July 1: Exploring DĂșn Aenghus and Clifden, Capital of Connemara

Mother Nature has dealt a good hand this morning! The sun is breaking out through the clouds and the wind has dropped to an Irish breeze. It is off on foot to explore the second of the Aran forts. Dun Aenghus (Dun Annghasa in Irish) is the largest and most famous of the four on Inishmore. Like the Black Fort from yesterday, this one sits high on the edge of a sheer cliff overlooking the sea. Also, as with the other fort, its original purpose is not completely known to historians to this day. Over 2000 years old with 13 foot thick walls over 10 feet high and surrounded by spiky stones called chevaux-de-friseas as a possible defense mechanism, the fort dominates the landscape. Unfortunately over time, however, the cliff has slowly eroded and parts of the original fort have been lost to the sea. The mission today is to scale the ridge to explore the fort before the first ferry brought the beginning of 1500 people to the island for the day! The population of the island is very small, but during tourist season on any one day the population can swell to well over 1500 making for a very congested town square!

After descending to the town, it is back to the ferry for the crossing again to the mainland and on to Clifden, the capital of Connnemara.

The road to town passes the peat bogs where men working by hand harvest the peat bricks. The peat is dried and then used as a heat source. The area has over 1000 acres of land covered with the peat and unfortunately, once removed it does not grow back.

As "tea time" approached it seemed like as stop at the Cashel House Hotel for high tea was in order. Cucumber sandwiches, cheese sandwiches and a spot of tea -- all in a day's ride. Tough life this pedaling up the Irish coast!

The Way to Dun Aenghus

Up We Go!

Sara and Laura

Mick with His Girls!

Dun Aenghus

Lauri, Laurie and Tricia

The First Step Down Is A LONG One!

The Sisters!! Maura, Tricia, Sheila, Alicia


Sue Staying Away From The Edge!

Laurie: "This is My Land! Let the Irish in Me Show!!"

The View From The Top


Lauri, Sue, Sara Braving the Wind and Cold

Peat Bricks

The Road Less Traveled

Peat Piles

Peat Workers

TEA TIME: Tricia,Sheila, Alicia, Laura

The Group at Tea

And More of the Group

Laura, Kate, Alicia