The Aran Islands are a group of three islands located off the west coast of Ireland. When I travel, I always try to find an “authentic” experience, and while researching our trip to Ireland I read somewhere that families in Dublin send their children to these islands during the summer to learn about Irish culture. And so I became fascinated with the prospect of visiting the Aran Islands to experience authentic Ireland. We planned our vacation around this activity, making our home base in the little town of Doolin.
You can board ferries to the islands in Galway or in Doolin. We caught a ferry from Doolin, and to my delight, a pod of dolphins swam alongside our boat for most of the trip over.
It was also on the ferry ride over that we discovered that my cousin gets VERY seasick. And so we disembarked at Inisheer, the first of the islands. (There are two more islands after Inisheer, Inishmaan and Inishmore. You can stay on the boat and continue on to those islands if you don’t suffer from seasickness.)
What a beautiful place! I immediately fell in love with the scenery.
The islanders have learned how to take advantage of an abundant natural resource for building…
Although it was a gloomy and chilly day, we spent our limited time hiking around the island.
There are a few inns, so it is possible to spend the night on the islands. Reservations are recommended. We headed back to Doolin the same day, catching our ferry on its return to the mainland.
When we purchased our tickets that morning, we opted for an extra leg on the ferry route: a quick trip to the base of the Cliffs of Moher. I highly recommend this little detour, whether you’re seasick or not! The scenery is extraordinary.
I later learned that the geological term for this type of rock formation is a “seastack.”
I loved the rugged remoteness of these islands and would return in a heartbeat. You can learn more about visiting the Aran Islands at Rick Steves’ website.