If you are looking for a place to explore the rich history and culture of the Aran Islands, you might want to visit Dún Eochla, a stone ring fort that is estimated to date back to between 550 and 800 A.D. Dún Eochla is located on the highest point of Inis Mór, the largest of the three Aran Islands, and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape and the Atlantic Ocean.
Dún Eochla is one of the many forts and settlements that dot the Aran Islands, which are known for their preservation of traditional Irish language, music, and crafts. The islands are also home to some of the oldest archaeological sites in Europe, such as Dún Aonghasa, a prehistoric hill fort that stands on the edge of a 100-meter high cliff.
Dún Eochla is not as famous or crowded as Dún Aonghasa, but it is equally impressive and worth a visit. The fort consists of two circular walls that enclose a stone hut (although this could also have just been a repository of stone left from the restoration work). The inner wall is about 5 meters high and 3 meters thick, while the outer wall is lower and thinner. The walls were built with large blocks of limestone that were fitted together without mortar, using a technique called dry-stone construction. The fort was probably used as a defensive structure and a residence for a local chieftain or clan.
The fort was restored in the late 19th century by the Congested Districts Board, a government agency that aimed to improve the living conditions of rural areas in Ireland. The restoration involved rebuilding some of the collapsed sections of the walls and adding a wooden roof to the hut. The restoration was done with respect to the original design and materials of the fort, and it has helped to preserve this remarkable monument for future generations.
To reach Dún Eochla, you can take a bus tour from Kilronan, the main village on Inis Mór, walk, or rent a bike and follow the signs along the road. There is no admission fee or visitor center at the fort, but there are information boards that explain its history and significance.
Dún Eochla is a place where you can immerse yourself in the ancient and unique culture of the Aran Islands, and enjoy the beauty and tranquility of nature. It is a place that will inspire you and make you appreciate the heritage and resilience of the people who have lived there for centuries.
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