The Aran Islands (Oileáin Árann in Irish) is a group of islands located offshore from Galway in Ireland. The archipelago of the Aran Islands consists of three islands named Inis Mór, Inis Meáin ve Inis Oírr. These islands are under the control of the Galway County. The landscape of the Aran Islands is very traditional and unique, with little traditional villages and a small community of local people. Spending a night in Kilronan is recommended to meet locals and travelers at the pub of the city. Inishmore can be easily visited by bike in a day.
For unspoilt natural beauty, Aran Island does not disappoint. An archipelago of three islands, the largest, and most visited is a place where you can explore local, authentic life, and meet some of the friendliest, and welcoming people you’ll ever come into contact with. Of course, the scenery is the major winner here, and the islands are known to have some of the jaw-dropping natural scenery on the planet. Think wind-swept, rugged, not a soul for miles, and you’re not far wrong. With the Atlantic bashing the coastline during the winter months, you can expect a truly castaway feel to a visit here, an ideal antidote to a busy life. Under ownership of County Galway, on clear days, you can see over to Scotland, as well as the Irish mainland, with Inis Mor being the most frequently visited of the three islands. The ferry over to the islands during the winter months can be a little rough, so if you do suffer from sea sickness, remember to take your medication.
The original inhabitants of Aran Island knew how to protect their land, and evidence of that is still seen today, with huge stone forts which have stood up to some of the strongest winds and storms the Atlantic can bring. Today, around 900 people live on the island, but that doesn’t take into account tourists visiting, to experience the tranquility and peace that the island is known for. This is not a destination that ever feels crowded however, and actually feels quite isolated, making it the ideal getaway. Irish is still the prevalent language on the island, but English is widely spoken too. Despite that, most signs are still in Irish, so you may have to ask for directions if you have a specific destination in mind! Despite the small size, the island is one for exploration. You can bike ride to Dun Aognhasa, one of the most scenic bike rides you’ll ever set your eyes on, or you can don your walking boots and explore on foot. There are some rocky sections once you leave the paved roads however, so be aware of the terrain before you set off. There are many historic and natural sights to see on the island, including the aforementioned Dun Aognhasa, which is a huge fort, located high on a cliff. The fort is very well preserved and has been renovated several times, to allow visitors to experience it. Do be careful towards the cliff edge however, as there are no fences in place. The Black Fort is a great spot to visit, however it can take some navigating to get there, as you will have to walk the last section. The fort is completely surrounded by high cliffs, and that gives it a less touristic feel than any of the other forts on the main island. Of course, this being a stunning, isolated island, Aran Island has some beautiful golden beaches to explore, with clear water lapping at the shores. During the winter it’s not advised to head towards the ocean, however the summer months are ideal for enjoying the sun and cooling down. Another activity to enjoy is totally free, and that is to check out the amazing sunsets in the early evenings. There are many small country pubs you can sit outside and enjoy the sight, with friendly locals happy to chat.