Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Aran Islands


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When I was real young my mom took me to see Robert J. Flaherty's classic 1934 documentary "Men of Aran". The movie is about these tough Celts surviving under the most brutal of conditions. As I recall, they dig rocks all day, fish in 50 foot seas using rowboats, and gather seaweed to cover the microscopic layer of topsoil so that they can grow potatoes.

As it turned out the documentary was largely faked (as was another of his documentaries "Nanook of the North") and things weren't quite that bad on the islands. There are, however, a lot of dug up rocks turned into fences. Also, the landscape is amazing.

The place is kind of touristed up, but it's still an amazing place. We visited the 4000 year old stone fort Dun Aonghusa which sits at the edge of sheer cliffs 300 feet above the sea. You too, can sit on the edge of the cliffs. In delightful Irish style, there are no railings or warning signs. Not falling off is a test of your intelligence and good sense.

Innis Mor - Aran Islands




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