Inner enlosure of Dún Aengus from outside       From cliffside looking along eastern wall
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The Dúns of Aran:

DÚN  Aengus
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Inis Mór
Inside Dún Aengus, towards chamber in West wall Aerial view of Dún Aengus
Inside Dun Cathair
Inside enclosure of Dún Aengus looking east

Dún Aengus is the most famous of all the Dúns. Although a half of it has long disappeared it is still the most inspiring of all the Dúns of Aran. Maybe, because of its size or because of its location, or both, it raises more questions in peoples minds then it answers. No matter what you read, no matter what myths or legends you hear you instinctively know that here lies an ancient mystery!

Alghough Dún Conor on Inis Meain is also a massive fort, it's completeness and location in the middle of the Island belies its importance, as it would Dún Aengus were it still located in the middle of a plain! So we are fortunate that the cliffs at Dún Aengus give us a hint of the true purpose of the fort. The link to the ocean beside you can be seen and felt at a height of 300 feet! Bridging that gap is the purpose of this story!

Why here, on the most barren outcrop of Europe, did a race of people invest so much energy and labour to build this fortress! It had to be for a good reason. And why on a clifftop with no proctection from the cliffs? Current historical research contends it was built deliberately on the cliff, for defensive reasons, or by a ruling caste to show their dominance of the surrounding territory and sea. Perhaps in later times this was the case, but I believe its first purpose and the reason for its construction was as a wave shelter! A sturdy protection against the fierce Tsunami and unpredictable seas that rocked these western coasts five or six thousand years ago.

Dún Aengus was excavated as part of the Discovery Programme, Western Stone Forts Project 1993-1994. Links to reports; 1992 , 1993, 1994


Number of enclosures: 4
Inner enclosure wall height: 5m
Inner enclosure width at base: 6m
Chevaux de frise: Yes, surrounding the fort between 3rd and 4th wall.
Buttresses - thought to be part of 19th century restorations
Entrance location: E to NE


Inside Dún Eoghanachta
Part of cheveaux de frise - Dún Aengus