I love to visit the Aran Islands when I am near the west coast of Ireland. The three islands are Inishmore, Inisheer and Inishmaan. Inishmore is the largest and most popular for tourists. Inisheer and Inishmaan are less developed and also fun to explore.
I have taken day trips to Inishmore and Inisheer. I hope to return soon for an overnight stay at one of the bed and breakfast or guest house choices.
A ferry will take you to the Aran Islands from the pier west of Galway in Rossaveal or from the pier in Doolin. Regular bus trips from Galway take you to Rossaveal. You can even fly to the islands from Connemara Airport west of Galway in Inverin.
You will step back in time when you take a trip to one of the rugged, scenic Aran Islands. You can rent a bicycle, walk or hire a horse-drawn buggy to take you around the islands. Many of the locals speak Gaelic. They are usually happy to have a lively conversation in English, too.
You will enjoy the historic sites and beautiful views as you explore the islands at your leisure. Inishmore is the biggest island at eight miles by two and one-half miles and has more than fifty historic monuments. As you walk or ride the length of the island, you make your way to Dun Aengus, a fort dated from 1500 b.c., which is situated on the edge of a 300-foot cliff. The fort is a series of circular stone walls. When you look over the cliff (carefully) you can see the crashing waves of the Atlantic below. It is a stunning view and a wonderful experience.
When you are on your way to or from Dun Aengus, you will pass by some shops and informational displays. You may also be treated to music by the resident accordion player on the path to the fort. You can purchase a hand-knit Aran sweater to help with the cool weather of the coast.
If you visit Inishmore in the summer, you may be able to see a concert by the traditional Irish music and dance group called Ragus. They play in Kilronan, the port village on the island. Stay long enough to enjoy a meal at one of the local restaurants, such as the Pier House Restaurant, and enjoy lively late-night music at one of the pubs.
I visited the second largest island of Inishmaan with my young children on a day trip by ferry from Doolin. Except for the high waves causing the extreme rocking motion of the ferry, we had a great day.
When we got off the ferry at Inishmaan, we saw some local teens jumping from the pier into the icy waters below for a refreshing swim. You know instantly who the locals are when it comes to swimming in Ireland.
As we made our way off the pier, we felt the effects of the rocking ferry ride. A kind gentleman suggested that we take a buggy ride with him to get some fresh air and start to feel better. We hired him for a tour and he was right! We felt back to normal in a short time. We then hiked around the ruins, took photographs and had a snack at the local pub before taking the (much smoother) ferry ride back to Doolin.
Add a trip to one of the Aran Islands to your Ireland itinerary. You won’t be sorry!
Take the worry out of booking your own special trip to the Emerald Isle. Go to the author’s website athttp://www.majestic-castles-in-ireland.comfor Ireland travel advice. Experience the beautiful landscapes, the stunning coastlines, the quaint villages, the thriving cities and majestic castles of Ireland.
Patricia McKinney-Lins, the author, began traveling to Ireland in 1998 when she and her friend took a trip around the country. Since then, she has returned often with her children and on her own.