EuropeFortressIreland

Dún Aonghasa

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HISTORY

It is the best known of several prehistoric hill forts present in the Aran Islands in County Galway, Ireland. It is found more precisely in Inishmore. It is not known exactly when Dún Aonghasa was built, but most structures apparently date back to the Bronze Age and Iron Age. According to scholar T. F. O'Rahilly, it was built in the 2nd century BC. by the Builg, the name given to an ancient people who may have lived in Southern Ireland, in the region around present-day Cork. This name may be related both to the Belgae of Roman Gaul and Britannia (described by the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar in his work De Bello Gallico, “Comments on the Gallic War”), and to the Fir Bolg, who according to Irish mythology would have been the fourth people to settle in Ireland. In a second period, the Latin term Belgae came to indicate the inhabitants of a specific part of the Roman province of Gallia, which currently corresponds to the modern country of Belgium. Its name, meaning "Fort of Aonghas", probably refers to the pre-Christian god of the same name described in Irish mythology, the mythical king Aonghus Mac Úmhór.

WHY THIS PLACE

The Fort consists of a series of four concentric walls built of dry stone, a construction method in which only stones are used, with no mortar (such as tar, clay or clay) to hold them together. In some parts these walls measure up to 4 meters deep. At the time of its construction, the sea level was considerably lower, so much so that it is estimated that originally the Fort was located on the edge of a cliff at 1,000 meters above sea level: impressive height, but nowadays reduced - due to geological and oceanographic changes - a “mere” 100 meters.

CURIOSITIES

The view from the top is, however, simply breathtaking. The original structure was presumably oval or D-shaped, but over time parts of the cliff and fort fell into the sea. Outside the third circle of walls is a defensive system known as cheval de frize, formed by stone slabs, stuck in the ground in a vertical position, which are still very well preserved. The ruins also feature a huge rectangular stone slab overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, whose function is unknown. According to some scholars it may have had a ritual significance. Extraordinarily large compared to other prehistoric ruins, the outer wall of DúnAonghasa covers an area of ​​approximately 6 hectares. Excavations in the 1990s indicate that the first residents settled on this hill around 1500 BC, but the first construction dates back to 1100 BC, when the first precinct was erected by stacking boulders against large vertical boulders, while the triple-walled defenses were built. erected along the west side of the Fort around 500 BC.

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