On our second day in Galway, we booked a tour out to the Aran Islands. The islands are another gaeltacht. We visited the largest island, Inis Mor (pronounced, Inish More). We took a coach bus about 45 minutes to the ferry and another 45 minute ferry ride to the island. We hired bikes, which was recommended to us. What was NOT recommended to us? Which way to go to get to Dun Aengus, the prehistoric fort on the island. We wanted to see both Dun Aengus and the seal colony on the island. We skipped the route that said, “Dun Aengus via Seal Colony” because we thought we were on the most direct route. That may have been the case, but it was also the hilliest. Wow. We got a workout in!
It was all worth it, though. We arrived at the base and then had to hike up 1k to the fort itself. The fort was created to act as a protector from invaders, dating back to the Iron Age, perhaps the 2nd century BC. The fort is situated on cliffs. The cliffs are twice as high as the Cliffs of Moher. If you can believe that! Here, though, you are allowed to lay on your stomach and look out. I did that in one place and then we went higher up. I stood too close to the edge and got yelled at! This reminded me of Palisade Head on Lake Superior…aka my favorite place on earth. It is so peaceful (yeah yeah, hanging over the edge of a cliff really IS peaceful!) and I loved hearing the waves crashing below me. The water was beautifully colored and there were pretty flowers growing on the side of the cliff.
On our way to the seal colony, it started raining, so we didn’t stop to look for the seals. But it quickly passed. We ate lunch at a great little place on the island, even though we had to inhale our lunch and get a move on so that I could shop!
The Aran Islands are known for their wool and sweaters. I was planning on buying a sweater for myself and some as gifts. They are great! To think that they are all hand-knitted from wool from the sheep on the island. It was definitely a tourist attraction, but it still felt good to be shopping so locally. They really have a different way of life on that island, which seems quite attractive at times!
We dropped off our bikes and made to the ferry for the trip back. I wish I had had more time to spend on the island and I think on a future visit, I would like to stay out there at one of the B&Bs. There is a lot we did not have time to explore and enjoy!