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About the Islands

Aran Islands Boats

Inishmore

Inishmore (or Inis Mórin Irish) is the largest of the three Aran islands. Its principal village is Kilronan where there is a good, deep harbour. An excellent Visitor's Centre, Ionad Arainn, provides a solid introduction to the history and culture of the island. Sites to see include the interesting remains of Arkin's Castle, a Cromwellian fort that maintained a garrison during the 17th and 18th centuries. Saint Ciaran's Monastery, east of the village, where can be seen also several early cross-slabs, pillars and a holy well dedicated to the early saint. Also in this locality is the very early Saint Soorney's Church. To the west of Kilronan is the church of Saint Enda, the saint most closely identified with the spread of Christianity on Aran. Kilmurvy is the other main village on Inishmore; it lies about 7km west of Kilronan, and in its vicinity is the Church of Saint Colman MacDuagh, and the Church of the Saints.

Aerial View of Dun Aonghasa

Dun Aonghasa

Undoubtedly the most famous and impressive site on Inishmore is the great stone fortress of Dun Aonghasa -- the largest of the prehistoric stone forts of the Aran Islands. It is perched spectacularly on the edge of a sheet 100m (300 ft) cliff that falls away into the Atlantic Ocean. It is enclosed by three massive dry-stone walls and a "chevaux-de-frise" consisting of tall blocks of limestone set vertically into the ground to deter attackers. The fort is about 900 metres from the visitor centre and is approached over rising ground. Wheelchair access is available to the visitor centre, but not to the fort. The admission fee is EUR 2.00 for adults, EUR 1.25 for groups & senior citizens, EUR 1.00 for children and there is a family rate of EUR 5.50.

Inishmann

Inishmann ( Inis Meáinin Irish, meaning the "the middle island") also contains both kinds of monuments, notably the ancient Kilcanonagh Church, the 15th century Templemurray, and fragments of Templeshaghtmacree, or the Church of the King's Seven Sons. Prehistoric times are represented by the superb oval stone fort of Dun Chonchubhair. There is one church on the island with beautiful Harry Clarke Studio windows. Also only one pub which is thatched and kept in the old traditional style. There is no bank on the island, so the bank flies in with Aer Arann once a month for business. An Dun is an excellent restaurant with award winning food set near the base of Dun Chonchubhair, a beautifully preserved prehistoric fort.

Aran Island Field

Inis Óirr

Inishere ( Inis Óirr in Irish, meaning "the south island") is the smallest of the three islands with a population of only about 300 people. Despite its size you can still find pubs, B&Bs, a hotel and a campsite and there is plenty to do and see. Inis Óirr is geologically similar to the Burren in County Clare, comprising mostly of rock. Like the Burren, many rare and exotic flowers and plants grow there. Ancient monuments worth seeing include ruins of Saint Kevin's Church, or Teampall Chaomhain, now sunk deeply into a sandy hill close to the shore. Not far from the small village is O'Brien's Castle, a 15th century tower house that stands within a stone fort. Also worth visiting are St. Gobnait's Church, or Cill Ghobnait, the Church of the Seven Daughters, or Cill na Seacht nInghean.

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