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Visit the Aran Islands

Updated on June 23, 2017

Aran Islands: Taking a Ferry to Inis Mor, Inish Meain, or Inisheer

Planning a trip to Ireland this year? A favorite Ireland destination is the Wild Atlantic Way.The picturesque rocky west coast of Ireland invites hundreds of thousands of visitors a year.

Be on the lookout for lower fares to Ireland by flying the National Airlines, Aer Lingus. For the best travel value look for packages that may include air fare, car rental and some hotel stays.

If you plan on traveling to the West Coast in Ireland consider adding a day trip to one or all of the Aran Islands.The Aran Islands are a small group of rocky islands off the west coast of Ireland located in beautiful Galway Bay. The three islands are Inis Mor (Inishmore), Inish Meain (Inishmaan), and the smallest of the three islands, Inisheer. These beautiful rugged islands are known for breathtaking vistas, a temperate climate and limestone walls that surround small farms.

Visitors come to the islands to visit the Iron Age fort, Dun Aengus, buy Aran sweaters, bike the islands or stay in a bed and breakfast, hotel or hostel on the islands. Other popular destinations are Temple Benen, an 11th century oratory, on Inishmore. If you're lucky enough to travel in Ireland on a clear day you'll have many beautiful photos of this unique historical landscape.

In 2008 I was fortunate enough to visit Ireland and tour the Aran Islands with my aunt and uncle. It was a beautiful sunny day that started with us choosing one of the Irish ferries to take us out to Inis Mor. There are quite a few Irish ferries to choose from, you can take one of the luxury Irish ferries or just choose one that fits your schedule.

Our day on Inish Mor was filled with wonderful memories starting with a visit to an Irish pub where we listened to traditional music and ended with us taking a tour of the island by car. You can also tour Inis Mor by pony and trap, just hike the island or the most popular way to tour the island is by renting a bike.


Aran Island Cottage

Aran Island Cottage
Aran Island Cottage

Visit Ireland!

Now's the time to visit Ireland!

Immerse yourself in Irish culture, study Ireland travel guides ( I recommend Lonely Planet and Rick Steves), listen to the melodious sound of Irish music, visit an Irish pub, hear the Irish language spoken and fall in love with the history, beauty and unique rugged landscapes you'll encounter.

Winner of the Irish Book Awards for Non-fiction 2007

Read More about the West Coast of Ireland

Tim Robinson studied the landscape of the West of Ireland and wrote this award winning book.

What do you need to get to the Aran Islands?

  • A plane ticket to Ireland
  • Ground transportation to the ferry
  • Information on the ferries available online
  • Good weather
  • Patience, lines to the ferry can be long
  • Desire to see the beautiful, scenic Aran Islands and experience more of Ireland

Pony and Trap Aran Islands

Pony and Trap Aran Islands
Pony and Trap Aran Islands
Bed and Breakfast on the Aran Islands
Bed and Breakfast on the Aran Islands

Did you know?

The Irish language is spoken on the islands but most locals also speak English. Be aware that most signs are in written in the Irish language.

If hiking the Aran Islands be prepared with good walking shoes, water and time. Don't try to rush through a visit, part of the charm of island life is taking your time.

Although there is a fully stocked supermarket on Inis Mor and plenty of restaurants you might want to bring food from the mainland to save money.

Don't forget your camera and rain gear! Ireland is famous for unexpected rain showers.

Tips on Travel to the Aran Islands

Learn Irish

Travel to Ireland in the off season to take advantage of off season airline rates, hotel or hostel specials or tour packages.

Plan ahead and pre-book your ferry trip to the islands. There are many ferries that travel to the Aran Islands but the conditions vary, check the internet for options and prices beforehand. You can also fly into the Aran Islands but this can be an expensive option. Be prepared that bad weather could mean canceled trips. Give yourself a window of time or a weekend.

Consider taking motion sickness pills; the crossing can be choppy and you don't want motion sickness to interfere with your travels.

Bikes are available for hire to tour the islands or you can take a mini-bus tour, a pony and trap tour or a taxi. The tours will not be cheap but you can negotiate during slow times. The history and local stories you will learn on the tour are well worth the expense.

Plan ahead if you want to stay overnight on the Aran Islands as high season might be booked weeks or months ahead. Rooms may include breakfast but don't expect luxury. Clean and cozy rooms reflect the simple island life. Be respectful of the locals and do your research. Hostels, small hotels, and bed and breakfasts offer a tourist a longer stay to explore the beauty and rugged simplicity of the islands.

How to get to the Aran Islands

Aer Lingus is Ireland's National Airport. It's best to fly into Shannon Airport and rent a car heading west towards the coast of Ireland.

Information on the Aran Island Ferries

© 2011 Writing Nag

Have you been to the Aran Islands? - Would You Like to Visit?

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    • desilegend profile image

      desilegend 

      5 years ago

      Living in Ireland but never visited Aran Islands

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 

      5 years ago

      No i have not but i want to visit Aran Island :)

    • stephiy profile image

      stephiy 

      5 years ago

      Beautiful lens! I've never been to Ireland but I hope to go someday. I'll have to include a stop to the Aran Islands :)

    • srsddn lm profile image

      srsddn lm 

      6 years ago

      Aran islands seem to be gorgeous. It would be worth paying a visit.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 

      6 years ago from Seattle, WA

      They're on my list along with the rest of Western Ireland. *blessed*

    • derryod profile image

      derryod 

      6 years ago

      The Aran Islands truly are a magical place. It's like stepping back in time when you visit.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      I'd love to visit the Aran Islands, they seem to have a beauty that is classic & unspoiled.

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 

      6 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Looks like a lovely place to visit - we always try to learn some basic words of the countries we visit, it really does mean something nice to the locals! Very good lens!

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 

      6 years ago from Shanghai, China

      It reminds me of the Hebrides - these photos are so soothing...

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      No, but I would love to go, it reminds me of the English countryside a lot , which I love. Thank you for introducing me to this heavenly space :)

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 

      6 years ago

      Thank you for taking us on this beautiful journey through the Aran Islands. I have never been to Ireland, but some of my ancestors hail from there, and I've always wanted to go. This looks like a beautiful stop for anyone visiting the country!

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 

      6 years ago from East Central Florida

      Thank you for this lovely visit to the Aran Islands. It makes me want to see them in person. The music behind the video I watched was wonderful. too.

    • DonD LM profile image

      DonD LM 

      6 years ago

      Aran Islands is a perfect place for vacation together with your family and friends. Great lense.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 

      6 years ago

      I have never been to the Aran Islands.. but I have always wanted to go because of Aran Sweaters :) Blessed!

    • Swisstoons profile image

      Thomas F. Wuthrich 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      Since arriving at your lens about ten minutes ago, I've developed a real thirst for a creamy Guinness. Fortunately, I've got some in my fridge! Thumbs up! And thank you very much for your blessing on my Uilleann Pipes lens! Much appreciated!

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 

      6 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      Just coming back to bless this lens. You have done an exceptional job of perking everyone's interest. Blessings

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      6 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      I had no idea where these islands were until I began reading your lens. I'd love to visit Ireland someday. Thanks for introducing me to a part of the country I'd never heard of before.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Haven't heard of Aran until now. Looks beautiful.

    • profile image

      happynutritionist 

      6 years ago

      Wow, that is simply beautiful...thank you for the virtual trip!

    • TheWritingnag profile imageAUTHOR

      Writing Nag 

      7 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      @sheriangell: You're welcome! I've been to Ireland many times but only recently traveled to the Aran Islands! It was worth the wait!

    • TheWritingnag profile imageAUTHOR

      Writing Nag 

      7 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      @WeirdStuff: It's such a beautiful place I hope you can get there one day!

    • sheriangell profile image

      sheriangell 

      7 years ago

      Ireland has long been on my top ten places to visit. Thanks for this - I'd never heard of the Aran Islands.

    • profile image

      WeirdStuff 

      7 years ago

      Looks great! Ireland is on my travelling wish list!

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