Aran Islands

Mythology

According to legend Galway Bay was once a large lake known as Loch Lurgan which in ancient times eroded its banks, leaving the Aran Islands battling against the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. In the photograph you can see the cliffs of Moher seven miles away.

History

The islands contain the ruins of a number of early churches, of which Teaghlach Einne, near Killeany on Inishmore, was the most important. The ruins are now largely submerged under sand. The islands are also noted for a number of well-preserved early fortifications, of which the largest is Dún Aengus on Inis Mór, a semicircular stone fort on the cliff top dating from the Bronze Age (c. 700 BCE).

Farming

The land was cleared by hand, breaking up rock pavements which became the walls around small fields. The stone walls are remarkable in their strength. No concrete or binding material is used which enables wind to pass through the walls easily, giving them stability in gales. There are over one thousand miles of stone walls on Inis Mór which is just ten miles long.