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simon3: Track 3598 in area near An Droim Rua, Oileáin Árann (Ireland)
Forts, a monster, invasions, rocky walls and limestone.
Length: 16.5km, Creator time taken: 5h11m, Ascent: 300m,
Descent: 248m

Places: Start at L82532 10405, An Droim Rua, end at L86565 10140 4km E from Start
Logged as completed by 1

Dún Aonghasa - perched on the

Atlantic cliffs of Inishmore.

Getting to the start
There isn't public transport on the island so to get to the start you can cycle or take one of the minibus tours. In fact much of the walk can be done with a bike and in some ways that would be better. We prefer walking to cycling in rain and wind so we went for the bus for the first leg. You can see it's circuitous coastal route on the map taking in views of the "seal colony" as such trips are wont to hype up.

Dún Aonghasa

There is a well established route to this fort. It was originally built between 1100 and 500 BCE on the highest part of the cliff probably as a defence against sea invasion and no doubt to intimidate the locals. Modern additions (using mortar) are a defence against the tourists. It's an astonishing place with great views despite the tourism.
I suppose in fairness the management of tourism is reasonably well balanced. In track/2315 there is a brief description of Yr Eifl N and Tre'r Ceiri, the latter also being an iron age fort, but in Wales. It is similarly massive, extremely impressive, delapidated, uncared for and doing nothing for the local economy.

Poll na Péist aka the Worm or Monster Hole

Route to Wormhole. Dun Aengus in background.
Returning to the main road there are efficient but extremely busy tearooms and a small interpretative centre. After a short bit on the road (traffic is like something out of the 1950's with only the occasional bus and horse and trap) turn off the onto one of the stone wall lined unpaved roads (cyclable) towards Gort na gCapall, a small cluster of houses. The exact location of the Poll na Péist is L82566 09296 however getting there requires some diligence across a vague trail. While I don't advocate paint marks on tracks, you will find there are some red arrows probably used for the Red Bull cliff diving competition. If you find yourself attempting to cross stone walls then you have gone wrong. OSM (Open Street Map) does show two tracks towards the pool - the more inland one worked for us - the outer one would be extremely dangerous in stormy weather due to bombardment by seriously life changing lumps of stone thrown up by waves. Come to think of it I am no so sure about any sort of trip to this place in seriously bad weather. Apparently the local GP is kept busy with injuries sustained around here.
Extraordinary natural swimming pool.
The pool itself is completely astonishing being almost a perfect rectangle with the sea surging into it underground from the nearby coast. Local legend is silent on the origins of the pool. Usually you would expect to hear that Cú Chulainn had bathed his feet in such a place before battle with one of his foes or some such. Apparently there is no such story. The local legend of no legend. You are invited to compose a new cycle of the Red Branch - you will have to work hard to counteract the modern Red Bull story of course.

The summit area and more signs of war.

Leaving Gort na gCapall via the easterly unpaved road you go about two km and then turn left to ascend towards the trig pillar and much else. Be careful that you turn up the correct track. If you choose incorrectly you may not be able to reach the summit area because of the stone walls. On the occasion that I was there in Sept 2017 the OS 1:50K showed the relevant tracks pretty accurately while OSM wasn't quite as good. At the top there are two buildings. The older squarish and more derilict was part of the defences against Napoleon and was a 19th century signal tower presumably in line of sight with various martello towers nearby such as the one near Rossaveal. The roundish building was a lighthouse built in the 19th century also but found to be too far from the sea to be useful. It was replaced by lighthouses at both ends of Inishmore and is now defunct.
Round defunct lighthouse, square signal tower, Eire sign.

Trig pillar and air navigational aid 50.

An extremely narrow path between stone walls leads towards the trig pillar which is now incorporated into a stone wall. Just south of it is a large sign flat on the ground saying "50 Eire". Towards the end of the second world war enormous numbers of US planes (over 10,000) were being flown over the Atlantic and would often find themselves over then neutral Ireland rather than their destination in Northern Ireland. These signs were put up all along the coast of the Republic often near the look out posts (LOPs).

Dun Eochla


Just east of the defunct lighthouse is another stone fort, also very impressive. This one is circular. Unlike Dun Aengus it is totally off the tourist trail and you may meet no-one at all there. Apparently it was built between 550 and 800 CE. According to Megalithomania "While some web sites may reference a stone hut in the enclosure, the structure in the centre is more likely a repository for stones left over from the restoration. I am delighted to recommend you visit this fort; the views from here are stunning, you can see an almost 360˚ view of the island, and the Cliffs of Moher can also be seen on a clear day."

Returning to Kilronan.

One way home.

Head north to the road. Not being particularly enamoured of road walking we found Mack and Jack, respectively driver and horse willing to take us back to Kilronan. Mack managed to tell us a huge amount about history in the ride home. There are stone memorials in many parts to people who left many in 1846 at the height of the Famine. Apparently it was £5 for a one way trip to the US which meant you had to sell your property to fund it.

Summary


What an extraordinary amount of geology and history and walking on the wild coast for one trip. Well worth a try.

Uploaded on: Fri, 22 Sep 2017 (07:39:19)
Trackback: https://mountainviews.ie/track/3598/  
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Note: ALL information such as Ascent, Length and Creator time taken etc should be regarded as approximate. The creator's comments are opinions and may not be accurate or still correct.
Your time to complete will depend on your speed plus break time and your mode of transport. For walkers: Naismith's rule, a rough and often inaccurate estimate, suggests a time of 3h 48m + time stopped for breaks
Note: It is up to you to ensure that your route is appropriate for you and your party to follow bearing in mind all factors such as safety, weather conditions, experience and access permission.

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Some mapping:
Open Street Map
(Various variations used.)
British summit data courtesy:
Database of British & Irish Hills
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