When you think of Ireland, the places that come to mind are most probably all the major tourist attractions such as the Cliffs of Moher, the Ring of Kerry, and the Guinness Storehouse situated in Dublin. However, a hidden gem that is often overlooked by eager travelers and enthusiastic tourists is the magical isle of Inis Mor. Pronounced ‘Inishmore’, it is the largest of the Aran Islands and happens to be quite close to Galway. The charm of this island remains undiminished despite being sparsely populated, or perhaps because of it. If ever there was an opportunity for time travel, this is it, with the locals freely conversing in their rustic Irish Gaelic and using horse-drawn carriages as a regular mode of conveyance.
Whether you’re taking the island by bicycle, foot, or pony and trap, there are plenty of sights to be explored, a warm welcome to be received and plenty of craic to be had.
Visit the Seven Churches of Aran
The name is a bit of a misnomer as well as an exaggeration, seeing as there are, in actuality, only two churches in all. What is not an exaggeration, however, is the sheer breathtaking beauty of this ancient spiritual destination. In fact, it is actually more of a complex comprising of the old graveyards at Na Seacht d’Teampaill and church ruins. Dedicated to Saint Brecan, and located near the village of Eoghanacht, this site used to be one of the most beloved and popular monastic destinations for devotees all along Ireland’s West Coast.
Aran Bike Hire
The most underrated and fashionable way to take in the picturesque of Inis Mor has got to be by cycling through the island, stopping at your leisure to soak up the peaceful attractiveness. Glide through the countryside and weave through the village with a bicycle from Aran Bike Hire. You can easily find a huge array of bikes for rent for a day or overnight. Whisk yourself out as far as Dun Aonghasa (the oldest of the island’s four large forts) and back to your accommodation to enjoy a calming pint after a busy day of adventure. Each rental comes with a complimentary island map, helmets and roadside assistance is required.
When you come back after enjoying the amazing views and the breath-taking Dun Aonghasa, make sure to enjoy the views of Inis Mor on the walk back to your bicycle. There are some stunning little shops and a café near the bike park for you to peruse and refresh after crossing this amazing spot off your bucket list.
Go Wool Shopping
Aran Islands’ woolen products are famous all around the world. Featuring one of a kind patterns and stitches particular to specific Irish clans, these wonderful warm fuzzies include everything from scarves and mittens to sweaters and cloaks. Honestly, what better way to carry back a little bit of Irish history with you?
Go for A Hike
Sometimes the best way to really discover all the treasures a place has to offer is by wandering around or just taking a hike, quite literally. This is actually one of the best ways to truly experience Inis Mor in all its boundless beauty since the terrain on this island is not very rock and hence, actually quite perfect for walking. So, be sure to carry a pair of sensible walking shoes along!
Check out The Dún Aonghasa
Probably the most famous and well-known tourist attraction in Inis Mor, Dun Aonghasa is a hill fort built really high up on the top of a cliff, presenting a phenomenal view of the entire island and the Atlantic Ocean. This prehistoric structure is believed to go as far back as 100 BC, which means that it has been around since the Bronze and Iron Ages. Wow! Now, isn’t that something?
Pay a Visit to The Worm Hole
This place is as interesting as its name suggests. The Worm Hole, as it has come to be fondly called, refers to a square-shaped depression that has been carved out in the rocky bottom part of a cliff. This spot has become extremely popular for cliff diving into the ocean. So, Inis Mor has a lot to offer adventure enthusiasts, thrill-seekers, extreme sports lovers, and adrenaline junkies as well.
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