The Aran Islands

The Aran Islands

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Last Updated : 20 January 2023

Aran Islands, County Galway

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The Aran Islands are a group of three islands located off the west coast of Ireland. They are known for their rugged beauty, rich cultural heritage, and unique way of life. Inis Mór (Inishmore)is the largest Aran Island and farthest away from the mainland. Inis Meáin (Inishmaan), the Middle Island is next, followed by Inis Oírr (Inisheer), the smallest of the Aran Islands and closest to the Irish coastline.

Getting to the Aran Islands

You can get to the Islands by plane or by ferry. Aer Aran have regular flights to all of the Aran Islands from Connemara Airport, 9 km from Rossaveel. The flight to Inis Mór takes only 10 minutes. The most popular transport are the ferries from Galway city, Rossaveal and Doolin to The Aran Islands. It takes 90 minutes to get to Inis Mór from Galway City. 40 minutes from Rossaveel, and from Doolin it is 20 minutes.

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The largest of the islands, Inishmore, is home to the famous Dún Aengus fortress, a breath-taking fort on a 300 ft cliff-top thought to have been built in the Bronze Age or Iron Age. The fort offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding landscape. Visitors can also explore the island’s celtic churches and immerse themselves in a truly Irish experience, both in culture and language.

Inishmaan and Inisheer are the other two islands in the group, they are smaller and quieter than Inishmore. They offer a glimpse into a traditional way of life that has disappeared from most of mainland Ireland. There are small fishing villages and farms dotting the landscape. The islands are also home to a wide variety of wildlife, including a large population of seabirds. Nature enthusiasts can hike along the many trails that crisscross the islands, taking in the stunning coastal views.


Inis Mór – The largest of the Aran Islands

Inis Mór (Inishmore in English), is the largest of the three Aran Islands. It is a place of natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, making it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. The island is home to a variety of landscapes, from rugged cliffs to sandy beaches, and is famous for its unique stone walls that divide the land into small plots.

One of the main tourist attractions on Inis Mór is the ancient fort of Dún Aengus. This impressive structure sits on the edge of a 300-foot cliff, offering breath-taking views of the island and the surrounding sea. The fort, a world heritage site, is believed to have been built by the ancient Celts around 800 BC and is a testament to the island’s rich history and cultural heritage.

Another popular attraction is the Inis Mór Heritage Centre, which is located in the village of Kilronan. The centre provides visitors with an in-depth look at the island’s history and culture, including its traditional way of life, customs, and language. Visitors can also learn about the island’s famous traditional crafts, such as knitting and weaving, and see demonstrations of these skills in action.

Inis Mór is also a great place for outdoor activities, with plenty of opportunities for hiking, cycling, and fishing. The island’s beaches are also popular for swimming, sunbathing, and windsurfing. Visitors can also take boat trips to explore the island’s coast and see the many seals and seabirds that live there.

One of the best ways to experience the island’s culture and natural beauty is to stay in one of its traditional thatched cottages. These cottages are usually located in remote areas and offer visitors the chance to live like an islander, surrounded by the island’s stunning natural beauty.

Inis Mór is a truly magical place, rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you are looking for adventure or relaxation, this island has something for everyone. So why not take a trip to Inis Mór and discover this hidden treasure for yourself.


Inis Meáin – The Middle Island

One of the most striking features of the island is its unique landscape. Rolling green hills, rocky cliffs, and pristine beaches are all part of the island’s natural beauty. The island’s many walking trails offer visitors the opportunity to explore this picturesque terrain, with views of the Atlantic Ocean and the nearby islands of Inishmore and Inisheer.

Inishmaan is also home to a number of historic sites, including the ruins of a mediaeval church and a number of stone forts, dating back to the Iron Age. These ancient structures offer a glimpse into the island’s rich history and the lives of its early inhabitants.

But what truly sets Inishmaan apart is its strong sense of community and traditional way of life. The island is home to a tight-knit group of locals who have maintained many of their ancestors’ customs and traditions. Visitors can experience this firsthand by participating in a traditional Irish music session, visiting a local farmer’s market, or learning about the island’s unique fishing and farming practices.


Inis Oírr – The Smallest Aran Island

Inis Oírr is the smallest and most easterly of the three Aran Islands off the coast of County Galway, Ireland. The island has a rich history dating back to the time of Saint Enda in the 5th century and beyond. Today, Inis Oírr is a popular holiday destination for travellers from all over the world especially the USA and the UK.

The island has something for everyone; stunning landscapes, traditional Irish pubs, local culture, the Irish language and more. So if you’re looking for a place to relax, unwind and enjoy some Irish hospitality, Inis Oírr is the perfect destination for you.


The Aran Islands are a truly unique and special place, offering visitors a chance to experience the natural beauty and rich cultural heritage of Ireland. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or just want to get away from it all, the Aran Islands are a destination that should not be missed.

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