Aran Islands Culture & History

The three Aran Islands are fascinating historically and culturally because they are such remote islands in the past few hundred years have developed a very rich civilization or lifestyle that is particular to themselves. Living out in the Atlantic ocean, getting food from the sea and shoreline, living on a rocky island with very little soil for growing any food. The islanders had to survive but in their survival they developed a very rich culture.

The three Aran Islands have produced wonderful writers, poets, they have a unique style of singing (shanous singing), they speak the Irish language with a particular dialect of irish language which is Connaught Irish or Connemara irish , they have set dancers some of them particularly unique to the Aran Islands. They also developed various crafts, Aran Knitwear, Baron playing, experts at dry stonewall building. There is a lot in the culture and History in the Aran Islands. 

If you go back far enough, these three Aran Islands were strategic islands along the mouth of Galway Bay and is perhaps why people came to even live on the Aran Islands. Because of that you have these ancient forts on each of the three Aran Islands with Dun Aonghasa being the great one which is on Inis Mor. This is very close to becoming a World Heritage site. In those days the  people who lived on the Aran Islands were guarding the mouth of the bay. They were patrolling the seas, perhaps as pirates or toll gatherers for boats going by. 

In more recent centuries the islands were occupied by the colonial forces . No Islander could own any land on the island , the island was owned by some family who didn’t even live on the Aran Islands and the Islanders had to pay rent to that family . The last of those families to own the three Aran Islands was the Digby family . They were resented, the rent could go up or down  , people would be kicked out of their homes and conditions were quite miserable. Everybody was glad to get their freedom in 1921 when the three Aran Islands were bought over by the newly formed Irish Government and then Islanders were given the opportunity to work for the government , to make roads, bridges, slipways , walls, and that then gave them the opportunity to buy the land that they had been renting all that time.

Come and visit the Aran Islands and get a taste of this history and culture in the landscape and people who live here.