After visiting the Seven Churches on the west side of Inishmore our guide / driver turned around and headed back to the middle and narrowest portion of the island where we found a couple of shops and a café nestled between several beaches, some facing north and some facing south. The shops and café plus a few more buildings here and there make up a tiny village called Kilmurvey.
Click on any photo to see a larger version of that photo.
After lunch at Kilmurvey Village we split up. Some of us stayed and relaxed in the village and did some shopping while others hiked to Dun Aengus, one of several prehistoric stone forts on the island. The forts are all about two or three thousand years old and are situated on high elevations at the edge of steep cliffs and offer fantastic views. It’s a 30 minute hike up a rocky path from the visitor center to the fort.
My younger daughter went on the hike to Dun Aengus. The next four photos were taken by her on her cell phone.
The next two photos were taken by my son-in-law Brian on his cell phone while on the second hike of the day — to Inishmore’s famous Wormhole.
There is no path or trail leading to the Wormhole. You have to wander among rocky fields searching for red arrows painted on rocks to show the way. One of my sons-in-law missed one of the arrows and got lost for awhile. But this story has a happy ending: he eventually was able to retrace his path, find the rock and rejoin his family.
The Wormhole is also known as The Serpent’s Lair and has been the site of the annual Red Bull Cliff diving contest (2012, 2014 and 2017) and more than 3000 people have come to these events. But on the day my family hiked there they were the only ones around.
Meanwhile, back at Kilmurvey. . .
We took the last ferry back to Rossaveal and then took our time disembarking, which was a mistake. Our shuttle bus filled up rapidly and took off while we were still in line. We had to wait about an hour for another bus. We had planned to pick up our laundry that evening but our bus did not arrive back in Galway until after 7 o’clock and the laundry closed at 7.
I’m sure most followers of this blog realize how much we enjoy traveling. I also enjoy planning our trips and reading as much as I can about some of the special places we plan to visit or have recently visited. In my research on the Aran Islands one man’s name came up time and again: J M Synge, an Irish playwright who wrote extensively about the islands and its people during the first decade of the 20th century. In my next posting I will share with you some of the things I learned bout Synge including his strong attachment to the Aran Islands and the people he met there.
Irish Music Bonus — Rocks of Bawn by Amon Folan
Most of the land in western Ireland is not condusive to farming. Huge boulders left over from glaciers during the last ice age still dominate many of the fields in Counties Mayo and Galway. And there is no natural soil at all in the Burren of County Clare and on the Aran Islands. A farmer there has to mix seaweed with sand to create his own soil so that he can grow his potatoes.
My ancestors hail from the fertile land of County Tipperary called the Golden Vale. After the Cromwellian conqust of Ireland in the 17th century most members of the clan were banished to the barren lands of County Clare and their Tipperary property was given to Cromwell’s officers. But they couldn’t handle the hard life in County Clare and within two or three generations most of them sneaked back to Tipperary to work as tenants on land they once owned.
There’s an old Irish song about the farming conditions being so bad in western Ireland that one farmer wishes he could join the British army rather than have to plough the Rocks of Bawn. Lets listen to Galway’s own Amon Folan’s renditon of the song.