The enormous island of Aran is one of the most popular sites to visit in Galway, and they give the ideal dose of adventure for anyone wishing to go off the beaten path.
The attractions on the Isle of Aran are so varied that you will never be bored. There are lots to do, from paragliding, spa getaways, and boat excursions to marine wildlife centres, safari treks, and mountain bike activities.
The Island of Aran is a collection of islands off the coast of Galway on Ireland’s west coast. These three islands, situated in the vast Atlantic Ocean, are primal and mystic—true beacons of Irish culture and a portal to Ireland’s ancient history.
Is the Island of Aran Worth Visiting?
The enchanting beauty of this island will surely mesmerize you. Find out about the wonderful things to do on the island of Aran below. One of Scotland’s most accessible islands off its breathtaking west coast is the Isle of Aran.
You can have plenty of fun on the island. The island of Aran provides opportunities to create happy and enjoyable memories all year, heightening interest in returning time and time again.
Where Is the Island of Aran Located?
The Aran Islands, Inis Mór, Inis Meáin, and Inis Orr, are 48 kilometres (30 miles) distant from Galway Bay. With a 432 square kilometre area, it is the seventh-biggest Scottish island and the largest in the Firth of Clyde. Because of its stunning and varied landscape, Arran is sometimes referred to as “Scotland in miniature.”
Who Was the Last Family to Own the Aran Islands?
Although the islands’ ownership changed often throughout the years, the islanders didn’t finally get their own plot of land until 1922. The islanders were had to pay rent to a family that did not even reside in the Aran Islands but owned the property. The Digby family was the last of the families to own the three Aran Islands.
What Is Aran Island Famous For?
The 15 best things to do on the Island of Aran are listed below. Do explore them!
1. Dn Aonghasa
Dn Aonghasa, an ancient stone fort on the 100-metre-high Inishmore cliff, is the most visited historic site on the island of Aran. You will experience glimpses of ancient druids and fabled High Kings during your tour. Perched dramatically on a rock overlooking the Atlantic ocean, this is the biggest of the ancient stone forts on the island of Aran.
The wind whips violently over the sea cliffs, and the secluded island will keep you warm on your journey to discover its beauty. Dun Aonghasa is the largest of the island of Aran prehistoric stone forts, perched on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
It is surrounded by three massive dry ancient stone walls and a chevaux-de-frise made of limestone blocks set vertically into the ground to deter attackers. There is no fence or barrier at the cliff’s edge. You can arrive by bicycle, van tour, or horse-drawn carriage.
The views are breathtaking, and the atmosphere is second to none for a picnic to remember. Dn Aonghasa is arguably the most famous stone fort on the island of Aran. Dn Aonghasa is the island of Aran oldest prehistoric fortification.
2.The Plassey Shipwreck
The Plassey was a cargo ship that served in the Irish Merchant Service during the mid-nineteenth century. The Plassey is an Irish cargo ship that ran into trouble on Iisheer’s coast in 1962. Those who lived on the island rushed to the aid of those on board.
The Plassey’s entire crew survived, and the now-iconic ship stands proudly on a bed of jagged rocks not far from the sea. After an emergency reaction, the entire team was reunited with their crew and securely transported out by locals.
It’s a lot of fun to go around the wreck and look inside. It is a must-see attraction for anybody visiting Inis Oirr. Take your time walking around the loop.
Experience camping on the island of Aran, only a short walk from the ferry terminal and with a view of Frenchman’s beach.
Known as the Wormhole and the Serpents Lair, Poll na bPeist is a natural formation and amazingly beautiful hole carved out of limestone which connects with the sea. It is perhaps possible to recall that location at Red Bull Cliff dive back in 2004. The divers leapt from the sand to the sea below.
Poll na bPeist is situated on the west coast of Inis Mór Island, approximately 1.6 kilometres south of the well-known cliff fort of Dn Aonghasa. The Wormhole is a rectangular-shaped pool carved directly from the limestone floor that can only be reached by going along the cliffs south of Dn Aonghasa.
Because of its position, the Wormhole is completely at the mercy of the elements. As a result, on rainy days, it is advised to avoid this location. Water flows in from the sea via an underground tunnel when the tide comes in. Water flows out over the sides and fills the hole from above when this happens.
4. Head Off in Search of Seals
The Seal Colony has recently risen in popularity to rank among Inis Mor Island’s top tourist destinations. It may be reached by bicycle in 10 minutes, on the coastal route, before Kilmurvey Beach. The Sealed Colony Viewpoint is a place on Inis Mor.
There may be 20 seals lazing about in rocks weighing up to 230 kg at one time throughout the year. One of the most distinctive activities to undertake on the island of Aran is seal watching. The majority of its visitors are bikers who pause here on their route to Dun Aonghasa.
It is situated near a small pond that is home to a variety of natural creatures, including ducks, swans, and wild birds. Kilmurvey Beach is a short distance away. The grey seals may sometimes weigh up to 507 lbs (230kg).
The seals often hunt for fish like salmon and pollock at high tide. The seal colony has gained popularity recently as more people go there to see the unusual sight. A dozen seals often beach themselves at low tide, creating a breathtaking scene with Connemara in the backdrop.
5. Kilmurvey Beach
On Inis Mór, the biggest of the island of Aran, there is a stunning sandy beach called Kilmurvey Beach that has earned the blue flag designation. Swimming is safe at the beach. A 12-mile bike trip to Seals surrounds this lovely beach with sand.
Near Dun Aengus lies the lovely beach of Kilmurvey. Fantastic white beach, blue, blue sea. Excellent for swimming, tanning, and relaxing with a picnic. Public access to the beach is available all year round. In the summer, when the warmth rises, it is highly well-liked. Even so, it is still stunning in the winter.
Because the beach is located in a cove, it is not as vulnerable to strong currents as some of the other beaches on Inis Mor. The water is very clear, welcoming, and energising on a beautiful day. The region has a variety of diverse ecosystems and some endangered plant species that are recognised in the Red Data Book.
The importance of birds on a global scale is another well-known fact. Kilmurvey Beach is a place that is certainly worth seeing if you want to go riding.
6. A Visit to the Black Fort
At a short distance distant, on Inis Mór’s southern flank, is the black stronghold. In reaction to the harm wrought by erosion in the steep canyon, the ancient stone fort of D’n Dchathair has recently been expanded to the Atlantic.
The large stone fort known as Dun Dchathair (the Black Fort) is now perched on a rocky peninsula that protrudes into the Atlantic as a result of erosion. This impressive stone fort is situated.
You will probably be the only one as far as the eye can see at this very isolated and inaccessible fort. The Black Fort is a must-see if you’re seeking things to do and see on the island of Aran. It is definitely a gem on the island’s crown, unlike the more popular Dun Aonghus fort. The Black Fort is not difficult to visit.
7. Na Seacht Teampaill (The Seven Churches)
The seven churches, or Dsert Bhreacáin as it is often called, are located west of Inis Mór in the community of Eoghanacht and have long been significant monastic foundations and centres of pilgrimage along Ireland’s west coast.
There are three possible explanations for the name “Seven Churches”: the most popular is that it alludes to the number of structures among the ruins; alternate explanations suggest that it may refer to a Roman pilgrimage route that included seven churches; or third, that the name refers to the seven saints buried there, whose graves are marked with ancient Celtic crosses.
They no longer bury individuals here unless the family truly wants it since the earth isn’t very deep. This location is a genuine remnant of the ancient island and is best enjoyed after a lovely bike ride. Despite being referred to as “the seven churches,” there are just two churches and several residential structures.
The number seven may be a reference to the seven-church pilgrimage circuit that ran through Rome. The remnants of what is thought to have been a number of monastic residences, where pilgrims would have lodged, surround the churches.
8. Brodick Castle, Garden and Country Park
For the ideal family day trip on the Isle of Aran, visit this magnificent baronial castle and estate. Formal gardens, forests, waterfalls, and an adventure playground can all be found at the castle, which also has stunning views of Brodick Bay and the northern coast of Ayrshire.
With mountains (particularly Goat Fell) at the back and views across the Firth of Clyde to the Scottish mainland, Brodick Castle is rich in history and placed in a picturesque environment.
Brodick Castle is famed for its outstanding collections of antique furniture, silverware, ceramics, paintings, and athletic trophies. It is also crammed with treasures. a wonderful setting for unwinding and taking in the peace and quiet of island life. Explore the formal gardens on the Plant Hunters’ Walk and Silver Garden Trail, or go deeper to find ponds.
9. Teach Synge Museum Trip
Teach Synge is a stunning 300-year-old cottage that has been painstakingly restored to its former splendour and serves as the home of a museum dedicated to John Millington Synge’s life and works.
Teach Synge is must visit place in Inis Meain while on the island of Aran. Synge made many further trips to the residence following his first trip in 1898. The residence, which is available during the summer, is filled with books by and about Synge as well as pictures, sketches, and correspondence.
The work of J.M. Synge is well known, and many consider it to be the greatest one-act tragedy of the 20th century.
10. Inis Oírr Lighthouse
Off the west coast of Ireland, the island of Inis O’Rr is one of three islands of Aran. It’s a great idea to take a day trip to Inis Oirr. The Chance Brothers of Birmingham initially provided the lighthouse with a fixed optic bulb.
The light was then changed from fixed to occulting in 1913 and modified to an incandescent with a paraffin vapour burner. This fort may be located south of the Eochaill hamlet, from whence it derives its name, in the centre of the island.
The fort has two terraced walls and a round shape. The remnants of an island’s highest point lighthouse from the early nineteenth century exist nearby, but they were never going to be of any service because of their poor positioning.
11. St. Caomhán’s Church
On Inis Oirr, near the island’s cemetery, is Teampall Caomhán, also known as St. Caomhán’s church (or St. Cavan in English), which dates to the 10th century.
The remains of what is often referred to as the “Sunken Church” are remarkably well-preserved and accessible for close inspection, yet the only remaining portion of the structure is the chancel.
The cemetery on the hill conceals the church ruins. You can see the tops of the ruins as soon as you enter the cemetery. Your time will be well spent if you stroll up there and have a look. You may go up there on your own and are not required to go on a tour.
It is not without significance that the ground plan of this church is so similar to Trinity Church at Kevin’s Glendalough since St. Caomhán was the great St. Kevin’s brother. The church, which is now buried under a pile of sand that has been swept over the island over time, is thought to have been built in the 10th century.
The location offers a great view of the harbour area, and Inis Meáin and Inis Mór may be seen out in the distance.
12. Visit The O’Brien’s Castle
O’Brien’s Castle, also known as Furmina Castle, is located on the island of Ins Orr and is thought to have been constructed in the fourteenth century. It would have existed before other County Clare region ruins like the Burren Tower Houses and other stone forts in the island of Aran.
On the tallest point of the lonely island of Inisheer, a fortification from the fourteenth century is visible. You will approach a tiny, predominantly Gaelic-speaking fishing community of around 250 people as soon as you arrive on Inisheer, the smallest of the three islands of Aran off Ireland’s west coast in Galway Bay.
The O’Brien family, who dominated the islands until the late 1500s, constructed an amazing 3-story castle here once. The building’s history is obscure, however, it’s likely that it was formerly a tower house. Although not very huge, the castle remains are incredibly spectacular and provide a fantastic vantage point from which to see everything.
The tower may easily be climbed to the top for a panoramic view of Inisheer, the surrounding harbour, and some of the other ruins on the island because to how the ruins have crumbled. You can’t help but admire this majestic Castle while travelling by boat to Inis O’Rr.
13. Take a Pony and Trap Tour of Inisheer
Discover the stunning scenery of Inis Mór by riding around the island with Thomas Faherty in a pony and trap. A family custom that dates back to the 1940s is pony and trap trips. You can Travel west around the island of Inis Mor in a horse-drawn carriage while pausing to provide enough time to climb the fort and/or stop for coffee at the base.
There are many chances to stop and take pictures along the route as your return on the low coastal road to the main settlement. Although the two square mile island may be explored on foot, a tour with a pony and trap driver that includes a stop to the wreckage of the Plassey, a steam trawler that washed ashore in 1960, is one of the finest ways to view the sights.
While taking in the breathtaking surroundings at a speed that is comfortable for pictures, you will hear beautiful tales and fascinating island histories. Along the way, you may explore at several stops. At low tide, you may climb up to Dn Aonghasa and search for seals.
14. Dun Fearbhai
On the island of Inis Meáin is a stone fort called Dun Fearbhai. The fort is still standing and is in fair shape. It has one terrace and two walls constructed on a sharp hill facing Galway Bay. Start sailing with the island of Aran Ferries straight to Inishmore dock from Galway City to the Saoirse n’a Farraige.
Additionally, it is another fort on the island that is placed closer to the centre, so it lacks some of the natural charms of the cliff-side forts that are so well-liked by tourists in Ireland. It is believed that Dn Fearbha fort, which is perched on a cliff overlooking the gorgeous Galway Bay, was built sometime in the first century.
The fort’s history is obscure, and it’s unclear when it could have been built. This fort is in excellent shape and provides a fascinating look into prehistoric Ireland.
15. Go on an Inis Mor Bike Hire
The newest bike rental on Inis Mor, one of the islands of Aran, is Inis Mor Bike Hire. We are a tiny, independent bike rental business in Inis Mor, and we take great satisfaction in providing excellent customer service.
On the island of Aran Inis Mor Island, just where you step off the dock, is where we are situated. Just as you step off the pier, there is a huge green sign for the tourist information office next to it. It is one of the best things to do on the island of Aran.
You can rent the E-Bikes on a gorgeous sunny day and have a wonderful 6 hours pedalling around the island. It was a fantastic way to visit the island. If the weather is dry and the landscape is stunning, cycling is unquestionably the greatest method to explore the island.
The island of Aran is a group of rugged isles that defend Tourism Ireland and the West Coast, the entrance to Galway Bay. You will have an island experience unlike any other if you visit the island of Aran. The Irish language is still spoken here. You should reevaluate your expectations if you anticipate raucous parties and sandy beaches.
Limestone dominates the terrain, and there are miles of stone walls and fantastic beaches, many remote and blue flag beaches. A variety of pre-Christian and monastic sites will also be shown. The mighty island of Aran is an amazing place to go to Galway city docks and is a perfect dose of adventure for those looking for something slightly off-the-beaten-track.
The island of Aran feature Bronze Age remains and exceptionally well-preserved structures dated to early Christian structures with their 5000-year-old history.