2: Hang Loose in
1991 Visit by Nolan Family to
July 30-Aug. 11, 1991
By LEWIS NOLAN
Thursday, Aug. 1, 1991
– Ferry ride to
The drive along
The highway signage morphed into Gaelic about the time we
passed through the small town of Salt Hill. We had learned that the government
The ferry boat ride from Rossaval
to the Aran Islands was advertised as a 20-minute excursion, which we learned
is fairly typical advertising optimism that presents the best possible case in
The main town of the Arans is Inishmoor, which seemed to us to be a fairly primitive port
compared to other busy ports in
We cycled out of Inishmoor on a narrow, winding road through farmland crisscrossed by picturesque, stone walls 3 or 4 feet high. We headed toward the ancient ruin of Dun Aengus (prounounced Angus as in the breed of cattle) on a cobbly road that climbed up the high, limestone hill topped by the fort supposedly built about 250 BC. The ride was about 6 miles long down a narrow, crudely paved lane. Here and there were two-passenger pony carts pulled by ponies and young horses. Some tourists opted for that form of transportation rather than peddle or walk.
All in all, we had a delightful ride in cool temperatures and sunshine mixed with clouds. I must say that the pedaling the bikes got the lungs and heart working. The view of the Atlantic rollers crashing against the nearby shoreline and limestone cliffs was almost as spectacular at that at the Cliffs of Moher on the Mainland. We stopped at Murphy’s Pub along the way, where having a glass of beer was a great delight.
The beer was among the best tasting I’ve ever enjoyed. The
publican told me that the beer taps (plastic tubes that connect the aluminum
kegs to the spigot on the bar) are cleaned twice a week, which I came to understand is double that of standard tap-cleaning in
procedures in American bars. Lunch in the
We struck up a conversation with a waitress at the
restaurant who told us she was 18 and had recently returned to the island and
spending two years in Boston. She had stayed in
Back on the mainland, we stopped at a beach on the
Thursday, Aug. 1, 2001
We left on the Aran Flyer boat about 10:35 a.m. and arrived at Innishmor – the longest of the Aran Islands – shortly after 11 a.m. By the time we got off the boat it was 11:30 a.m. We rented bicycles to ride to Dun Angus, an ancient fortification built around 250 B.C. It overlooks the ocean. We bicycled 5 or 6 miles, then parked the bikes (there were no locks, so evidently the Irish are either secure in their trust of visitors or secure that the bikes can’t be removed from the island without notice).
We hiked about ¾ of a mile over a steep, rocky terrain to get to the top of a cliff where the fort sits. Once we got closer to the top, we had a magnificent view of the cliffs below with the surf beating against the cliffs. When we reached the top, the view was was well worth the climb. Plus we were able to think about the ancient Celts protecting their coastline.