A Bit of Ireland- The Aran Islands

Off the western coast of Ireland, the Aran islands lie approximately five miles to the south of Galway. Comprised of three tiny limestone islands, the Aran Islands have rough terrain. The islands in order of size from largest to smallest are: Inishmore, Inishmaan, and Inisheer. It is here that you will find ancient Irish culture still in existence.

The native tongue is still widely spoken on these islands where approximately one thousand people still live. The main industry of these islands has been fishing for the majority of their occupation. However, tourism has been on the rise and is quickly replacing fishing as the means of livelihood.

The western coasts of the islands are inaccessible from the Atlantic Ocean due to cliffs that soar three hundred feet into the air. The islands are picturesque to say the least, and photographic opportunities are truly unique. Many of the dwellings are quaint cottages of whitewashed peat.

The islands are thought to date back to the year 1200 A.D. and offer an interesting prehistoric structure to the eyes of tourists, Dun Aengus. Dun Aengus can be found on the island of Inishmore and its presence makes this island the most popular of the three.

The structure consists of three terraced walls that are semi-circular in shape and made from stone. No one knows the exact purpose of the structure, yet many have made assumptions. The most popular of these is the belief that the Dun Aengus was built as a temple to worship one or more of the ancient gods.

author: Susan Keenan

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