The Aran Islands: a paradise for those who love walking, cycling or just relaxing!
The Aran Islands are a group of 3 islands located only 2 hours from Galway, in the west coast of Ireland.
The islands are called respectively: Inishmór, Inishmaan, and Inisheer.
Inishmór (Árainn in Irish, which means ‘Big Island’) is the largest between the Aran Islands and it is the easiest to reach from Galway.
It is famous because here you can find the most important and impressive archaeological sites in Ireland like:
–Dun Aonghasa: the largest of the prehistorical stone forts of the Aran Islands. It is spectacularly situated on the edge of a 100m cliff that leans into the Atlantic Ocean. It is enclosed by three massive dry-stone walls and a “chevaux-de-frise” (tall blocks of limestone set vertically into the ground to block attackers). This fort is approximately situated 900 meters from the harbour but it’s really easy to get there;
– Arkin’s Castle: a Cromwellian fort which maintained a protection during the 17th and 18th centuries;
– Saint Ciaran’s Monastery: situated at the east of the village, where you can also see a holy well dedicated to the early saint;
– Churches: Saint Soorney’s Church; the Church of Saint Enda (the saint most closely identified with the spread of Christianity on Aran); the Church of Saint Colman MacDuagh, and the Church of the Saints.
Inishmaan (Inis Meáin, ‘Middle Island’) not really well known, as well as the Inisheer, because it is a place of great solitude with isolated B&Bs. Actually the island is currently populated by about 200 people, so it’s the right place to relax.
This island is famous for its 300 flowering plants which are from places as far apart as the Arctic and the Mediterranean region. Among the plants to be found on the island are Orchids, Honeysuckle and Irish Saxifrage.
Inisheer (Inis Oírr, ‘Eastern Island’) is the smallest island between the Aran Islands and this one is also easily reached from Galway and from Doolin, but only during the summer months. This small island offers a good combination such as ancient sites, interesting walks and culture.
Inis Óirr is geologically similar to the Burren in County Clare, comprising mostly of rock, maybe this is one of the reasons why Inis Oirr is home to only 300 islanders.
All the islands, can be visited and they are also paradise for those who love walking, cycling or just to admire the wonderful nature which surround the island.
This is a perfect day tour that can start from Galway in the early morning and finish in Galway as well in the late afternoon, if you don’t want to stop on the islands for the night.
Getting to the island is really easy. You can go there by ferry which connects Rossaveal to all the Aran Islands. The ferry takes around 40 minutes to get there, so it isn’t a big deal. A regular coach service links Galway to Rossaveal which is about 50 km, so it’s about one hour driving.
We absolutely recommend you to visit Inishmór.
Here you can rent a bike, or ride a pony, or go on a guided tour by a modern mini bus and you can also walk around to visit the island. It depends how you want to enjoy the experience, and what type of weather you will experience.
If you want to experience peace and quiet, between the sea and sky, you can rent a bike and get lost around the island. Just remember to be on time to go back on the ferry!
There are lots of activities that you can do on the islands like: swimming in the ocean, study rare flowers and wildlife, paint the landscape, take pictures or selfies,go fishing, and also just relax with your family or your friends.
If you want, you can also stop there for the night and sleep in one of the good hostels or hotels.
During your night out, we recommend you to have a quiet pint and enjoy the Irish music and dancing, in one of the pubs on the island.
This is just one of many natural places you can fine here in Ireland.
Do you want to experience any of them? Just join in one of our Travelling Courses! 😀
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