The Aran Islands
A small chain of islands, steeped in legend and surpassing natural beauty, stretches across
the mouth of Galway Bay. Known as the Aran Islands, they are some of Ireland's best des-
tinations for nature, history, wildlife, and culture, and their remoteness makes them relat-
ively undiscovered and less frequented by foreign tourists. (Given that the islands them-
selves have a permanent population of only 900, however, the tourists usually outnumber
the locals during the high season!)
Ferries to the Aran Islands leave from Charraroe (County Galway) and Lisdoonvarna
(County Clare) several times a day, and are the only way to get in or out. Within the Aran
Islands, there are internal ferries between the three major islands, and charter boats can take
you to the smaller islands at the northern end of the chain. The largest of the islands is only
8 miles from end to end, so they're all easily walkable.
Like Connemara, the Aran Islands are part of the Gaeltacht , so you'll probably hear more
Irish than English among the locals. Road signs will also be primarily in Irish, so it's helpful
to know place names and words like “stop” ( stad ) before you go.
Kilronan and Killeany
There are two small towns on the northern shore of Inis Mór (pronounced “ Innish More ”),
the largest of the Aran Islands. They sit on opposite sides of a small bay, and they're the
main hub for ferries in and out of the Aran Islands, so these twin villages will probably be
your base of operations for exploring the islands. There are a large number of hotels and
B&B's in town, as well as shops and groceries. Guided walking and biking tours generally
leave from the villages.
In Kilronan you'll also find the Aran Sweater Market , where you can buy the famous
hand-made sweaters with unique knitted patterns.
Prehistoric Forts and Dwellings