Dún Aonghasa: A Cliff-Side Fort In Galway That Looks Like Something From Another World

Dún Aonghasa cliffs
Photo left: LUKinMEDIA (shutterstock). Right: Chris Hill

The chances are that you’ll have come across pictures of Dún Aonghasa fort at one point or another.

The cliff-side fort on Inis Mór in Galway is one of the most iconic places in Ireland, and it tends to grace the cover of many a postcard and travel guide.

It’s not hard to see why, either – the ancient fort of Dún Aonghasa is perched at the edge of a 300-foot high cliff.

In the guide below, you’ll find out everything you need to know about Dún Aonghasa, from its history and location to how to reach it and more.

About Dún Aonghasa

Dún Aonghasa Galway
Photo by Chris Hill via Failte Ireland

You’ll find Dún Aonghasa (anglicized Dun Aengus) on Inis Mór, the largest of the mighty Aran Islands, at the mouth of Galway Bay.

Dún Aonghasa is one of a number of prehistoric hill forts that are scattered across the three Aran Islands.

However, it stands out from the crowd thanks to its dramatic location. Yep, that’s the fort in the photo above – perched on the side of a 300-foot high cliff.

Although Dún Aonghasa’s date of construction is unknown, it’s widely believed that much of the structure was built between the Bronze Age and Iron Age.

According to Wikipedia, it’s believed that the fort was constructed during the 2nd century BC by the Builg – ancient people who are believed to have resided in southern Ireland.

It’s believed that Dún Aonghasa was once 3,000 feet above sea level

aran islands dun aonghasa
Photo by Timaldo (Shutterstock)

Excavations carried out at Dún Aonghasa in the ’90s revealed that people lived at/near the fort from c.1500 BC.

It’s believed that the first walls and dwellings were erected c.1100 BC. Imagine sleeping here for a night, never mind a lifetime.

The fort is made up of four dry stone walls and a gorgeous network of defensive stones that date back to c.700bc surround the entire structure (see photo above).

When Dún Aonghasa was originally built, sea levels were much lower, and it’s thought that the fort could have sat 3,000+ feet above the chilly waters below.

How to get to Dún Aonghasa

dun aonghasa inis mor
Photo by Timaldo/shutterstock.com

You can get to Inis Mór by ferry or by plane. There’s a departure point for the Aran Islands from Doolin in Clare. There’s another from Rossaveel in Galway.

If you’d rather dodge the sea and travel by air, you can grab a flight from Connemara Airport at Inverin.

Once you arrive on Inis Mór, you can travel to the fort by foot or you can rent a bike near the pier (I can’t recommend exploring the island on bike enough!).

The visitor centre

You’ll find the Dún Aonghasa Visitor Center on the edge of Kilmurvey Craft Village where it boasts a wealth of information about the fort, the Cliffs, and the island.

There are several presentation outlets and heaps educational material at the centre which will give you a solid insight into the fort and the island. Here’s how much it costs to visit:

  • Adult: €5.00
  • Group/Senior: €4.00
  • Child/Student: €3.00
  • Family: €13.00
  • Free admission when staying overnight on Inis Mór participating accommodation.

The Wormhole

Poll na bPéist wormhole
photos by Stefano_Valeri + Timaldo (shutterstock.com)

If you’re visiting Dún Aonghasa fort, make sure to carve out some time to visit the nearby Wormhole.

A visit here is arguably one of the most unique things to do in Ireland. Find out everything to know about the Wormhole on Inis Mór.

And that’s a wrap. Have you visited Dún Aonghasa yet? If so, did it live up to expectations?

Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!) You'll find everything from things to do in Ireland to where to stay in Ireland (unique and unusual places) if you have a nosey around!


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