About Aran Islands, County Galway

One of Ireland’s most famous island attractions is actually a trio of islands off the coast of County Galway. The Aran Islands have it all – impressive prehistoric sites, medieval ruins and a thriving traditional culture. Greet the Atlantic by day from a cliff-top perch among ancient ruins. Then, in the evening, bask in trad music and Irish language in a local pub. This is Irish island living at its finest.

Aran Islands
Great view of Aran Islands Clifftop. Photo credit: Ivar Husevåg Døskeland

The Aran Islands beckon tourists from the shores of County Galway. They’re clearly visible from the coast, cresting up over the horizon. Day trippers flock here during peak summer season, but you still find more than enough solace in the right places.
The following three islands make up the Aran archipelago: 

Inishmór literally means ‘Big Island’, and the 800 locals who live here make it the most populous as well. This is the easiest island to get to from Galway, and it has the best selection of pubs and bed and breakfasts. Inishmór also hosts the biggest attraction in the Aran Islands – Dún Aengus. It’s one of three 2,000-year-old forts that guard the island. Standing triumphantly over a sheer cliff wall, the fort looms over pounding surf and offers nothing in the way of guardrails. A visit is undeniably exhilarating.

‘Eastern Island’ is also the smallest. Visitors arrive from Galway as well as Doolin. A hilltop stone fort later became the site of a medieval castle, which is now a major island attraction. There are plenty of interesting walks on Inisheer island, and there’s enough on in the evening to warrant staying a night or two.

The ‘Middle Island’ is quite possibly the best for experiencing authentic Irish culture. Tourists don’t come in large numbers, and that means that the old traditions have been well-preserved. Inishmaan Island is quiet, but it still has bed and breakfasts and other facilities.

Photos of Aran Islands:

Inishmore, Aran Islands, Ireland
Inishmore, Aran Islands, Ireland. Photo credit: unukorno

Aran Islands
Aran Islands. Photo credit: George Williams

Aran Islands cliff
Cliffs of Aran Islands. Photo credit: Athena Lao

beach on Inishmore Island
Inishmore Island beach. Photo credit: George Williams

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