Stones, stones, and more stones!

Trip Start May 22, 2009
Trip End Feb 16, 2010

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Flag of Ireland  , Western Ireland,
Monday, July 6, 2009

Today we were setting off to the Aran Islands.  There are 3 different ones, and they all have very small populations, practice some traditional farming, and are skattered with old ruins. 

We set off to the Tourist Information office to get our tickets and board the bus.  When our bus pulled up, the driver told us there was no room for us and defiantly no room for the bikes ~ WHAT???   At the ticket office we were told we could bring them.  Standing in the pouring rain I put on my saddest face and asked pleadingly what we were to do as we'd already bought our tickets.  After some convincing, the driver allowed us to bring on the bikes and stand with them for the 45 minute drive. 

On the ferry the waves grew steadily higher and higher and we were traveling parallel to them.  The boat started heaving back and forth, and back and forth.  People were trying to walk outside to puke and were getting slammed into the passenger chairs and rails - a kid even flew down the stairs.  Trying to keep our eyes on the horizon we kept our breakfasts down and made it to shore. 

On arrival to the island the sun was shining (which was a great contrast to drizzly Galway), but the wind was howling.  The first thing we encountered was a huge hill heading right into the wind.  All the tourists who had rented bikes on the island were peeling off along the side of the road all the way up the hill for several kilometers. 

We looked for a place for lunch and found an amazing beach.  However, the wind was still so strong we lunched on SANDwiches.  One the way to the beach we were riding down a steep incline where momentum would normally make you coast quite fast.  Heading into the wind, we were slowed considerably and had to pedal to get DOWN hill!

Then up another hill to Dun Aonghasa which is an old fort on a cliff-side.  It's believed it was inhabited from 1500BC - 1000AD.  Made us wonder about who was there and why they felt the need to defend an area like this.  Here they are on a tiny little island (less than 10km in length) in the middle of the water with 300 foot high cliffs on one side...Why wanted their stuff so badly?  What did they have that needed protecting? 

The cliffs along the edge were beautiful too.  I'm really enjoying the ruggedness of the Irish coastlines.  We sat for awhile just listening to the waves thundering against the rocks far below.  Watching the waves forming in the beautiful blue water with seagulls seen from above.  Sitting on the edge which such a magnificent view is a tremendous feeling (although you need to be careful standing up with the strong wind)!

Did some off road cycling among the stone walls.  They twist and turn every which way and sometimes you don't know where you are wen the walls reach heights over your head.  Every once in awhile you get a peak at a horse, or cow, or goat that's in the paddock beyond. 

This little island with mazes of rock walls and strong winds and mysterious structures at every turn is wonderful.  I am sad that we weren't able to explore more and see the other ruins and various sites it had to offer.  But time was just too limited for us to get around to everything in one short afternoon.

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