28 Mar Ireland (4 of 4)
Never heard of the Aran Islands? Most people haven’t – but these islands are spectacular. I love islands and until the age of 25, when I visited Ireland, I honestly believed that all islands were warm and covered with palm trees and sand. It turns out that this is not the case… but you probably already knew that. The Aran Islands are sheer cliffed limestone beauties off the West coast of Galway in the North Sea. After the Aran Islands, the nearest land due west is Canada or Boston, thousands of miles away.
The three Aran Islands are Inishmore, Inishmaan, and Inisheer or, in Gaelic, Inis Mór Island (Big Island), Inis Meáin Island (Middle island) and Inis Oírr Island (East island). They are a very choppy 45-minute ferry ride from Galway. Gaelic is still widely spoken in the tiny villages scattered throughout the small islands and you will certainly be greeted in Gaelic as you rent your bike and ride around the flat-topped islands to their sheer 300ft + cliffs. With nothing stopping the strong ocean waves over 1,000s of miles until Ireland, they dramatically crash against the rocky shoreline and are a spectacular sight. The islands are dotted with medieval fortresses worn down by time and by sheep, fields of wildflowers, tiny little shops and even tinier pubs. Spend at least two nights in the Islands (more if you can – my dream is to spend a full week there).
Returning to the mainland, finish your time in Ireland heading south to the more familiar tourist locations including the Ring of Kerry, Blarney Castle, and the Game of Thrones tour. Beautiful scenery, easy hassle-free travel, friendly interesting locals and memorable evenings spent with the best pint of Guinness you’ll ever have all await in Ireland.