Our second day in Galway but this tells me the end is near.
We have booked a tour to the Aran Islands – just Inismor actually – with Michael Faherty tours (Micheal at the wheel). He is an Aranian and lives on Inismor still. The bus ride to the ferry terminal at Rossaveal takes an hour but Micheal gave us a commentary about features on the way making the trip feel shorter. When we arrive there are hundreds boarding the vessel. Fortunately there were only 14 of us on the tour which started with a drive to Fort Dun Aonghusa (a stone fort built by the Vikings on the edge of 300 foot high cliffs some where between 2,000 and 3,000 years ago).
Along the way Michael spoke about life on the isle and the stony landscape. There is over 7,000 klms of dry stonewalls on the island and still there is a lot of loose and sheet stone. The walls were erected to hold the sand and sea weed the Islanders carried up to make a top soil to grow vegetables and grass for sheep cattle and goats. Fishing is the other principal industry.
Of course there was the Aran wool and knitwear to view and buy. The fort is immense covering 14 hectares from the precipice and is a kilometre from the nearest village – uphill of course. It was overcast misty and sprinkling with wind gusts – just the place to put a fort. Climbing to the fort we walked across stone with veins of poor grass so it was very slippery.
We also visited the ruins of seven churches from the 7th and 8th centuries AD, saw the damage caused by January’s cyclone and spotted a seal who was interested in what we were doing standing in the rain watching him. It may not sound like much of a tour but we came away with a real feel for how tough life is on Inismor.
Micheal dropped us off in Salt Hill and we had dinner and a stroll home to plan our next travels.