There I say it. I am a cremnophile. It’s not a serious condition, but it can lead to death if you are too adventurous about it. But if you suffer from this condition, I know of a place that can relieve you instantly. Okay okay, I can already hear you get frustrated “what the heck is that cremn-thing!?
A cremnophile is a person who is fond of… cliffs and precipices! And I have some really beautiful cliffs for you today.
What’s more? An Iron-Age fortress. Yes, on the cliff. How cool is that?
But before getting to what can be considered as the highlight of Inishmore Island, a little bit of information.
Inishmore is the largest of the Aran Islands, off the city of Galway in western Ireland. Geologically, they are an extension of the Burren landscape that is present on the main Irish island.
The Burren is a very special landscape made of limestone slabs with cracks between them where a short vegetation grows, that was created by past glaciations. As a result you guessed it, Inishmore is a very rocky island.
To get to the island, the easiest way is to purchase your ferry tickets from one of the travels agency in Galway, and a coach will take you to the pier where you will get aboard the boat. The journey to the island is pleasant but expect some icy winds!
When you arrive at the village of Kilronan, you are welcome by its sandy beach and crystal clear waters that you could very well find in the Caribbean, but with a warmer wind of course. The best way to explore this island is by bicycle and it is extremely easy to find one for rent.
Cycling around Inishmore will take you on quiet countryside roads, along grey stone walls that the inhabitants have built to mark out their land, and always with a view to the deep blue sea.
After some more cycling, you will arrive at what is probably the most beautiful beach on Inishmore, which I believe is called Kilmurvey Beach.
Dún Aonghasa / Dun Aengus
From the beach, the road starts going up. You are actually actually climbing the relief that will abruptly end with the Dun Aengus cliffs.
Dun Aengus, or Dún Aonghasa in Irish language, is the biggest prehistoric fort in the Aran islands, dating from the Iron Age. The fort itself is enclosed in a two stone walls and the whole site was built on the very edge of the 100-meter high cliff.
It is quite unique because from inside the fortress, you realize that half of the enclosure is made of a thick stone wall, but the other half is wide open to the cliff, which is probably an even more effective protection than the walls!
This is exactly the kind of places that beautifully showcase the natural and cultural riches of Ireland. Spectacular windy cliffs from which you can appreciate the immensity of the Atlantic Ocean, and an archaeological site so ancient that our mind simply can’t picture it.
Dun Aengus is truly special and one can still feel this unique atmosphere that prehistoric sites have, atmosphere that was mostly lost on other over-touristic sites like Stonehenge. Don’t hesitate to take your time and walk around the fort and the cliffs to really immerse yourself in this atmosphere!
I can only recommend you take a day in your trip to Ireland to cycle around Inishmore, whether you are a cremnophile or not! If you are not, don’t get too close to the edge 😉 I hope you enjoyed the immersive panoramas at the top of the page.
P.S. On your way back to Kilronan, don’t miss the seal colony!