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Dún Aonghasa – Ancient Irish Ruins Print

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I took multiple panorama photos of Dún Aonghasa (or Dun Aengus) during my visit to Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands. The scale of these ancient ruins overlooking the seas was just immense. Trying to include the whole view in front of me from the windswept landscape to the sea and skies and of course the ancient ruins… Well, there was no way to do it in one camera frame and I quickly shifted to the plan to take multiple frames and stitch them together later for this wide view of that amazing place on the Irish coast.

Dún Aonghasa encompasses multiple semi-circular rings intersecting with the sheer cliffs. What you are seeing pictured before you is actually the innermost ring of that iron age structure. There’s no real consensus on what Dún Aonghasa represented to the people who built it. It’s such an ancient site that there is no contemporary written history that names the site or explains its purpose.

Even the name Dún – Gaelic Irish for Fort, represents a comparably modern belief that the site was defensive. But there are also theories that the circular structure may have been spiritual in nature. And certainly the inner ring feels something like an amphitheater on the sea. It reminded in a way of Minack Theatre on the British coast. Not that I’m suggesting it’s an ancient theater at all! I think human theatricality has long been part of our sacred heritage. At any rate, theories abound, but as this print attests, these ancient people chose an incredibly beautiful spot upon which to build. And passing through the different rings reminded me of a processional route to a special sacred place.

Three thousand years have passed since Dún Aonghasa was built and now it boils down to a beautiful enigma. Why it’s there we may never know, but it’s amazing to just look at this dramatic landscape and ponder on the people who built this place by the sea.

Have you visited Dún Aonghasa and the Aran Islands? Or does this ancient sacred site print speak to you on a level that transcends having been there? I’d love to hear what meaning this Irish print has for you?


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