an area of 14 acres and three defensive walls protect the structure. Another defensive method is a feature named the ‘Chevaux de Frise” (circa 700BC) which is the section of upright, pointed stones placed densely around one of the walls. This design was to impede any attackers on horseback and to make any approach far more arduous and vulnerable. Dun Aengus is a truly unique monument and its positioning on the very edge of Inishmore is truly magnificent, certainly worth the trek!
GPS: 53.12543, -9.76659