If you are looking for a unique and fascinating destination to explore the rich history and culture of Ireland, you might want to consider visiting Dún Fearbhui, also known as Dún Fearbhaí or Ferboy’s Fort, a stone fort on the island of Inis Meáin, one of the Aran Islands. Dún Fearbhui (Dún Fearbhaí / Ferboy’s Fort) is a remarkable example of ancient Irish architecture and engineering, dating back to somewhere between the 1st and 7th century AD.

Dún Fearbhui is located on the eastern side of Inis Meáin, the middle Island of the three Aran Islands. The island is accessible by ferry from Rossaveal in County Galway or Doolin in County Clare, or by plane from Connemara Regional Airport. The fort is about 2 km from the main village and pier, and can be reached by foot or bike.

The fort stands on a steep incline overlooking Galway Bay, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape and the other islands. It has an unusual ‘D’ shape, following the natural contours of the hillside. It consists of two concentric walls and one terrace, enclosing an area of about 50 by 40 meters. The walls are made of large limestone blocks, fitted together without mortar, and are about 4 meters high and 3 meters thick. The entrance is on the south side, facing the sea, and is protected by a guard chamber. Inside the fort, there are traces of circular stone huts that may have been used for living or storage.

Unfortunately, little is known about the origin and purpose of Dún Fearbhui. It is not mentioned in any historical or literary sources, unlike the other forts on the Aran Islands, such as Dún Aonghasa on Inis Mór or Dún Chonchúir on Inis Meáin. It is possible that it was built by a local chieftain or clan leader, who may have been called Fearbhaí or Ferboy, as a defensive or ceremonial site. Alternatively, it may have been a refuge for monks or hermits seeking isolation and contemplation.

The name Dún Fearbhui may derive from the Irish word fearbhuí (yellow man), which could refer to a person with blond hair or a skin condition. According to local folklore, there was once a giant called Fearbhuí who lived in the fort and terrorized the islanders. He was eventually killed by another giant called Fionn Mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool), who threw a huge boulder at him from across the sea. The boulder landed on top of Fearbhuí’s head, crushing him to death. The boulder can still be seen today near the fort, and is known as Cloch Fhionn (Finn’s Stone).

Dún Fearbhui is one of the hidden gems of Inis Meáin and the Aran Islands. It is a place where you can experience the ancient history and culture of Ireland in a peaceful and scenic setting. You can admire the skill and craftsmanship of the builders who created this impressive structure without any modern tools or techniques. You can also enjoy the natural beauty and tranquility of the island, which has inspired many writers and artists over the years, such as John Millington Synge, Seamus Heaney and Paul Durcan.


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Dun Fearbhui



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