Tag Archives: Wild Atlantic Way

The Aran Islands

What are The Aran Islands and why are they interesting?

The Aran Islands; Inishmore (Irish Spelling Inis Mór), Inisheer (Inis Oírr) and Inishmaan (Inis Meáin) are located off the coast of Galway.  The islands lie about 13km (8 miles) from the coast of Galway. This distance to the mainland has made the islands far more traditional than the rest of Ireland. Many traditional farming and crafts can still be seen on the island and the people speak Irish as their first language here.

The landscape on the Aran Islands may be like nothing you have seen before. It is karst and rocky and you will find land made fields surrounded by stone walls.

The Aran Islands Inisheer (Inis Oirr)
The Aran Islands Lanscape, Inisheer (Inis Oirr)

How to get to the Aran Islands –

This information was a bit long for this blog post so please see our separate post on How to get to the Aran Islands

Some Aran Island Traditions –

Clothes – The Aran Islands are famous of course for the traditional Aran Sweater but some other clothes are also unique to the island; the men for example wore a woven belt called a Crios and leather shoes called Pampooties! You can find out more about traditional Aran dress in the Stitches in Time exhibition at the Aras Eanna centre on Inisheer.

Land Making – The land on the Aran Islands is karst and rocky so the locals have to create land, they do this by mixing sand and seaweed and placing on top of rocks to create fertile soil.

Currachs, Inisheer (Inis Oirr)
Currachs, Inisheer (Inis Oirr)

Currach Boats – you may see these lying on the beaches on Aran Islands, they are a traditional Irish boat with a wooden frame over which animal skin would have been stretched over, although modern Currachs are now covered with canvas. These Currachs were a lifeline for Aran natives in times before motor powered boats and ferry crossings.

Day Trip or Stay Overnight?

Many of our clients take day trips to the Aran Islands. We recommend getting the morning ferry or flight and taking the evening ferry home. Make sure you leave in plenty of time and arrive at your departure point about 30 minutes early. The ferries usually leave on time and the journey to ports can sometimes take longer than expected. Calculate the time it will take you to get from your location to the port and add an hour to it!

There is ample accommodation on all of the islands, should you wish to stay overnight. There is a hotel on Inishmore as well as several good B&Bs, Inisheer has a small hotel/guesthouse and several good B&Bs and Inishmaan has several good quality B&Bs.

Get in Touch with us about booking your Ireland package including the Aran Islands and we can secure you the best available accommodation.

Aran Islands & Disabilities –

Although some of the ferries may have wheelchair access, access to the ferry is often by floating pontoon which may not be suitable for wheelchair users, depending on tides. The best thing to do is to check with the ferry company a few days in advance.

The islands themselves are not totally disabled friendly, the tour companies on the ground do not have wheelchair adapted buses and the ground can be quite uneven in places and so is not ideal for maneuvering wheelchairs around.

Get in Touch-

The best way to learn about the Aran Islands is to visit yourself. Contact us today to book your trip!

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International+353 69 77686

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How to get to the Aran Islands

About How to get to the Aran Islands –

Our final blog post in our Aran Islands series explains how to get to the Aran Islands by ferry, flight or as part of a bus or rail tour.

How to Get to the Aran Islands Option 1: Ferry –

You can get to the Aran Islands by passenger ferry from Rossaveel which is about an hour west of Galway City or from Doolin in County Clare.  You cannot bring a car across on the ferry.

Weather permitting; the ferries from Rossaveel go year round whereas the ferries from Doolin usually go from around March to October. The ferries can be cancelled if the weather is too bad as the crossing would be too dangerous. The ferries from Rossaveel have less cancelled sailings per year than there are from the Doolin port.

How long does the ferry to the Aran Islands Take?
  • Rossaveel to Inishmore – About 45 Minutes
  • Rossaveel to Inishmaan –  About 55 Minutes
  • Rossaveel to Inisheer – About 65 Minutes
  • Doolin to Inisheer – About 30 Minutes
  • Doolin to Inishmaan – About 40 Minutes
  • Doolin to Inishmore – About 90 Minutes

The ferry crossing to the Aran Islands can get very rough, if you suffer from travel sickness, then you should think about your journey before setting off. Think about visiting the island closest to port (Inishmore from Rossaveel and Inisheer from Doolin) and pick up some motion sickness pills before you go.  I find sitting outside, looking out to the horizon helps me!

How to Get to the Aran Islands Option 2: Bus Tour/Ferry –

There are a number of companies offering bus transfers with ferry tickets from Galway city. You take the bus as far as Rossaveel and then take the ferry. If you don’t want to drive, this option is included in our Independent Rail Tours.

How to Get to the Aran Islands Option 3: Fly–

You can fly to the Aran Islands in a small passenger plane from Connemara airport. The flight takes about 10 minutes and there is a maximum of 8 people allowed in the plane, depending on the weight of the passengers, there could be fewer than 8. Connemara Airport is located in Inveran which is about 40 minutes west of Galway City. You do need to book your flight in advance with Aer Arann Islands.

Get in touch with us today and take the hassle out of booking your trip to Ireland and the Aran islands!

USA & Canada          1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone              0800 096 9438

International              +353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/

 

 

 

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Inishmore (Inis Mór), Aran Islands

About Inishmore (Inis Mór), Aran Islands

Inishmore (Irish Spelling Inis Mór) is the biggest and most populated of the famous Aran Islands off the coast of Galway in Ireland.  The entire island is about 30km squared. As with all of the islands the spoken language is Irish although locals can usually speak both English and Irish. The locals are dedicated to preserving traditional Irish culture and traditional Irish music is very much alive in Kilronan, the islands main village.

When you arrive on the island there are usually mini buses lined up, waiting to take prospective clients on tours around the island which feature all the major sites. There is a small fee for these tours. You can also usually take a tour of the island by horse and trap which is more expensive than the bus tour. There are also several bike hire companies, should you wish to see the island that way!

Some of the main tourist attractions on the island include –

Dún Aonghasa Fort & Visitor Centre: A superb example of an Iron or Bronze Age Promontory Fort, standing dramatically at the edge of a 100 metre high cliff! The on-site visitor centre will tell you more about how and why it was built.

Dun Aengus, Inismore, Aran Islands
Dun Aengus, Inismore, Aran Islands

The Worm Hole: A natural rectangular shaped pool at the bottom of the cliffs south of Dún Aonghasa.

Dun Duchathair (The Black Fort): This fort is situated on the cliffs near Cill Éinne. It is a lot quieter than Dún Aonghasa in terms of visitor numbers. The fort is not easy to access, wear good walking boots and prepare for a bit of a trek if you wish to visit!

Kilmurvey Beach: There is a beautiful sandy beach on the island just off the road between Kilronan and Dun Aengus.

For more general information on the Aran Islands see our Aran Islands blog post here, or for information on getting to the islands click here. 

Want to book a tour that includes Inishmore?

The best way to learn about Inishmore is to spend time there! Contact us today for a quotation including this location in your Ireland tour!

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/

 

 

 

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Inisheer (Inis Oírr), Aran Islands

About Inisheer (Inis Oírr), Aran Islands

Inisheer (Inis Oírr) is the smallest and most easterly of the famous Aran Islands off the coast of Galway in Ireland. The entire island is about 8km squared and has a population of around 300. Like the other Aran Islands the spoken language is Irish although locals can typically speak both English and Irish.

When you arrive on the island there are usually coaches lined up, waiting to take potential customers on tours around the island which feature the major visitor attractions. There is a small fee for these tours, payable directly to the driver.  You can also usually take a tour of the island by horse and trap which is more expensive than the bus tour. You can also hire a bike to get around on the island if you prefer.

The main village is called Baile an Lurgáin and you can walk to it from the pier.  In the village you will find the local shop, pubs, B&Bs and restaurants.

Some of the main tourist attractions on the island include –

The Wreck of The MV Plassey: The MV Plassey ran into Finnish Rock on Inisheer in 1960 and the entire crew were rescued by a group of local men. The wreck was made famous when it featured in the opening credits of Father Ted.

Plassey Wreck, Inisheer (Inis Oirr), Aran Islands
Plassey Wreck, Inisheer (Inis Oirr), Aran Islands

O’Brien’s Castle: This castle ruin is located on one of the highest points of the island overlooking the beach and pier. This castle is thought to have been built in 14th century.

An Trá Beach: As you approach Inisheer by boat you can’t miss seeing the white sandy beach known simply as ‘An Trá’ which in English means ‘The Beach’! On a fine day, the water is a beautiful shade of blue.

Áras Éanna Arts Centre: Inisheer has a dedicated arts and culture centre which displays traditional Irish and modern arts. The centre has a programme of events and exhibitions from artists resident on the islands which changes frequently.

For more general information on the Aran Islands see our Aran Islands blog post here, or for information on getting to the islands click here. 

Want to book a tour that includes Inisheer?

Learn more about Inisheer by spending time there. Contact us today for a quotation including Inisheer today –

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/

 

 

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Inismaan (Inis Meáin), Aran Islands

About Inismaan (Inis Meáin), Aran Islands

Inishmaan (Inis Meáin) is the middle island of the famous Aran Islands off the coast of Galway in Ireland. The population of Inishmaan is around 160 which means it is the smallest of the three Aran islands in terms of permanent residents. It is also the quietest of the three Aran Islands in terms of visitors and the most traditional of the three islands. The island was loved by author JM Synge who regularly visited.

The island is about 9km squared. The spoken language in Inishmaan is Irish like the other islands but the residents can usually speak English also. You can get around the island by horse and cart tour, by guided mini bus tour or by walking.

Lisheen, the main village is located just seconds walk from the pier and the beach. You will find a number of restaurants on the island and there is one pub known for its traditional Irish music sessions, Teach Ósta.

Some of the main tourist attractions on the island include –

Dún Chonchúir:  An imposing oval fortress measuring up to 20ft in height. Built on a great height, it has great views of the Island and the other Aran Islands.

Dún Fearbhaí : Another stone fort on the island that overlooks the main pier, this fort is most known for its uncommon shape, it is square as opposed to the normal round shape.

Cill Cheannanach: A well-preserved 8th Century church with excellent views over the Islands.

Teach Synge – John Millington Synge’s Cottage & Museum: The summer home of writer John Millington Synge. Synge spent the summers from 1989 to 1902 here working on his upcoming plays. The cottage has been converted to a small museum in his honour.

Teach Synge - Inismaan- Aran Islands
Teach Synge – Inismaan- Aran Islands

Cathaoir Synge (Synge’s Chair): This was the writer’s favourite place to sit on the island, it has great views overlooking Inishmore Island and the Atlantic.

For more general information on the Aran Islands see our Aran Islands blog post here, or for information on getting to the islands click here. 

Want to book a tour that includes Inishmaan?

Discover Inishmaan for yourself! Contact us today for a quotation including this beautiful island –

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/

 

 

 

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Places to Visit in County Clare

Clare is a county on the west coast of Ireland with a varied terrain ranging from rolling countryside to a wild Atlantic coastline. There is no shortage of places to visit in County Clare from the ancient monuments and castles that are scattered across the county to the majestic Cliffs of Moher.

Places to visit in county Clare Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher is one of Ireland’s most visited attractions and when you will visit you will see why! The cliffs rise to a height of 120 metres above the Atlantic Ocean and even reach 214 metres at the highest point near O Brien’s Tower, an observation tower built by local landlord Cornellius O’ Brien. The views are stunning and on a clear day you can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay and even as far as Connemara!

Places to visit in County Clare, Killaloe Ballina-L
Killaloe, Lough Derg
Lough Derg

On the opposite side of County Clare in the East you will find Lough Derg. There are two Lough Derg’s in Ireland, the other one is in Donegal.  Lough Derg in Clare is the second-biggest lake in the Republic of Ireland and the third-biggest on the island of Ireland. It shares is shores with northwest Galway and eastern Tipperary. On the Clare side some nice places to visit along the lake-shore include Killaloe, a picturesque town with nice bars and restaurants and a 13th century cathedral, Scariff and Mountshannon where you can take boat trip across to Holy Island in the centre of the lough.

Places to visit in county Clare Bunratty Folk Village
Bunratty Folk Village
Bunratty Castle & Folk Park

Bunratty Castle is the most complete Castle in Ireland, it is completely furnished on the inside giving the visitor a real sense of what the castle would have looked like for residents in the 15th century. Bunratty Folk Park which surrounds the castle is a reconstructed village where buildings like the rural farmhouse, the village shop and post office and several different types of traditional cottages have been recreated. The folk park gives a fantastic insight into what life was like for different segments of Irish society in the early 19th century. If you are staying in Clare region, think about visiting Bunratty at night to take part in one of their famous medieval banquets. Advance booking is required for this and we can book this for you as part of any tour visiting Clare.

Places to visit in Clare. Craggaunowen Pre-Historic Folk Park, County Clare, Ireland.
Craggaunowen Pre-Historic Folk Park
Craggaunowen

This attraction is especially good if you have children with you with plenty of parkland to run around in and a collection of unusual animals such as wild boar! On site the primary feature is a reconstructed Crannog; an artificial island on which people built houses, kept animals, and lived in relative security from rival clans, a ring fort. The attraction also has a souterrain which is an underground tunnel used for storage or to hide from would be attackers, a fulacht fia which was used for cooking in the Bronze Age and Craggaunowen Castle, a typical example of a fortified tower house built in 1954.

Places to visit in county Clare The Burren
Black Head, The Burren
The Burren

The Burren refers to the regions of Clare and south Galway which share a unique karst landscape known for its rare species of flora and fauna. The main towns in the Burren region are Ballyvaughan, Kinvara, Tubber, Corfin, Kilfenora and Lisdoonvarna. The Burren National park is located in Corofin, here you will find five marked walking trails that take you through many different fascinating and beautiful habitats, such as limestone grasslands, hazel/ash woodlands and limestone pavements. If you plan to visit the national park, a good place to start is the Clare Heritage Centre in Corofin. In the village of Balllyvaughan consider visiting Ailwee Caves, a cave system consisting of over a kilometre of passages leading into the heart of a mountain.

Places to visit in County Clare, Poulnabrone Dolmen
Poulnabrone Dolmen
Poulnabrone Dolmen

This is perhaps the most photographed attraction in Clare after the Cliffs of Moher. It is situated 8 km south of Ballyvaughan, about 10 km north-west of Kilnaboy. The structure dates from the Neolithic period, and excavations which uncovered the remains of sixteen adults and six children have shed light on burial customs of Clare’s early farming communities

Places to visit in county clare Loop Head Kilkee Cliffs from Dunlicka3
Loop Head Peninsula (at Kilkee)
The Loop Head Peninsula

The Loop Head Peninsula at the very tip of southwest Clare is a scenic coastal drive which takes in the coastal villages of Kilrush, Carrigaholt, Kilbaha, Loop Head, Kilkee and Kilrush – the entire journey is a distance of around 81 km.  Top sights to take in include Loop Head’s main town Kilkee which was frequented by the likes of Charlotte Bronte and Alfred Tennyson and Carrigaholt which has outstanding sea views. One of the most beautiful natural features on the peninsula are the Bridges of Ross on the western side of Ross Bay harbour, looking north to the Atlantic Ocean. At the very tip of the peninsula you will find Loop Head and its famous lighthouse.

Get in Touch-

The best way to learn about the places to visit in Clare is to visit yourself! Contact us today for a quotation including some or all of these locations today –

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/

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The Road at the Edge of the World: Porsche on the Wild Atlantic Way

In May this year, more than 30 Porsche enthusiasts began the trip of a lifetime! Driving the entire 2,500km Wild Atlantic Way.  Beginning at Malin Head in County Donegal, the drivers made their way South, taking in all the stunning scenery the Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way has to offer.

Check out the video here, it may give you some inspiration for your own Wild Atlantic Way Tour!

Would you like to explore the Wild Atlantic Way yourself? Then get in touch with us today and we can handle all the arrangements!

USA & Canada 1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com

 

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Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way tops Lonely Planet’s Offbeat Coastal Road Trips list

By Orla Spencer

The Wild Atlantic Way has come out number 1 in a new list of the Top 5 “offbeat coastal road trips” by Lonely Planet, the world’s most successful travel publisher. And who would argue with them?

The Wild Atlantic Way is Ireland’s longest coastal driving route, stretching from the very top of Ireland’s West coast at Malin Head in Donegal to the very bottom at Kinsale in County Cork! In between, the coastal path along Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare and Kerry are striking.

Here the sheer power of the ocean has carved a coastline that is jagged, wild, raw and truly beautiful! Along the Wild Atlantic Way you will discover ocean cliffs that are amongst the highest in Europe, beautiful strands and an array of wildlife that thrives from the cool waters of our coastal shores.

Wild Atlantic Way Picture Gallery –

 

Mullaghmore Peninsula, Co Mayo
Mullaghmore Peninsula, Co Mayo
Mullaghmore Peninsula, Co Mayo
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It would be difficult for anyone to do the entire Wild Atlantic Way driving route in one go, so the Irish Tourism Group have designed a series of tours that break the journey up into manageable segments. View our tours here

Would you like to explore the Wild Atlantic Way yourself?  Then get in touch with us today and we can handle all the arrangements!

USA & Canada 1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/ 

 

 

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