Galway to Inishmore, an Aran Island


I ride to Rosaveel, from where the ferries still run to the Aran islands this late in the year. On the way over I talk to the policeman for the islands, Brian Odonnel, who is traveling with his Tri bike and an older island resident. The islander recalls selling fish for his father:

“Every day me pappy gave me a wooden wheelbarrow with a load of fish to sell. I walked up and down the streets selling em. But there was one hill in my route that I didn’t like to push the wheelbarrow up, so at the bottom I sold the fish cheaply so as not to have to push a heavy wheelbarrow up the hill. When I got to the top of the hill, I figured the fish were worth more cause I had worked so hard, so I sold them more dear.

My father always took the money when I came home. But one day my father said “So fish are cheaper at the bottom of the hill?” He was about to discipline me, but my mom stepped in. She asked my dad if the money was right, and dad said he reckoned it was. I explained I sold them for more at the top of the hill. Mom started to laugh, and eventually so did Dad. Yep, I’ve been working with fish all my life.”

Today the 25th Brian takes me out in the police car to look at his favorite sites on the island. I don’t think I have ever been to two more magnificent places then the Black Fort ruins, and the cliffs below the DĂșn Aonghasa ruins. I would never have found the Black Fort ruins on my own because only a very small handmade sign on a side street points the way. The Dun Aonghasa ruins, on the other hand, are heavily visited by tour busses. But we went to the cliffs below, where nobody goes.

The cliffs might look stable when you are walking on them from above, but they are often eroded underneath.

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Brian when he is not a policeman.

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This is limestone Karst, the stone has eroded into rectangles, there are acres and acres of this.

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Occasionally there is a round granite boulder amongst all the black limestone. They were carried there by glaciers during the last ice age.

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The stone has a precision that defies your sense of reality.

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The remains of a wall of Black Fort. It was a medieval walled village.

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But there is a surprising diversity of life growing in the fissures.

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Here’s my ride.

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This amazing rock formation is just like an olympic pool with a ladder on one side. There is a passage to the ocean and the swells move the pool water.

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A shot of the corner of the pool.

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Another shot of the pool.

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The coastline was beyond words.

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The power of water and time. This “little creek” flowing across the top of a rock is about as wide as a pencil eraser. Water is trickling gently down it.

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