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Connemara's Islands

Connemara's Islands

Flung out into the Atlantic and shaped by the sheer force of the sea, Connemara’s islands are spectacular remnants of life long lost in other parts of Ireland. Staunchly proud of their traditions and as famous for their culture as their dramatic landscapes, Inishbofin and the Aran Islands are a patchwork of tiny, tightly packed fields, rambling stone walls, pristine beaches and craggy shores.

The islands’ relative isolation has fostered a profound sense of peace and protected a rich traditional heritage. They’re wonderful places to walk or cycle, and famous for their live music and traditional dances.

Situated in the choppy waters of Galway Bay, the three Aran Islands in the Gaeltacht region. The largest and most developed island is Inis Mór, a place blanketed in fissured limestone and snaking stone walls. The island’s most famous sight is Dún Aonghasa, a breathtaking semi-circular stone fort perched dramatically on top of a 100m cliff. Other prehistoric forts dot the island, as well as numerous early Christian remains. The heritage centre, Ionad Árann, gives a great insight into the island's history and traditions but you’ll also see them first hand in the nightly music sessions, regular dances and impromptu storytelling.

Inis Meáin, the Middle Island, is the quietest and least visited of the three Aran Islands and is a rare escape from the modern world. A maze of narrow winding roads, sheltered paths and way-marked trails criss-cross the island, and there are numerous examples of early Christian settlements. Inis Meáin is well known for its Irish language courses, traditional singing, story-telling and dancing and is home to the Aran Islands Dive Centre.

Inis Óirr, the Eastern Island, is the smallest of the three Aran Islands and regarded by many as the most beautiful. The barren and rugged landscape is perfect for quiet contemplation and relaxed walks. It’s easy to see the island entirely on foot and on remote laneways you’ll quickly get the impression that you’ve left the rest of the world behind.

Further north, Inishbofin has been home to fishermen, farmers, exiled monks and fugitive pirates for over 6,000 years and today the island supports a population of 200 full-time residents. Famous for its traditional music, excellent fishing and clear blue waters beloved by scuba divers, Inishbofin also has a wealth of historical sites, fine white sand beaches and rare flora and fauna.

You’ll find more information online at www.irelandsislands.com.

Glorious Dog's Bay, Roundstone Mweelrea Mountains shrouded in cloud Ruined cottage in the Connemara landscape Take to the waters on Killary Fjord Serenity in The Inagh Valley, Connemara View from the top of Diamond Hill, Maamturk Mts