the largest of the Aran Islands

What to see in the largest of the Aran Islands

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Today we take you to discover Inishmore (in Gaelic Inis Mór), the largest of the Aran Islands. With Inishmore, the Aran Islands (Oileáin Árann in ​​Gaelic) are three and include Inishman (Inis Meáin), the quietest and least touristy and Inisheer (Inis Oírr), the smallest and closest to the Doolin marina.

With just over 1200 inhabitants (mostly on the larger island of Inishmore), the islands live primarily from fishing, farming and tourism. If today they are served by electricity and the various conveniences available to citizens in nearby Ireland, they still retain the atmosphere of an Ireland of other times while remaining one of the most important agglomerations of Gaelic language and culture . Together with County Galway they are part of the Gaeltacht, the area of ​​Ireland where the main language is still Gaelic.

If you are organizing a trip along the Wild Atlantic Way or a holiday in Ireland, don’t fail to include a trip to the Aran Islands, a unique territory in the world that will leave you speechless. Try to imagine an immense gray rocky expanse that reaches down to the sea, interrupted by crevasses and fissures, in which only a few flowers and shrubs grow. The inhabitants have managed to struggle with the land and cultivate it, dividing it into quadrants by an impressive network of dry stone walls visible like a labyrinth from the highest points of the island. The three islands are covered by the County Galway administration but are more similar to the scenarios of County Clare, of limestone origin. By combining a visit to Galway and the nearby Doolin area with the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher you will have the opportunity to experience a weekend discovering one of the oldest and wildest areas of the Emerald Isle!

Of the three we decided to visit Inishmore, the largest and most touristy, full of important historical finds and wonderful coastal scenery. With this post we will tell you about our visit experience by sharing some useful tips on how to visit them: which ferries to take to reach them, how to get around, where to eat and possibly where sleep for the night. Although one day is enough to see much of its beauty, Inishmore really has a lot to offer and our advice is to spend a night there, so you can live a unique experience lulled by total silence broken only by the sounds of nature.

Continuing reading you will find:

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Where are the Aran Islands located

The Aran Islands (Oileáin Árann in Irish) are located in the territory of the Republic of Ireland, at the mouth of Galway Bay. The best way to reach them is therefore by going to Galway from which to travel to the islands by ferry.

Due to the orderly position and the territorial and geological conformation very similar to those of County Clare, experts believe that they constitute a geological extension of the Burren platform . Although they are very similar to the territory and landscape of County Clare, the Aran Islands are however under the administration of neighboring County Galway.

Which of the Aran Islands should you visit?

All three Aran Islands, Inis Mór, Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr, are stunning and they deserve a day each to be able to visit them properly. In the common imagination they are among the favorite destinations for travelers to Ireland, famous for their position, their rocky conformation and for the aura of mystery and magic that these places, isolated and barren, so linked to the Gaelic past, manage to give as a gift to anyone visiting Ireland.

Unfortunately not everyone has the opportunity, economic or temporal, to stop and discover the peculiarities that distinguish each of the three islands . We too found ourselves faced with this dilemma, always with the fear of making the wrong choice and with the thought of what we would not have been able to see on the other two excluded islands.

In the end, however, we opted for Inis Mór (Inishmore), the largest and most populated of the three Aran islands. Of the three it is perhaps the one richest in attractions which would have allowed us, as then happened, to keep the day busy by managing to see a lot of life and past of the island. Of the three it is also the one with the greatest connections both from the port of Doolin, and from Galway and Rossaveel.

We had also considered the possibility of visiting two islands in a single day as the ferries allow it, but in hindsight . The time at your disposal will be just enough to visit the main attractions of the island and return for the last ferry. Alternatively you can stay for the night and move on to Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr on the second was better to give up and stay on Inishmore

Further on in the post we left you some tips on where to find accommodation for the night on Inishmore, take a look!

Visit all the island of Inishmore: our main line guide with itinerary

View of the walled fields of Inishmore with some houses in the middle, Ireland

As we mentioned at the beginning of the post, of the three Aran islands we visited the largest, that of Inis Mór. Below you will find all the information necessary to organize your visit, complete with information on how to get there, how to get around, where to eat, where to sleep and possibly , what to see during a day,

Inside the post, towards the end, we have also written a short guide to the two smaller islands, so that you can have some bases from which to start if you want to go and discover it.

Let’s start from the beginning and see how to reach Inishmore.

How to get to Inishmore Island and the other Aran Islands

The Island of Inishmore is served by a small civil airport and by a port with service of active ferry transport to connect it with the other islands and with the coast of County Galway. These will be your two means of access to reach it, let’s see how.

Visit the Aran Islands and see the Cliffs of Moher

An alternative that I recommend is to visit the island of Inisheer and see the high and wonderful Cliffs of Moher by sea by taking part in an organized ferry tour that takes you to see both on the same trip .
We didn’t take advantage of it, but a dear friend who lives in Dublin took part in this Civitatis tour to Inisheer and the Cliffs of Moher a> and he told us very well about it, so consider it among your options! The shuttle transport service to and from Galway is included with the ferry.

Transport via ferry

When visiting Inishmore we suggest you use one of the ferries departing from the port of Galway or Ros a’ Mhíl, or alternatively from Doolin Harbour.

Let’s see together the main transport information from each of the three ports.

An advice:

When taking the ferry, remember to organize your itinerary for visiting the island so that you are able to return on the last ferry, so as not to find yourself stuck on the island for the night.

Dal porto di Ros a Míl (Rossaveel)

The port with the greatest number of ferries to Inis Mór and return is Ros a’ Mhíl in Rossaveel, reachable by car with a journey of approximately 15/20 minutes from Galway city. For those who are not traveling with their own rental carthere is a shuttle bus service from the center of Galway.

We refer you to the Aran Ferry website to be able to book your seat on the shuttle (recommended within 12 hours of departure), with information on the point collection in Galway, on the costs and times when the shuttle transport service is active.

If you are traveling with your car, near the port you will find a large secure outdoor car park where you can leave your car alone 7 euros per day, to be paid upon arrival.

From the car park you will have to walk for a few minutes before reaching the ferry dock to the Aran Islands. Transport is offered by the company Aran Ferries from the port of Ros a’ Mhíl to that of Inis Mór.

Tickets can be purchased online and collected at the Aran Ferries office. The ferry journey takes approximately 45 minutes, plus 30 minutes by bus from Galway to the port. A return trip costs around €30 each, plus €9 for the shuttle: we recommend you visit the site for updated prices. The first ride is at 10.30am, the last return is at 5pm.

From the port of Galway

The service is operated from Galway City Docks from which excursions to the other islands and tours to the Cliffs of Moher also depart. In the case of transport to Inishmore, the journey time is longer (90 minutes) and the costs slightly higher (35 euros one way). The service is reduced compared to the port of Inis Mór, with only one outbound ferry at 09:30. In the case of transport from Galway, consider that there is no return ferry and in this case you will have to return to the port of Ros a’ Mhíl, or take one of the tourist ferries that continues to the Cliffs of Moher to return to Galway port in the evening. For further information, we refer you again to the specific page on the Aran Islands Ferry website. Even if you are leaving from Galway you can leave your car in one of the paid car parks close to the port, with costs starting from 20 euros per day. So you can see how it’s not very convenient.

From Doolin Harbour

A third alternative sees you leave from the port of Doolin which overlooks the rocky seabed of the Burren, in the direction of the smaller island of Inisheer. In this case the ferry transport service is offered by Doolin Ferry with active services to the three islands, to Galway and the Cliffs of Moher. In the case of transport to Inishmore there are three active trips per day (the first at 09:00 with the last return at 16:15). The cost of a return trip is 30 euros and the journey duration is 35 minutes runs from Galway to Doolin, public transport is inconvenient and long. We suggest going to Doolin to take the ferry only if you are traveling with your rental car. for a period ranging from 5 to 30 hours! Even though the 350 busYou can leave your car here for just 5 euros where parking is managed by the Council and costs much less than in Galway. you can leave your car at Doolin port. Also in this case

Among the three options we suggest the port of Ros a’ Mhíl if you leave from Galway (the same one from which we left) and the one in Doolin if you are traveling during a road trip and you have the flexibility to travel with your car. In both cases you will have enough time to visit the island and return, and then return to Galway or continue to the next destination.

An advice:

When organizing your trip to Inishmore, keep in mind that ferry transport can be affected by weather conditions and that there are more trips in the summer season than in the winter.

Transport by air

A more expensive alternative involves reaching the islands by air, on board one of the small BN2A Islanders of the Aer Arann company. The airport on the mainland is the Connemara Airport, in the locality of Indreabhán, a short distance from Galway. The flight lasts approximately 10 minutes (cost approximately 63 Euros return , not bad after all). Trips are more frequent in summer, less so in winter. Together with the flight you can also book the shuttle transfer service between the airport and the city of Galway.

For more information, I refer you to the official Aer Arann website where you will find other information to organize your travel and visit to Inishmore .

How to get around the Isle of Inishmore

The largest island of the Aran Islands is a place of sad and harsh beauty, a harsh and barren place to be discovered with innocent curiosity.

When arriving on Inishmorem you can go around it in various ways:

  • by bicycle: at the main port of Inishmore there are several bicycle rental companies that will offer you different types of bicycles – including electric ones with pedal assistance – with costs a starting from 20 euros per day. You won’t even have to struggle to find them as they are all well placed at the entrance to the port, with bicycles ready to welcome you. Among these we highlight Inishmore Bicycle Hire or Aran Bike Hire. When renting your bicycle, always remember to check the coupon that is given to you which indicates the return and closing time of the bicycle rental. Before returning the bicycle, carefully check the wheels and the frame, promptly reporting any malfunction during the tour so as not to have to pay for the damage.
  • by carriage: near the port there are always several horse-drawn carriages lined up that you can approach for a partial or complete tour of the island (from 1 to 3.5 hours) . Among the various names we mention Thomas Faherty Tours or Inis Mor Carriage Tours, but even in this case I suggest you approach and ask for the price, trying to negotiate the rate.
  • shuttle bus tours: the ultimate transportation alternative, operated by Failte Bus Tours ( 20 euros per person). The tour lasts approximately 3-4 hours with stops at major points of interest such as Dun Aonghasa, the Seven Churches, Bungabhla, Inishmore seal colony and ending at Kilronan village, the starting point. Also in this case it is not necessary to book, although it is recommended.

The island can easily be explored on foot, but we do not recommend it unless you negotiate a return by bus or carriage due to the few hours available to travel between the first and last ferry of the day.

We went around it on foot following the main coastal route on the north side, and then returning to the main road in the center of the island. The day allowed us to see most of its main naturalistic attractions. The breaks, however, were very short and the return hike, this time along the central road to the island, turned out to be a real race so as not to miss the last ferry! For us, the best means of transport is the bicycle, an economical, fast and safe choice that will allow you to enjoy Inishmore with the right calm, having fun while you travel!< /span>

You won’t need to be particularly fit because the distances are short and the roads are not particularly challenging to travel.

What to see on the island of Inishmore

Inis Mór is the largest of the islands in the Aran Islands archipelago and is also the most visited.

The island can be visited within a day, making sure to leave with the first ferry and return with the last one of the day in the late afternoon. If you have the chance, we recommend you spend at least one night in Inishmore, so as to do things calmly and enjoy a night on this island, surrounded only by the sounds of the sea.

Did you know that…?

Inishmore is the largest island in Ireland not connected to the mainland and the second largest, after Achill in County Mayo.

Departure from the village of Kilronan

When arriving in Inishmore you will dock with the boat at the port of Cill Rónáin. We visited Inishmore during our trip along the Wild Atlantic Way in June 2023, on the sixth day of travel after leaving Galway.

The port of Cill Rónáin, docking for ferries visiting Inishmore

Cill Rónáin (Kilronan in English) is a small coastal village and represents the main inhabited center of the island. Don’t expect a metropolis, fewer than 300 inhabitants live there and many of the homes have rooms dedicated to tourism. When arriving at the port you will also find some of the main tourist facilities on the island, with some shops (including the only supermarket on the island) and a pub. Here you will also find bicycle rental services and transport via shuttle or carriage.

With this section we will take you to discover what to see on the Island of Inishmore starting from the port of Cill Rónáin on foot or by bicycle, the means we recommend you choose to get around the island at your own pace and in freedom.

Below we have listed the main attractions, inserting them on this convenient map so that we can organize your visit without too much hassle or effort. In the next sections we will tell you about the sites of interest that we visited and that we particularly liked. Ready to go?

Sites of interest on Inis Mór – with map

  1. Túr Mháirtín – a small dry stone tower.
  2. Teaghlach Einne – also known as St Enda’s monastery.
  3. Caisleáin Aircín – known as Arkyn Castle, are the remains of an ancient stronghold.
  4. Teampall Bhean’in – the smallest church in Ireland, located on the hill overlooking Cill Éinne Bay.
  5. Memorial Lectures è un monumento sepolcrale risalente al XIX secolo.
  6. Dún Dúchathair – the remains of the bastions of an ancient fortress with terraced walls.
  7. Leaba Ronáin – a small village located near Kilronan.
  8. Teampall Chiaráin – an ancient church dating back to the 12th century.
  9. St Sourney’s Church – a small church in ruins.
  10. Dún Eochla – a fort located in the center of the island.
  11. Poortown
  12. Teampall an Cheathrair Alainn – a small Gothic style church.
  13. Leaba Diarmada and Granne – un luogo di sepoltura.
  14. Teampall Mhic Duach – a church located in the heart of the village of Cill Mhuirbhigh.
  15. Dún Aonghasa – the remains of the most famous of the prehistoric stone forts on the Aran Islands.
  16. Clochán na Carraig – i resti di una vecchia casa in pietra.
  17. Na Seacht Teampaill, or the Seven Churches – the remains of what are once thought to have been seven buildings of worship.
  18. Dún Eoghanachta – the remains of a fort located in the western part of the island.

When visiting the island you will quickly get used to the territory, a gigantic rocky land broken into flakes on which mainly peat and some flowers grow.

To transform the rocky and barren soil into cultivable areas, mainly into potatoes that grow even in difficult terrain like this, the islanders collected sand and kelp (a type of algae) and arranged them in layers creating a labyrinth of irregular plots, enclosed by dry stone walls, creating a landscape that has become a symbol of the islands.

Life on the island lived mainly on agriculture, which was accompanied by life at sea.

The Curragh of the Aran Islands

To move at sea the islanders used particular light boats called Cauragh. These are small boats typical of western Ireland made with very light scaffolding and covered in tar. Very reliable and stable, in adverse weather you can only climb with socks made of goat material. You can see some of them at the Aran Heritage Center in Kilronan village.

Starting from the port we follow the road on the right side of the island, mostly passing pastures and fields enclosed by typical dry stone walls.

At a certain point we encounter, on the left, the remains of St Ciaran’s Church, a small church of the 12th century which is believed to have been founded by St Kieran, who later founded his own monastery at Clonmacnoise. The church is surrounded by a small cemetery with some headstones and Celtic crosses. Continuing we reach a crescent-shaped beach covered with pebbles, famous as the “seal beach“.

The seal colony

Following the road you will reach a point where the road opens onto a panoramic view of the bay, with also a small car park with food track and tables where you can stop to buy sandwiches, pastries and hot drinks. You can find the point on Google Maps by searching for Seal Colony Viewpoint which, as you can guess from the name, is a collection and resting point of the colony of seals that populate these waters. By paying particular attention you will be able to notice them dozing in the water or beached on rocks and rocks while sunbathing. We saw three of them, two of which were in plain sight lying on very close rocks. What a show!

The colony has approximately 20 specimens, some of which (the largest) even reach 230 kg!

Kilmurvey Beach

Continuing north you will reach the white crescent sand of Kilmurvey Beach which boasts Blue Flag status in Inis Mór. The beach overlooks a bay with clean, crystalline water. The sea here is usually calm, so it is suitable for swimmers of all ages and with all levels of experience.

The beach is surrounded by a wall that protects it from the wind and separates it from the road. It is an ideal place for a break or a picnic before resuming the visit by moving towards the center of the village where we suggest you take a lunch break ( see in the next section for our suggestions) and to shop at the various craft shops that you will find alongside the two main streets of the town, where you will find all the typical products that I listed previously including the famous wool sweaters from the Aran Islands.

From here you can then decide whether to continue further north towards the Seven Churches or whether to follow left in the direction of the extraordinary Dún Aengus, the most famous fort on the island on a high cliff overlooking the ocean. We go straight to the seven churches, then return for lunch and go up to the fort in the early afternoon.

The seven churches

Some gravestones and Gaelic crosses in the graveyards of the seven churches of Inishmore, Ireland

Reachable in 10 minutes by bike, the site of the Seven Churches – or in Gaelic Na Seacht Teampaill – is located near the small village of Eoghanacht. It is a place that in the past housed several religious and monastic buildings. Of these, only ruins remain today, together with only two of the famous seven churches. The best preserved building is St Breacan Church (Teampall Bhreacáin), inside which you can still see an arch and an impressive nave. 

Once the visit is over you can return and in 15 minutes you will be back in the village where you can stop for a lunch break at the bars and restaurants present, before moving to the entrance of the site which gives access to the fort of Dún Aengus, one of the most beautiful attractions on the island.

Dun Aengus

In Gaelic Dun Aonghasa, it is a mammoth prehistoric horseshoe fort. Dating back to a period between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, before the 1st century BC, it is one of the best preserved prehistoric forts in all of Europe.

Along with its gigantic construction, which reached us in good condition, what is surprising is its very scenic location which we will describe to you shortly. Entrance to the fort is subject to a fee, at a cost of 5 euros and it is not accessible with bicycles which must be left at the entrance. It starts from a small museum which explains the history of the Aran Islands and its geological formation process, together with a route dedicated to visiting the island and to the fort itself.

From here you exit and start climbing a steep hill alongside barren plots of land divided in a checkerboard pattern by long dark stone walls, until reaching, after 15 minutes, the summit on which the fort is located, overlooking an unprotected cliff (called Blind Sound) over 100 meters high, overlooking the ocean.

The legend of the forts on the Aran Islands

Legend has it that the stone forts on the Aran Islands were built by a mythological Celtic tribe, the Firbolgs, coming from Europe. In reality the islands were strongholds of the Gaelic O’Flaherty and O’Brien families and, apart from the ever-increasing tourist popularity, the lifestyle has changed very little over the centuries. In fact, the three islands still preserve the Gaelic culture and language today and preserve the habits, customs and heritage of traditional Irish life intact: from the famous knitted sweaters, to the thatched roof cottages, to the solitary and wild landscapes.

Walking on the cliffs leaves you speechless, precisely because open to the ocean without any protection, with the straight wall that descends to the bottom to the waters of the ocean. In the lower part of the fort there are some points where, with great caution, it is possible to approach the edge to look at the shape of the rock wall that descends to the water. Some more fearless visitors chose to sit on the edge, others to lie on their stomachs and look directly into space.

Climbing briefly you will arrive at the walls of the fort, built with dry stone walls and a splendid network of defensive stones. Archaeologists hypothesize that when it was built, the sea level was much lower and that the fort was more than 900 meters above the cold waters below.

Dún Aonghasa is the oldest of a series of stone fortresses found on the Aran Islands. The second most important on Inishmore is Dún Duchathair, which we did not visit due to time constraints (it is located much further south).

During our visit the weather was fortunately adverse to us, precluding much of the view of the cliff and the entire island of Inishmore, which appears to be fantastic from here.

The cliff is always very windy, so I recommend bringing a k-way or a heavier jacket with you.

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Informazioni per la visita al Dún Aengus
  • Opening hours: open every day except for the period from 24 to 30 December
    • from January to March: / 09.30 – 16.00 /;
    • from April to October: / 09.30 – 18.00 /;
    • from November to December: / 09.30 – 16.00 /;
  • Cost:
    • Adults: 5 euros;
    • Groups/elderly: 4 euros;
    • Children/students: 3 euros
    • Families: 13 euros
    • NB:
      • entry is free if you stay overnight on Inishmore at some affiliated facilities;
      • bring some contact details with you, their POS doesn’t always work;
  • Duration of the visit: consider at least an hour between walking and viewing the cliff;
  • Sito web ufficiale:

The Worm Hole

Before returning to the port I suggest you get back on the road for a final detour along the coast. The next stop is Worm Hole, in Gaelic Poll na bPeist, a spectacular swimming pool carved into the rock a few hundred meters east of Dun Aengus.

How to get to the Worm Hole

The swimming pool next to the ocean is a sight to behold but is difficult to spot. For this reason we advise you to ask local people for advice, or to rely on the maps of the island present in bars or bike rental points so that we can tell you where the most convenient entrance is. We entered by passing a gate attached to some houses close to Kilmurvey Beach, following a grassy road and continuing on the rocky plateau. You will notice the entrance from a red arrow painted on the rocks of a low wall near some houses at the entrance to the path. Consider a walk of about 20 minutes, one way. At a certain point you will find a gate with a sign warning you not to continue. You follow passing through the opening in the wall on the left. Continue following the red arrows drawn on the rock to get to the Worm Hole. Along the way, pay attention to the rocky terrain which has several cracks and cavities.

If the pool tempts you to take a dip, we do not recommend it unless you find a completely flat and calm sea, which gives you the opportunity to get back in and swim in complete safety. When we went there the wind was strong and the sea was gasping, pushing us to return quickly without getting too close.

The Worm Hole in Inis Mór has also become an attraction thanks to the diving championships Red Bull Cliff Diving. From my point of view, its very regular shape seems to have been dug by machinery, but in reality it seems to be a completely natural hole created by a slow and continuous phenomenon of erosion .

We suggest you set off in search of the Worm Hole only if you want to stop for the night or have at least an hour available to visit it. It is not easy to find it and the path to reach it is long, even with bicycles at your disposal.

When returning go back along Cottage Road which will take you straight to the port.

Where to sleep on Inishmore

Many friends and other travelers advised us to spend a night on Inishmore Island and not doing so was one of the biggest regrets of our road trip on the Wild Atlantic Way. As you will be able to see for yourself by visiting the island, Inishmore is a place of sad and authentic beauty, a barren rock lashed by the wind and the force of the sea. As the lights go down on the island, the few sounds of man fade away and give way to the simple and sweet silence of the sea. From what we were told by a traveler we met in a hostel in Galway, sleeping on the Aran Islands is an intimate experience to try, like waking up early and to climb higher, along the stone walls far from the port, to see the dawn rise on the distant coast of County Galway. Stop after the last ferry, go down to the pubs for a beer with the locals and let yourself be transported by this forgotten place.

Among the best accommodations on the island we suggest to stay at theAran Walkers Lodge, but This is not exactly cheap accommodation. There are also some cheaper accommodations a little further away from the port with Airbnb, such as the beautiful room of this lodge or a room in this gigantic and elegant house with sea view.

If you want to stay overnight I suggest you book well in advance. There are few accommodations on the island and the cheapest ones are booked well in advance.

Where to eat traditional culinary products in Inishmore

There aren’t many places to eat in Inishmore but don’t worry that you might end up starving! Near the port and along the road leading north you will find some coffee shops and a few pubs where you can stop for lunch or buy some takeawaypasty or sandwiches .

Among the various restaurant activities open in Inishmore I suggest Joe Watty’s a typical Irish pub crowded with tourists during the day and locals in the evening. This is the right place to savor traditional food washed down with a good pint of creamy Guinness.

The place we recommend most of all, however, is in the small village of Kilmurvey, near the most beautiful beach on the island. This is Teach Nan Phaidi, a delightful cottage a short distance from Dún Aonghasa, serving heart-warming dishes, desserts and cakes. Here we enjoyed one of the best meals of our road trip in Ireland with a typical Irish stew a> creamy with meat and a crab dish with salad.

A collage of two photos showing Irish beef soup with mashed potatoes and crab with salad and bread.

As you go up the island we suggest a stop at the farm that hosts Aran Island Cottage Cheese where you can taste the delicious cheese produced on the island accompanied by honey and jams, also local.

When visiting the Aran Islands we finally suggest you dedicate part of your time to a tasting of the whiskeys and gins produced locally on the islands, with water and herbs from Inishmore and the two adjacent islands. If you can’t get to the distillery, ask in pubs and bars for Aran Islands Spirit products. They are very different from what you will find in the rest of Ireland, with truly refined flavors and nuances.

The sweaters of the Aran Islands

Together with the important historical finds and the wonderful barren and uncontaminated landscape, the Aran Islands are famous throughout Ireland and Europe for the production of quality handicraft products.

The most famous handcrafted product are woven wool sweaters (Aran sweaters), beautiful, very soft and heavy to keep anglers warm, available in numerous patterns and colors and decorated in various styles. The sweaters were made from the raw wool of sheep raised on the island and have a strong connection to the island. In fact, it is said that each local family had its own decoration, in such a way as to immediately recognize each local person – especially the fishermen – in the case of a accidental death at sea. Once upon a time, especially for fishermen, they were made with unwashed wool and had to be rarely rinsed to remain waterproof and warm.

From a niche product known and sold to the few who lived or visited the Aran Islands, they became famous when an Irish folk band, The Clancy Brothers, wore them, after receiving them as a gift from their mother, in 1961, for a television show .

Unfortunately I regret to tell you that the sweaters sold on the island are no longer made here and that the sweater business has become a mere business. The sweaters did originate on this island, but with the exception of those made by women at home for their families, the others are all produced on the mainland and imported to the island< at i=4>. A real shame!

Today you can buy them in many shops even on the mainland, in particular we recommend Aran Sweater Market which has three shops in Ireland: in Inis Mór , in Dublin and Killarney, not to mention now the sales in duty free airports.

Along with sweaters, hats, socks, gloves and scarves are also produced, always in wool. On the islands you will find many products for a very nice gift idea.

I Pampooties

Inside the shops also ask for Pampooties, particular raw leather shoes, which were once made and worn on the Aran Islands and which you could ask to try.

What to see on the other Aran Islands

Our travel schedule did not allow us to do so, but if you have the opportunity we suggest you extend your visit to the two smaller islands of the Aran archipelago , Inis Meàin and Inisheer, also these from territorial conformation similar to the larger one and equally pleasant with expanses of light rock, the typical fields delimited by geometric walls, white sand beaches and turquoise sea.

To reach the two smaller islands I suggest you rely on the port of Doolin or of Ros a ‘ Mhíl. Here you can rely on Doolin Ferry with a journey of just 15 minutes to Inisheer (Inis Oírr) and 20 minutes for Inis Meàin (also known as Inishmaan). Ros a’ Mhíl ferries depart from Aran Ferries at a cost slightly longer and longer travel times.

What to see on Inis Meàin

View of the island of Inis Meain from the fort, on a sunny day.

Inis Meàin can also be explored on a bicycle or with small organized tours, but it also lends itself very well to long walks. The island has three circular routes, with variable duration and difficulty. We suggest you follow the Lúb Dún Fearbhaí Looped Walk – with purple signs – which seems to be the longest ( 5 hours) but that covers most of the attractions. Inis Meàin is the second largest island but the least inhabited (only 150 inhabitants).

Among the most beautiful attractions on the island of Inis Meàin we suggest:

  • The Dún Fearbhaí fort reachable with a walk from the port. The fort has a circular shape and is in excellent preservation. On sunny days its location offers beautiful views of Galway Bay and the other islands of the Aran archipelago.
  • Teach Synge is a magnificent 300 year old cottage, which has been lovingly restored to its former glory. Today it is home to a museum that showcases the life and works of John Millington Synge, the famous Irish playwright who lived part of his life here.
  • Dún Crocbhur, also known as Conor’s Fort, is a national monument and is the largest fort stone from all three Aran Islands. It is located on the highest point of the island (ideal for fantastic photographs) and has a very intricate shape.
  • Puffing Holes are holes in the cliff with channels that lead directly to the ocean. On days when the sea is particularly rough they create puffs similar to those of whales. You can also find them in Inishmore and Inisheer, in the southernmost areas of the islands.

What to see on Inisheer (or Inis Oírr)

It is farro of Inisheer, Ireland

It is the smallest island of the Aran Islands, it extends for only 3 km in length and 2 km in width and is home to around 300 inhabitants. The area is mostly wild with some accommodation and only two pubs. The southern area of ​​the island is a long expanse of limestone plateaus which are numerous here, creating a suggestive panorama, with the ocean waves crashing on them. The rest of the island is similar to its sisters, with farms and green fields bordered by the typical stone walls also present on the other islands.

Among the most beautiful attractions of Inis Oírr we suggest:

  • The ruins of O’ Brien Castle (or Furmina Castle) built on the highest part of the island to allow the family O’ Brien to control access to the port of Galway;
  • The church of San Caomhan, which overlooks a beach and is surrounded by a very green lawn with a soft carpet dotted with old tombstones;
  • The wreck of the Plassey, a fishing vessel which in 1960 was caught in a storm in Galway Bay and ran aground on the coast of Inis Oírr, near Finnis Rock, where has been lying ever since;
  • The beautiful Inisheer Lighthouse, dating back to 1857. Electrified in 1978, it is now radio-controlled to always guide ships in Galway Bay;
  • The main village of Kromna Villagecharacteristic with its thatched houses and very close to the wonderful Trà Inis Oìrr beach with very fine white sand and a very clear sea.

A visit to Inis Mór and the remaining Aran Islands goes very well with a trip to discover County Galway and the Dolin area with the marvelous Cliffs of Moher, which it shares the geological conformation with the islands. Furthermore, we cannot fail to mentionthe Connamara National Park, a naturalistic area with 2,000 hectares of mountains and panoramic coasts, vast peat bogs, moors, prairies and woods in the County Galway.

Our advice for you is to organize a trip based in the colorful and lively Galway (take a look at our guide to find out where to stay and eat in the city at the best price) and dedicate at least 3 days to exploring these areas. You won’t regret it and you will actually be very sorry when the time comes for you to leave again!

I hope this guide to discovering what to see on Inishmore has been useful to you and has covered everything you need. 
Have a good day and have a good trip!

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Read also: 9 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Northern Ireland

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