If there is one takeaway from the Aran Islands it is that there are rocks. Many, many rocks. It is estimated that there are about 1,000 miles of ancient stone walls to contain livestock and define property ownership. If one were to conservatively estimate that each foot of wall contained five rocks then that would come to over 25 million rocks. A rock was picked up and placed in a specific location over 25 million times. I am still unable to get my head around that.
This image shows three layers of walls with the limestone ground between. Deep fissures can be seen, which may contain hints of soil. The Aran Islands of one hundred years ago looked more like this than the fields of grass of today. Although a fictional documentary, the movie Man of Aran does show the islands in 1934, when men broke these rocks with sledge hammers to get to that soil.
Though that is no longer necessary, the islands offer a unique opportunity to see back into another time when things were very different.