The Aran Islands and extreme sports don’t usually go hand in hand, but last weekend, a crowd of 3,000 gathered on Inis Mór to watch the gutsy competitors in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Competitors dived off a 92-foot cliff face into the Serpent’s Lair, a rectangular blow-hole – or naturally formed shoreline pool – at the cliff’s base.
The event, which sees cliff divers circle the globe, traveling from one famous diving location to the next, last took place on Inis Mór two years ago. Back then, the Serpent’s Lair (or Pol na Priest as it’s called in Irish) proved especially daunting for British reigning champ Gary Hunt, who placed sixth, earning the worst recorded results in his diving career. He has described the Irish leg on the diving world series as “a tough location because all you can see is rock… it’s just a scary place to dive.”
This time, however, Hunt was in prime form and walked away with first place at the end of the weekend, beating 13 competitors. Close behind him were American Steve LoBue, in second place, and Mexico’s Jonathan Paredes in third. They will face each other again in two week’s time at the Kragerø archipelago in Norway.
Watch their death-defying dives on Inis Mór: