The Aran Islands are comprised of three islands off the west coast of Ireland – Inis Mor (largest), Inis Main (second-largest) and Inis Oirr (smallest). The islands are rural Ireland at it’s finest, and are a glimpse into old Ireland. The total population of the three islands combined is about 1,200 people, and the language spoken on the islands is predominantly Irish. The islands can only be reached by boat and, fun fact, only islanders are allowed drive on the islands!
We recently attended a wedding of some wonderful friends on Inis Mor (Inishmore). As you can imagine, being on an island in the Atlantic can yield some pretty crazy weather, but we were blessed with fantastic weather for most of the weekend. Aside from the wedding (which was fabulous!), we spent some time exploring the island and meeting the locals.
How We Got There
We booked our ferry with Aran Island Ferries. They have multiple crossings a day, and parking just a 3 minute walk from the ferry terminal. You’ll need to arrive 30 minutes in advance to check-in for the crossing. The crossing can be a bit choppy, so if you get travel sickness, take precautions!
Where We Stayed
We stayed in a holiday home as we had my parents, Jack, and my in-laws with us. It was perfect for a large group, with all the amenities that we needed with a little one. However, there are a ton of B&B’s on the island (friends stayed here), and the wedding we attended was at the Aran Islands Hotel. This site has lots of information about accommodation on the Islands.
Bars & Restaurants
Considering how remote Inis Mor is, we were surprised by the quality of the bars & restaurants that we visited. One bar we didn’t get to was Joe Watty’s, but I am mentioning it as friends raved about the food and atmosphere.
- The Bar: The Bar is front and center of the village of Kilronan – you can’t miss it! We ate here twice and the food is superb. Very reasonable, good, comfort Irish food (I recommend the Lamb Stew!). The bar itself is small, but there is a large outdoor patio area. The atmosphere is a fun, with a mix of tourists and locals. My brother-in-law even beat a local at a game of chess here!
- Bayview Restaurant: We stopped by here for an early dinner – beautiful views of the water and the menu is great. I had a really tasty burger, and the pizza got good reviews from friends.
- Aran Island Hotel: This hotel is in a stunning setting with views of the Islands and the bay. The food was great, and the bar area has traditional music regularly during the summer. Worth a stop even just for a drink with a view!
The wedding took up 2 of our 3 days on the Island, but I feel like we got to see plenty in our free time. Our accommodation was a 25 minute walk from Kilronan Village each way. Walking, or hiking, is. great way to explore the Island, but here are some other fun activities available;
- Pony & Trap Rides: Pony & Trap tours are a fun way to explore the island, and are accompanied by locals who will point out the sights. You’ll pick up a pony & trap easily in Kilronan village upon exiting the Ferry Terminal.
- Biking: Driving on the Islands is limited to locals, so biking is a must if you plan on seeing the entire island. Bikes can be hired by the day here.
- Shopping: The Aran Islands are famous for their knitwear (Aran Sweaters anyone?!). You’ll find genuine Aran Wool products at the Aran Sweater Market, and some other quality Irish-made goods here.
All in all, we had an amazing weekend surrounded by friends in a fabulous setting. We look forward to visiting again someday when we have more time to explore the Island!
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