Aran Islands emerge from the depths of the ocean at the western coast of Ireland. They represent the harsh and unforgiving landscape. There are three in total: Inisheer, Inishmaan and Inishmore and are located west of Galway Bay.
The islands are created by the limestone, which is in many places furrowed by thousands of cracks. Originally, scientists believed that the islands are remnants of glacial activity, but now it is believed they were modeled by a strong erosion. Today they are islands without any trees.
On the islands the main spoken language is Irish and local people still care about their traditions and customs. People living here symbolize the kind of relentless self-sufficiency. Since the Aran Islands were always isolated from the mainland by Atlantic Ocean, the life here was rather primitive until the 18th century. The most important source of livelihood of local people was fishing and sheep farming. With the influx of tourists the life here began to change rapidly. There is still a strong tradition of the original way of life, which you will not find anywhere else in Ireland. This is the only place where you can enjoy the true atmosphere of Irish pubs, art and rural.
The biggest of Aran Islands is Inishmore with its length of 14.4 km. It has a natural small port Kilronan. The port is a great attraction for tourists, because in addition to the spectacular view of all sorts of boats it also offers a small marketplace where you can buy some of the typical fishing sweaters that are knit on the island. Here you can get by a regular ferry from Rossaveal – a village 20km far from Galway City. You can move through the island by a minibus, or you can hire a pony and trap. But if you want to experience the true atmosphere of the island and its rugged landscape, go to explore it on foot or by bike.
The most visited place is undoubtedly Dunaengus – the port of King Aengus. You can see there a huge semicircular stone fortress, which was built probably more than 2000 years ago. This place is usually overcrowded with tourists. If you prefer a quieter place then you should go to Dún Dúchathair, which is a black fort situated about 3 km from Dunaengus. On the island of Inishmore, there’s a lot of other places that are worth seeing – churches, fortresses and ancient buildings that have a mysterious spirit and flair.
Cheerful and relaxed atmosphere is on the Isle of Inisheer, which is slightly smaller than Inishmore. You can walk through it within an hour. You will feel like on a journey into prehistory and into the farthest corners of the Earth. The life here runs like a hundred years ago. Here you can learn what the real Ireland is about.
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