I just finished writing this whole blog and then lost it somehow…Excuse me while I scream….Arrrrrrgggghhhhhhh!
We got up early to catch the ferry to Inishmor which is the largest of the Aran Islands. Weather looked terrible, but forecast was to clear and by the time we got to the ferry it was looking better. The lady next to me was French and when she spoke to me in French I used the few words I have. “Je m’appelle Patrice, and Je parle Francais un petite”
She looked blank for a second and then repeated it properly, nodding and laughing, and then that was that. I guess she realised it would be hopeless, haha! The boat swung gently from side to side and with the occasional bob. I thought it felt like a baby being gently rocked…and so promptly fell to sleep.
As the day went on weather improved markedly and ended up amazing. When we arrived we could either walk or hire a bike or go by mini bus or hire a horse and gig. I think the horse would have been the most expensive choice at e50, but we thought it would be the best and I’m so glad we did this.
The driver was lovely, tho I couldn’t for the life of me pronounce his name. We headed off for a three hour return trip to the fort and as we left I closed my eyes and imagined myself in Nanas day. The scent of the horse wafting back to the buggy and the side to side motion with his clip clop on the cobbles and the drivers occasional “go-on” was most enjoyable. I opened my eyes, and while the ground is green with fresh spring growth it’s mostly rock, and a hard place to live I’m sure, perched there in the Atlantic.
Our driver answered our questions and with a very enjoyable running commentary explained his family had been there for some 200 years or more and spanned several generations. In his, his fathers time and before they lived on fishing and potatoes. The ground is divided into smaller squares to allow for cultivation and of course all those rocks have to be put somewhere, so everything is walled. His children and most of the younger generation however are better educated and move away. It’s impossible to make a living from fishing in small boats with the current regulations so most fish for themselves only now, but he explained the seasons and what they used to catch and when.
It’s hilly and I thanked God we never chose the bike or walking option. We were dropped at the base of the Remains of the Fort – Dun Aonghasa and it was quite a walk up. It took us a couple of hours to walk there and back. The earliest remains of this date to the bronze era and they don’t really know if it was built and used for religious or ceremonial or economic reasons.
Built with dry stone walling which allows the wind to filter through much has remained in tact and it was a pretty amazing site. Walking up there the warm winds were quite gusty as you would imagine coming off the coast, but as we stepped through an entrance to the walled fort it was immediately sheltered and sunny, and some fifty metres or more up from the water. It was a huge space and could easily have taken a thousand or more people. Things like this blow me away.