You can get
to Inishmore from either Rossaveal in Connemara or from Doolin in County Clare
by ferry. If you are staying in Galway city, you can combine your Aran Island
Ferry ticket with a ticket for bus transfer to Rossaveal.
South coast cliffs.
You can fly
as well with Aer Arann. All the islands have airfields, and seeing them from
the air is a great experience.
Inis Mór is
the busiest and biggest of the Aran Islands. The name means ‘the big island’,
the locals call it ‘Aran’ which means the same thing in Irish. Because it gets
the most visitors, it is the most developed of the islands.
find most facilities in Kilronan, the islands’ biggest village, where the ferry
port is located. Kilronan is blessed with a biggish supermarket with an ATM,
and even a fast food joint, our own Irish Supermac’s in the same building, five
minutes walk from the pier in Kilronan.
office opposite the pier is a good place to drop into for all the local
There is a
Heritage Centre on the outskirts of the village on the road that leads West
towards Bun Gabhla which offers internet access as well as an informative
also has a Post Office, a Bank of Ireland, a top-class playground, a new
medical centre, and a community hall which, during the summer months, has shows
of Irish Music and Dance (Ragús) not to be missed.
At the Kilronan pier
of Inishmore you will be met by people offering mini bus tours in anything ranging from a
van to larger busses. Those tours are meant for day trippers and will bring you
close to Dún Aengus with a 30 minute walk up to the fort via the visitor centre
and passing some craft shops and a cafe. Dún Aengus alone is worth the trip to
the Aran Islands. It is a prehistoric stone fort perching on the edge of 90
metre tall cliffs with the Atlantic right underneath. On those tours, you will
also see The Seven Churches, (an Early Christian site) a seal colony, and the
most Western point of the island, although you may not have the time to get out
and look around everywhere. You can also approach mini bus drivers for a taxi
service for your group, negotiating a fee.
Cycling is a great option for those who
want to feel close to nature. Bikes can be rented from a couple of shops near
the pier. But, if you are cycling, a day visit is probably a bit short for a
satisfying visit. If you are cycling for a couple of days, you can follow the Inis Mór Way, a route 50 kilometres
long around the island. Look out for the yellow marker posts.
If you plan to walk the island, definitely plan
more than a day trip to get the best out of it. You can break up the Inis Mór Way into shorter walks
choosing just one or two sights to focus on for the day. There is a local bus
service from Kilronan to Bun Gabhla roughly three times a day which can bring
you on your way. Find out the timetable from the tourist office.
to get around is by pony and trap, great
fun on a fine day, and a memory kids will cherish. The pony and trap operators
charge depending on how far you go. That means you can negotiate your own
Dun aengus hill fort on Inishmore, one of the main attractions.
The Island Heritage Centre on the outskirts
of Kilronan will give you great insight into the islands culture. The centre
has a daily screening of the 1934 film classic ‘Man of Aran’ that describes
life on the islands in the old days, and there is a worthwhile, informative
foremost, there are the great and spectacular stone forts of Inis Mór (Inishmore), Dún Aengus and Dún Dúcathair (The Black Fort). Watch our video below and get an impression of what it's like up there! Dún Aengus is typically the
destination of most day trippers, but if you stay longer, make sure to see the
Black Fort as well. It is equally as spectacular and bewildering as Dún Aengus
leaving you to wonder how people could have lived here...but they did. There is
also Dún Eoghanachta, a perfectly
circular fort which is visible from the main road between Kilmurvey beach and
Bun Gabhla, and Dún Eochla on the road
between Kilronan and Kilmurvey which was reconstructed in the 19th
century. All are worth a visit to appreciate the ancient culture of the islands
dating from the Bronze Age.
Seven Churches early Christian site.
There is a
fine selection of Early Christian sites
on Inishmore which are worth exploring to get a feel for this Golden Age of Irish culture.
Consider visiting St. Enda’s
monastery near Killeaney which has a Saints’ bed (which is said to cure your
illness if you sleep on it...let us know how you get on) and a Holy Well, as
well as ruins of all the old buildings that were part of this important complex
founded by St. Enda. Saint Ciaran, St. Columcille, and St. Brendan were all
biggest place in order of importance would be The Seven Churches (Na Seacht dTeampall) near the Western end of
the island, a complex that was founded by Saint Brecan and was a pilgrimage
place en route to Rome.
Saint Ciarans’ Church (Teampall Chiaráin)
near the coast at Mainistir is a great destination. Look out for the large
stone slab with a hole in it through which people used to pass a handkerchief
for good luck, a great example for how Pagan and Christian beliefs melted
together in Medieval Ireland.
The Church of the Four Beauties (Teampall
An Cheathair Alainn) is a beautiful 15th century church on the
road between Kilronan and Oatquarter. This place is named after the four Saints
that used to live here.
Find out more about the history of the Aran Islands and the sites mentioned above here.
start talking about natural beauty on this stunning island!? The entire South
coast is lined by tall cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. At Dún Aengus
they measure 90 metres in height.
are rough and beautiful at the same time. They make me feel humble when I think
of my modest size compared to theirs. They also make me think of all of our
distant, distant past: We came from the ocean below.
South West you can visit the (dangerous) Puffing Holes, actual holes in the cliffs
that reach down to the ocean. These are places where the sea is undermining the
rock formations and gradually eroding them which is the sort of thing that
might have happened at the Black Fort when parts of it dropped into the sea in
the 19th century.
Kilmurvey, there is a lovely sheltered beach in a small bay, a nice and safe
place for a swim, and to let the kids play in the sand.
also to visit the Westernmost tip of the island at Bun Gabhla. Listen out for
the sounds around you: You might hear the ocean, you might hear a dog barking
in the village, you will hear your own footsteps, but not much else. To me,
this place does feel like the end of the world.
The end of A world, rather. Next stop- America.
There is a
wide selection of accommodation on the island, something for every budget.
has a modern hotel at Kilronan, Óstan
Árann (099-61104). There are plenty of B and B’s, a good handful in
Kilronan alone. Pier House directly
at the pier is an obvious choice (099-61417), and Seacrest also offers very good quality (099-61292). Ask the tourist
office (099-61263) for a more comprehensive list of B and B’s and self-catering
three hostels, Kilronan Hostel
(above a Kilronan pub) (099-61255), the comfortable Pilgrim Hostel which has a very good reputation for good food in
Killeaney (099-61393) which offers the option to camp in the garden, and Mainistir House Hostel in Mainistir
(099-61169) which is famous for their very good mostly vegetarian evening
buffet, we loved the buffet, (open for bookings even if you are not staying
also a very basic campsite on the
road West from Kilronan. As far as we
know they don’t have any showers and no kitchen, but it might be a last minute
solution if everywhere else on Inishmore is booked out in high season (099-61185).
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