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Day on Inishmor

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Day on Inishmor

My husband and I will be traveling to Galway for 4 days. One of the days we'd like to spend on the Aran Islands. We're leaning towards flying to save some time. Thoughts on flight versus ferry?

Once getting to inish mor what should we do? We don't love the idea of going through a tour company but will it be difficult to navigate the island on our own? Would you suggest inishmor over the other two islands and if so why?

Thanks!

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Whitney, Texas
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for Ireland
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1. Re: Day on Inishmor

any of the islands are delightful.....once on Inishmore you can get a horse and cart tour, a van tour, or rent bicycles and take off on your own.....

inishmaan, as far as I know only has one person with a van to show you about.....or you can walk...

inisheer, has bicycles to rent and several folks have vans/horse and cart treks.....

as for ferry versus flying, for me it's flying every time....it's a very short flight and you can get some stunning shots in route :-)

Galway Ireland
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for Connemara, Clare Island, The Burren, County Roscommon, Galway
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2. Re: Day on Inishmor

In addition to Oma's suggestions:

(1) Inis Mór: The largest and the busiest of the three islands, more so between the months of June, July and August, although in recent years this is now starting to stretch into September. The majority of visitors are mostly day-trippers from Galway via the departure point at Rossaveel (Ros an Mhíl or Ros a' Mhíl), where the ferry operates several daily crossings per day. There is a large parking area near the pier and for those not driving, there is a shuttle bus from Galway. Others choose the short flight option over from Indreabhán (Inverin) with Aer Arann, this is a short but scenic flight over and offers up some astounding scenery from the air.

Aer Arann fly to all three islands throughout the year. The airport is located in the south of the island and for 5 euro you will be able to hop on a mini bus or taxi back to Kilronan. Any of the Aran Islands deserve an overnight stay and there is a multitude of accommodation options available on Inis Mór.

Dún Aonghasa (Dun Aengus) is the most visited historical site on the island. It's an imposing edifice perched at the edge of a cliff. Archaeologists believe it to be originally inhabited around 1500 BC. Hire a bike in Kilronan and cycle back or avail of the many locals offering transport to this and several of the sites and sights on the island. Don't be afraid to negotiate a price, more so if you wish to get off the beaten track. Some notables I would suggest are Cill Mhuirbhigh (Kilmurvey Beach and the craft centre), Poll na Bpeist (Worm Hole), The Black Fort and Na Seacht dTeampaill (the Seven Churches) and Clochan na Carraige, Teampall Bheanain (St. Benan's Chapel) and Teaghlach Einne (The household of Enda).

In terms of history, Inis Mór is literally one outdoor museum, the island has over 25 national monuments dotted across the landscape. An island enthroned with an array of ancient churches, beehive huts, Celtic crosses, standing stones and burial sites of saints. If you are looking for a more customised or specialised tour perhaps contact Dara Molloy via his website. Daramolloy.com and click on the tour guide section. Dara's historical knowledge is simply unrivalled.

(2) Inis Meáin: Definitely the quietest and my personal favourite due to the great walks and hikes around the island. Many locals will tell you that it's the somewhat distant location of the pier and airport that compounds the island's dearth of visitors – is this such a bad thing? It is a trek back to the centre of the island and the main hub of activity, but if staying overnight, the accommodation hosts will dispatch someone to collect you at the pier or airport. Such solitude is no bad thing for those of you looking for that ideal getaway.

Inis Meáin is host to a maze of threadlike winding roads, sheltered paths and trails that haphazardly criss-cross the island, from the rocky hillsides of the south including the visual feast on display at Synge's Chair. Not to be confused with Teach Synge, the restored island cottage of writer John Millington Synge for whom the island was a favourite retreat. Further back on North shore there is a wonderful sense of tranquillity, sedateness and certainly a place where time loses its importance. Inis Meáin is littered with some great historical sites and contains one of the best-preserved 10th century early Christian oratories - Cill Cheannannach,  near the rear of the island. The stone forts, Dún Fearbhaí (Ferboy’s Fort) and Dún Crocbhur (Conor’s Fort) are a true marvel and a joy to explore and the elevated views of the island from these forts is striking. Both forts were so well constructed over 1500-years-ago and continue to stand defiantly on the main rise on the island if only those walls could talk!

(3) Inis Oírr: The smallest and more intimate of the three islands that in recent years has also seen a large influx of visitors. It is a truly wonderful island to explore on foot as all the main sites and sights are easily accessible. Although several of the locals offer scenic trips around the island usually from May to October. Some notables on the inland include the M. V. Plassey shipwreck which ran aground in 1960 and lies forlornly along the shoreline. Further on is the lighthouse and from there, there are some great views looking over towards the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare. O'Brien's Castle dominates the island from its hilltop perch and is well worth the short walk up to sample the elevated scenery. Teampall Chaomháin is definitely one of the most interesting sites on the island having to be cleared annually of the beach sand that sweeps in throughout the year. Bike rental is available too or you can hire a traditional pony and trap or the more conventional horse and cart near the pier – don't be afraid to negotiate a price. Or allow yourself to be picked up as you walk along the winding paths heading back towards the lighthouse. The Islanders who operate these have a wealth of information about the island and quite a lot you will not read in any guide book.

Fáilte go dtí Oileáin Árann

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