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Top 6 Things You Should Know Before Visiting the Aran Islands



With a quarter of a million visitors visiting the Aran Islands every year, you too might be planning a trip to this beautiful place. There are a few things you need to know before you pack your bags and fly over to the Aran Islands. We have put together this guide to share some things you need to know about so that you can plan the perfect getaway.   

Read on to learn everything there is to know before your visit. 

1. There Are Three Islands

You don’t only have one place to explore when you visit the Aran islands, there are actually three islands in total. The smallest island is called Inis Oirr, the middle island is Inis Meain, and the largest island is Inis Mor. 

The most popular islands are Inis Mor and Inis Oirr, but they are all worth visiting and exploring. You can travel on a small ferry to the islands for a complete experience of the water in the area as well. Keep in mind that traveling from Doolin on the ferry you will reach the smallest island (Inis Oirr) the fastest because it is closest to Doolin. 

2. Explore By Bike

You can explore the islands on a bike unless it is super windy when you are visiting. There is the option to have a bicycle delivered to where you’re staying, or you can rent one on the pier of the island you’re in. You can opt for a traditional bike, a tandem, or an electric bike.   

3. Look for Seals

We recommend looking out for seals while visiting the Aran islands because this is a pretty unique thing to do. In fact, Inis Mor has a spot on Google Maps known as, Seal Colony Viewpoint. You can sometimes see up to 20 seals hanging out on the rocks and some can weigh over 500 pounds.

While you are admiring the seals, please remember to not go super close to try to pet them. They are wildlife and it is best to admire them from afar. 



4. MV Plassey Shipwreck

Visiting this shipwreck is one of the most popular things to do while you’re visiting Inis Oirr. This ship was a cargo vessel that used to operate during the mid-1900s in the Irish Merchant Service. In 1960 during a super stormy night, the entire ship washed ashore. 

Everyone living on the island at the time ran to help rescue everyone that was on board the Plassey. Thankfully, the entire crew survived the wreck and the ship itself also survived. The Plassey now sits on a bed of jagged rocks not far from the sea where you can admire it and take some pictures. 

5. Lighthouse

The lighthouse on Inis Oirr is in the southern part of the island. Back in 1818, the first light was ignited in a lighthouse located in this same spot. The current lighthouse has been there since 1857 because the original lighthouse was thought to be too high, so they lowered it in 1857.  

6. The Lúb Dún Fearbhaí Looped Walk

While you are visiting Inis Meain island we highly recommend checking out this looped walk. The walk will take you between four and five hours and it will take you around where you will see plenty of beautiful sights on this island. The longest route is the purple route, or you can opt for either green or blue routes for a shorter experience. 

If you’re not really up for walking for a few hours, then you can just see a few key attractions from the loop. You can check out the Dún  Fearbhai which is a handy ramble from the pier. It is on a steep incline overlooking Galway Bay and they believe it was built during the first millennium. 

You can walk 10-15 minutes from there to the famous ancient burial place that is linked to Diarmuid and Grainne. Legend says that they slept at this site when they traveled around Ireland to escape Fionn mac Cumhaill.  

Ready to Plan the Trip of a Lifetime?

Now you should be more excited than ever to set up your itinerary and take this vacation. Please keep in mind that the weather in the islands is just like the rest of Ireland – very unpredictable. You will want to pack clothing for every type of weather to ensure that you are covered whether it gets cold, hot, rainy, etc. 

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