Inishmor

Inishmor

fInishmore or Inishmor (the big island), an Island of about sixteen square miles, contains all that is special about the Aran Islands . Beautiful scenery, rich archaeological sites, thousands of miles of stone walls ( built in order to delimit one's property as well as to protect the gardens from erosion brought on from the strong winds), cliff and coastal walks along the stretches of limestone pavement and a community still living the Celtic traditions of generations gone by all make this a very special place.

The rugged natural beauty is accentuated by the thatched roofs of the traditional Irish stone cottages that dot the countryside. The Irish language is spoken by all of the island's residents, but you will not have any problems getting by with English.

Panoramic views of the Irish coast from Connemara may be seen, and on particularly clear days, Mount Brandon in Kerry is visible on the southern horizon. There are golden stony beaches, and a freshwater lake. No less than 437 varieties of wild flowers grow on the island.

There are numerous ecclesiastic ruins, prehistoric forts as well as two (known) megalithic tombs. Along the main road are many of the unusual and curious "leachta cuimhne". Of the forts, prehistoric Dun Aengus is one of the most eminent of its kind in Europe. Covering an area of approximately 4 hectares, with surrounding walls 6 meters high, it was built by the chief of the Clan Umoir, Dun Aounghusa.

On Inishmore, the Celtic love of dance and song (especially "sean-nos" singing) lives vibrantly and may be experienced first hand at frequently held "ceilithe" or "sessions" in most of the pubs.

Inishmore is the birthplace of several writers, the most noteworthy being Liam O' Flaherty and Mairtin O' Direain. It was frequented by the distinguished playwright John Millington Synge. The island is the subject of numerous books and proves to be a constant inspiration to the visual, dramatic and literary arts.

The island can be explored on foot, on bicycles, by pony and car, or by minibus depending on your taste and the time available. Hospitable bed and breakfasts as well as a number of restaurants are to be found on the island, but reservations should be made before your arrival to the island because space is limited and some of the owners run a seasonal business. When on the island you should look out for the world renowned Aran jumpers that are still made in the traditional way.

Inishmore is accessible from Galway and Doolin by a regular ferry service (the crossing takes about 2 hours) and by plane from Connemara, Co. Galway which requires only about 20 minutes.

The island has many superb sites to visit, the most spectacular of which is Dun Aengus , some of the other ones worth visiting are Clochan na Carraige, the last remaining ancient dwelling to be found on the islands, Teampall Bheanain, named after the saint with the same name, is probably the smallest churches in the world measuring only approximately 11 by 7 feet. Dun Dubchathair which is located on the southern cliffs of Inishmore and is probably the oldest of the Aran Island forts. Airkins castle , built during the 16th century, was occupied by Cromwells troops when they arrived on the island. In order to repair the damage to the castle, they used building material from other historical objects nearby.

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