From Galway we took the bus (crowded) to the boat (very crowded) to Inishmore (crowded in Kilronan, empty after that).
Because none of the standard transportation options — rent-a-bikes, minibus tours, expensive horse-carts — appealed to us, we set out on foot. Walking to Dun Aengus, the big-deal prehistoric fort everybody is supposed to see, would have made us miss the boat back to the mainland, so instead we headed toward the Black Fort, which turned out to be even less popular than we expected. On the entire walk we saw only three or four other humans and indeed very few mammals of any sort, although we did pass by a pasture where frolicsome goatkids were taunting their hobbled elders, all very allegorical.
After an hour or so of stumbling over stone pavements and clambering over stone fences we reached the other side of the island. Unlike at the Cliffs of Moher, there’s nothing here to stop a person from tumbling over the edge and bouncing the hundreds of feet down to the Atlantic.
It’s very difficult to convey the scale of the cliffs. The tidy little cubes of rock you see at the bottom are as big as houses. Possibly bigger.
Everything is very rectilinear.
Except when it isn’t.
Getting to the Black Fort itself involves a number of don’t-look-down moments, but once we were on the other side of the wall it was rather cozy.
The lashing rain didn’t start until after we got back to Kilronan. There we ate warm fish chowder, and stood around soggily on the docks with assorted Australians, and watched work crews build another pier that will help more tourists get to the primordial isle and help more residents leave it.