Exploring the Aran Islands

Dia dhuit!

So recently my program hosted an overnight trip to the Aran Islands, which are a couple of hours away, just off the coast off Galway. We stayed on the smallest of the three islands, Inis Oirr.

Something interesting about the islands is that they’re a Gaeltacht- a region where the primary language is Irish rather than English. This means that when you get lost and are somehow able to find a sign, you’re just as lost as you were without it.

But first, the trip from Limerick to the islands-

Our bus left at about 10:30 in the morning, and it wasn’t that bad of a ride. It was about two hours, and until we hit the small seaside town of Doolin, the roads were fine (in Doolin they were very narrow, very bumpy, and going through them in a bus did not feel like a great idea). From the pier in Doolin, we had to take a 45-minute ferry ride. Now, if you’re like me, when you read “ferry,” you probably think of a pretty big boat that can travel across water relatively smoothly. That is not the ferry-riding experience here. The boat was a decent size, but smaller than I’d expected. Plus, the wind was crazy that day so the water was incredibly choppy. Luckily I avoided losing breakfast, but it was a really close call.

Once we were on the island, we checked into our bed and breakfast before being set loose for the next 24 hours. The food there was really good (we ate at both operating restaurants on the island, as well as a little fudge shop, and the full Irish breakfast we were served at the B&B). It was pretty cold there with all the wind coming off the sea, but it was beautiful and definitely worth a few hours of being very cold. There were quite a few things to see on the island; the only problem was getting to them. I’ll be the first to admit I have a terrible sense of direction, but even then I don’t think I normally would’ve gotten myself to the complete opposite end of the island rather than to the castle ruins (but, trust me, I managed).

All in all,  though, it was a really great trip! I’m not sure I’d go back since I saw pretty much everything (even if only from a distance),  but I’d definitely check out the other two islands if given the chance!

The Cliffs of Moher, as seen from the Doolin Pier
The Cliffs of Moher, as seen from the Doolin Pier
Of course I had to get to the beach at some point!
Of course I had to get to the beach at some point!
If you look really closely, you can see the mainland!
If you look really closely, you can see the mainland!
See? The complete opposite end of the island!
See? The complete opposite end of the island!
At least I still saw the castle?
At least I still saw the castle?
This was taken somewhere near the halfway-point in getting back to the B&B
This was taken somewhere near the halfway-point in getting back to the B&B

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