Inner Ring, at last

Site of earliest construction, 1,100 BC

A view to the northwest from within Dun Aonghasa in springtime. The interior a karst formation (see my post, ” Galway Bay View from Dún Aonghasa”), the grikes filled with grass and a sprinkling of white and yellow flowers, a cloudscape rising over the walls. Inishmore, Aran Islands, County Galway, Ireland.

Click me for the FIRST post of this series, “Horse Trap on Inishmore.”

Reference: wikipedia Dún Aonghasa

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Grykes and Clints

where the wildflowers grow

The exposed limestone of the Aran Islands here transitions to a fertile field of grass, husbanded by generations of islanders. Photograph was taken from the path on Inishmore leading up to Dun Aonghasa. 

The Aran Islands are an extension of The Burren of Ireland’s Counties Claire and Galway.  The word burren is from the Irish Boireann, meaning “great rock.”  The glaciers that covered Ireland, retreating about 10,000 years ago, scraped down to the bedrock, exposing wide areas of limestone and dropping, here and there, large rocks.  When people came along the foreign nature of the large rocks was recognized, all the more obvious for lying on the horizontally bedded, exposed limestone.  We call the foreign rocks erratics.  The underlying scoured rock is a pavement for a resemblance to a cobbled roadway.

The incised line, filled with grass and wildflowers, in the following photograph is called a gryke.  The body of stone between the grykes are clints.  Sometimes, the grykes are cross hatched and the clints resemble cobblestones or flat paving stones. 

The view is northeast toward the 12 Bens of Connemara. Inishmore, Aran Islands, County Galway, Ireland

Click the photograph for a larger view.

Click the link for my Getty IStock photography of the Aran Islands

Click me for the FIRST post of this series, “Horse Trap on Inishmore.”

References: search wikipedia “The Burren” and Google “gryke”, “clint.”

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Modern Drystone, Dún Aonghasa

a season of wildflowers across a karsk landscape

Modern stonework borders the 1/2 mile path to the inner Dún Aonghasa walls, keeping tourists off delicate plants, maintaining the integrity of this ancient site. 

The view north, northwest over the walled path to Dun Aonghasa (Dun Aengus) looking across karst landscape, walled fields, farms, the North Atlantic Ocean, coast of Connemara and the 12 Bens (12 Pins) mountains. Aran Islands, County Galway, Ireland.

Click the photograph for a larger view.

Click me for the first post of this series, “Horse Trap on Inishmore.”

References: search wikipedia “Dún Aonghasa.”

Stiffed

The bicycle rental place got the short end…unfortunately.

Admittedly, I over-planned the Ireland trip.  For every day possible the venues were pre-booked and paid.  In theory planning provides more flexibility when life interrupts.

For the Inishmore planning, a perfect day, for me, was tooling around on a bicycle stopping where we pleased with welcome exercise in between.  That was unrealistic, the day worked out otherwise. 

Click the link for my Getty IStock photography of the Aran Islands

Upon disembarking from Queen of Aran, our ferry out of Doolin, onto the Kilronan quay we walked toward the bicycle rental and Pam refused to bicycle. Her objections were many, safety, impending rain, time. She did have a point about time, the ferry leaves at a set time leaving errant tourists to fend for themselves. We were unused to cycling, still Dun Aonghasa is just over 5 miles from Kilronan, less than an hour round trip. With our starting time of 11:30 am there was 3.5 hours slack for returning to the quay before the 4 pm departure. Plenty of time for wandering the ruins and stopping along the way.

We followed Pam’s advice. Still there were the many bicyclists. Perched on our horse drawn carriage, on the uphill runs, each bicyclist we passed was proof positive to Pam of the wisdom of our choice. I was silently envious of their freedom and overlooked the many mini-buses on the narrow road.

When the day comes to mind, not often, I am left with the guilty feeling of not stopping into the bicycle rental office to cancel the reservation. An email was waiting for me the next day, asking where we were. Thus, the title of this post, “Stiffed.”

Pam’s Response to this post.

Pam’s reasons for not wanting to ride a bicycle around Inishmore:
“I hadn’t been on a bike for approximately 20 years.  However, if it wasn’t going to rain (it did), if the narrow road was larger, if there weren’t any minibuses loaded to the gills or horse traps sharing the same single lane, I would have considered it.  Sitting back and enjoying the beautiful view on our private horse trap and listening to our very knowledgeable tour guide/driver was the highlight of this adventure for me. I am sorry you felt like you didn’t have a choice.”

Pam’s correction of my statement about her being concerned about time:
“Time wasn’t a factor in my decision making.  I also didn’t have a problem with you biking but there was no way I was going to do that.”

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

What is a rock? What is a stone?

Daisies are a plus

Enjoying travel on a horse trap, a type of carriage, on Inishmore , the largest Aran Island in Galway bay, we headed up Cottage Road from Kilronan, the main island settlement. It was from Kilronan we disembarked from the ferry, hired the driver and trap. Our destination an Iron Age fort, Dun Aengus, and sights along the way.

Dry Stone walls abound throughout Ireland.  Ancient walls, buried in peat, were discovered in County Mayo and dated to 3,800 BC.  This is a field wall on Cottage Road with daisies growing at the wall base.

Click the link for my Getty IStock photography of the Aran Islands

Roadside Daisies against dry rock wall on Cottage Road, Inishmor

The wall is composed of stones, not rocks. I have read in places a stone is a rock put to use or shaped by human hands. Other usages have rock and stone used interchangeably. For example, an internet search on “Dry Rock Wall” will return hits on the same. “You pays your money and takes your choice.”

Sources for this post: search Wikipedia for “Dry Stone”.

Click me for the first post of this series, “Horse Trap on Inishmore.”

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Galway Bay View from Dún Aonghasa

a season of wildflowers across a karsk landscape

Another aspect of the gradual 1/2 mile inclined path to the central ring of the prehistoric Dun Aonghasa ruins of County Galway, Ireland.

The view north, northwest from this way to Dun Aonghasa (Dun Aengus).  In early June, looking across wildflowers, karst landscape, walled fields, farms, the North Atlantic Ocean, coast of Connemara and the 12 Bens (12 Pins) mountains. 

Note the doorway (with long lintel) in the surrounding wall, to left of center in middle distance.

Click the photograph for a larger view.

Click the link for my Getty IStock photography of the Aran Islands
Click me for the first post of this series, “Horse Trap on Inishmore.”

References: search wikipedia “Dún Aonghasa.”

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Island Shrine

part of the Irish landscape

Modern stonework borders the 1/2 mile path to the inner Dún Aonghasa walls, keeping tourists off delicate plants, maintaining the integrity of this ancient site. 

The view north, northwest over the walled path to Dun Aonghasa (Dun Aengus) looking across karst landscape, walled fields, farms, the North Atlantic Ocean, coast of Connemara and the 12 Bens (12 Pins) mountains. Aran Islands, County Galway, Ireland.ng lintel) in the surrounding wall, to left of center in middle distance.

Click the photograph for a larger view.

Click the link for my Getty IStock photography of the Aran Islands

A roadside shrine on Cottage Road, Inishmore. The faith brought by the saints has deep roots here.

A large crucifix set with wet stone walls with cut flowers. The walls are the native limestone.

It is a spring (early June) afternoon and there are fern and wildflowers. The white flowers are Greater Burnet saxifrage (Scientific Name: Pimpinella major).

The existing dry stone wall was interrupted by the shrine. In the distance are dry stone walls around fields, a stone shed, feeding horses and the sea, being Galway Bay, storm clouds with distant rain.

Aran Islands, County Galway, Ireland.

Click me for the first post of this series, “Horse Trap on Inishmore.”

References: search google “Wet Stone”

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Where a fort falls away

An abrupt emptiness

Here is the east side of the inner enclosure wall of Dun Aonghasa (Dun Aengus) where it ends at a cliff edge over the Atlantic ocean.

Visible are the last 60 feet or so of the limestone strata supporting the inner ring.

When first constructed, the inner ring was complete, the western side 1,000 feet from the cliff.. Today’s form of a semi-circle was created by nature when the force of Atlantic Ocean waves eroded the cliff, undercutting the strata.

Look close to see a fracture where the next block of limestone will fall into the waves.

Wishing a blessed All Saints Day (November 1st) for all my readers.

Click me for the first post of this series, “Horse Trap on Inishmore.”

Reference: wikipedia Dún Aonghasa, Sea Campion

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Shape of the land

Connections, near and far

From the commanding location of Dun Aonghasa, looking northeast across Inishmore island, we can understand why the ancient builders chose this location.

We also see the transition from exposed limestone to the fields built literally from the ground up (see my post “The How of Soil”).  For a closer view of island houses see my posts “Settled In” and “Cottage Road Cottage.”

The field walls are described in my posts, “What is a rock, what is a stone?” and “Stone on Stone.”

Click the photograph for a larger view.  Enjoy!!

Click the link for my Getty IStock photography of the Aran Islands

Click me for the first post of this series, “Horse Trap on Inishmore.”

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Yikes

…this defensive structure evokes the enormous scale of the struggles around this place of defense. 

A span of 10,000 years spreads between now and the first possibility of settlement on the island of Eire, then swept clean to bare rock by the weight of ice.  Current scholarship of the Dún Aonghasa ruins place a settlement within the inner of the four dry stone rings after 6,500 years (1,500 BC or 3,500 years ago).  By way of scale, the first settlement took 30 times the duration of the U.S. Constitution ratification through 2019 and 16 times from 1,500 BC until 2019 ( 6,500 / 219 = ~30 ; 3,500 / 219 = ~16.  The last state, Rhode Island, ratified the Constitution 1789).

By 700 BC, 2,700 years ago, a series of upright, closely placed stones, were erected between the second and third rings called a cheval de fries field (“Frisian horses” in English) today, this defensive structure evokes the enormous scale of the struggles around this place of defense.  

This is a portion of that field, I believe, taken as Pam and I approach the inner ring entrance, walking a wide path cleared of barriers.  Click the photograph for a larger image with caption.

Click the link for my Getty IStock photography of the Aran Islands

Click me for the first post of this series, “Horse Trap on Inishmore.”

References: search wikipedia for “Dún Aonghasa” and Google “cheval de fries definition” and “Dún Aonghasa.”

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved