Neither of us were awake yet as we made out way to the bus stop. We would be catching a bus to the port in Rossaveal where we would then board the ferry be head off to Inis Mor, the largest of the three Aran Islands. The tour was booked with Lally Tours for 32 Euro each.
It was rather as we wandered along the street, each holding a warm coffee. When we arrived at the apparent bus stop, I could see no sign indicating whether it was indeed the departure point but waited anyway. Slowly but surely more people started showing up and waiting. Finally the bus arrived and stopped next to where we were standing. I took our our ticket and we climbed onto the bus. Everyone made themselves comfortable for the, more or less, one hour drive to the port.
At Rossaveal port we immediately noticed the various ferries that drifted close to the docks. I showed our ferry tickets and we climbed onto the ferry. It was very warm inside but I quickly made my way to a door at the back of the cabin. Stairs led us upwards and soon we were standing on the top deck of the ferry, exposed to the cold wild. I prefer the fresh air. It was barely 10 minutes and we departed.
The 45 minute ferry ride to Inis Mor was great. It was icy cold over the ocean and the waves splashes against the hull of the boat, creating marvelous watery sculptures before collapsing back to the ocean.
We docked at the port, exited the ferry and was struck by the isolated feeling that hung over Kilronan. The eeriness clung to us all but we quickly brushed it off and continued on our way. Two minibuses stood close to where the ferry had docked and were trying to sell their services; a trip around the island for 10 Euro per person. I quickly pulled out a 20 Euro and we climbed onto the bus. We has originally planned on hiring bicycles and cycling around the island but most of the shops were closed for the winter season.
So we departed Kilronan and headed for Dun Aengus. It was a very short drive but there was an abundance of beauty. Stone walls ran in various directions; the walls were everywhere.
We stopped a short distance from the Dun Aengus entrance. There was a cafe close by and some souvenir shops. My sister and I decided to talk the long walk, and slight climb, to the fort first and would then return to explore the tiny shops.
There was a small entrance we had to pay at the Dun Aengus office, but happily supplied the 5 Euro per person and set off.
We reached the fort after a quicker trek than anticipated but the view would have made even the toughest of treks worth it.
The winds pushed us closer to the edge, causing me to kneel against its power. We spent more than an hour in the fort, completely gripped by the scenery. The clouds thickened and a feint drizzle started falling over the landscape and we decided to leave this magnificent sight. So we climbed down and head for the cafe where we had stopped originally.
On the way down, the sun made an appearance and allowed us to warm up ever so slightly.
I tried searching for the name of the cafe on Google but I can’t seem to find it. We entered the cafe, had some coffee and decided to spend time in the small shops; the 3 shops but only 2 were open. The first shop contained a variety of wool products and the other had souvenirs with figures of Celtic folklore. As an avid mythology geek, I purchased a banner with a left-handed warrior printed on it. Why the left-handed warrior? Because I am a proud southpaw (left-handed person).
The bus picked us up and we headed to a new destination. We stopped at the Na Seacht dTeampaill (the Seven Churches) and wandered around the ancient grounds.
The bus driver gestured us to return. Next we simply drove along the coast.
The road seemed to descend into the ocean but we stopped. We had reached the furthest point of Inis Mor.
We observed the ocean in all its beauty. We could see a far off lighthouse and the driver told us some stories about Inis Mor. It was an amazing trip and the cliffs at Dun Aengus was the most beautiful part of the entire Ireland trip.
We made our way back to Kilronan and board the ferry back home. It was a cold ride and we were both rather tired. When we arrived in Galway, we collapsed onto our bed and slept until the next morning.
Things to Remember
- Cash (yet again) – especially on the island, cards are rarely accepted.
- Quiet season – we went during the quiet season and there were barely any people on the island.
- Hire a bicycle – during the busier periods, there are many people that hire a bicycle and ride around the island for the day.
- Something warm – remember a jacket! It gets very cold as the sun starts to set.
- There are a few cafes and restaurants that do use their kitchen in the quiet periods and you can usually only have soup or a toasted sandwich to eat.
- There are quiet a few guest houses and I am sure there should be a hostel, so you can always spend a night on Inis Mor.
I would encourage anyone to visit at least one of the Aran Islands. They truly are an odd and interesting place to see.