Dun Aengus means "the Fort of Aenghus", and remains one of the most impressive ancient monuments in Ireland, Europe or the world. Perched on the edge of a high and jagged cliff with the grey-green waters of the Atlantic battering below, it gained its name from its original builders, who were called the Fir Bolg, some of the first to arrive in Ireland and who strove mightily with the Tuatha de Dannan at Moy Tura.
"The Fir Bolg gave them battle upon Mag Tuired; they were a long time fighting that battle. At last it broke against the Fir Bolg, and the slaughter pressed northward, and a hundred thousand of them were slain…The Fir Bolg fell in that battle all but a few, and they went out of Ireland in flight from the Tuatha Dé Dannan…
Thereafter they came in flight before Cairbre under the protection of Meldb and Ailill, and these gave them lands. This is the wandering of the sons of Umor. Oengus son of Umor was king over them in the east, and from them are named those territories, Loch CIme from Cime Four-Heads son of Umor, the Point of Taman in Medraige from Taman son of Umor, the Fort of Oengus in Ara from Oengus, the Stone-heap of Conall in Aidne from Conall, Mag Adair from Adar, Mag Asail from Asal in Mumu also. Menn son of Umor was the poet. They were in fortresses and in islands of the sea around Ireland in that wise, till Cu Chulaind overwhelmed them."
After the Fir Bolg it was reputed to have become the last refuge of the feared Fomorian sea demons as well.
It lies within four great stone walls, open on one side to the ocean, and among its most striking features is the circle of jagged stones that surrounds it. These were meant to make approach to the fort difficult, and they'd have done a fine job of it too, for even now the edges of the stones are sharp and you could do yourself a severe injury by falling atop one.
In the heart of the fourteen acre enclosure is a giant stone slab, although to what purpose it was put in the olden days none can say. The fort could see a great distance out to either side as well, and so perhaps acted as a watchtower for invaders, traders or raiders. Its age is unknown but very great, and its history is less known again, but if you're visiting you'd be best to do so during the evenings, when there are fewer visitors.
Dun Aengus still stands where it's marked on the map below.
Legendary Places in Ireland
In county Roscommon there's a place of great antiquity called Oweynagat, which some have mistakenly thought to mean the Cave of Cats, although it has nothing to do with cats - “cath” being the Irish word for “battle” and so it should rightfully be called the battle cave. Indeed it has a long association with the Morrigan ... [more]
The Burren is one of the wonders of Ireland. A rolling rocky landscape of limestone hills and plains, it is marked with history stretching back thousands of years. Nestled in between the limestone slabs are herbs and plants you'd be hard pressed to find elsewhere, hailing from places as far afield as the Arctic and the Mediterranean, kept warm ... [more]
Older than Stonehenge and the great pyramids of Giza stands Newgrange, the heart of legends and mysteries stretching back five thousand years. Situated along the river Boyne near to numerous other such places like Knowth and Dowth, that very same river where Fionn Mac Cumhaill was said to have first found and tasted the salmon of knowledge, and the ... [more]
The seat of the High Kings of Ireland of old, Tara or Temair as it was known then, is said to have been the seat of a hundred and forty two kings, kingships won by battle, contest and merit, not passed down father to son as in more primitive cultures. One of the most important monuments in the sacred Boyne valley, its history stretches back four th ... [more]
Dun Aengus means "the Fort of Aenghus", and remains one of the most impressive ancient monuments in Ireland, Europe or the world. Perched on the edge of a high and jagged cliff with the grey-green waters of the Atlantic battering below, it gained its name from its original builders, who were called the Fir Bolg, some of the first to arriv ... [more]
Crannogs, the name meaning "young trees" for reasons which aren't too clear, were dwelling places for people in Ireland from the time of the Tuatha de Dannan right up to the seventeenth century. They were built on shallow lakes or pools on top of tree trunks stuck into the lake bottom, piles of rocks, mud and other debris or on natura ... [more]
Croagh Patrick or Patrick's Stack is an important place of pilgrimage for Christians throughout Ireland and the world today, some even walking the ascent in their bare feet as penance for their sins. However it was considered a holy place long before St Patrick came to visit, even though it is said he banished the snakes from Ireland while stan ... [more]
Rising from the ocean a short distance off the coast of county Kerry in southern Ireland, Skellig Michael and its smaller brother rear up out of the Atlantic ocean like jagged grey teeth. Famous poet George Bernard Shaw who visited the place in 1910, called it an "incredible, impossible, mad place" and "part of our dream world". ... [more]