The thatch roofed houses peppering the sea of emerald grass fields seems so oddly reminiscent of another era but yet are actually still found in areas all Ireland. Landing on the Aran Islands off of the west coast of Ireland is like taking a full leap into a small and traditional pocket of intensely Irish culture; Irish is their first language and the traditional Irish céilidh on the weekends counts among the best Irish music jam sessions I have ever heard…although some of it is done for tourists, the small community of locals on the island were still genuinely having a great time as they yanked me onto the dance floor for some rapid swirling turns to the pulsing fiddle music.
It takes an eternally long hour hour boat ride across the rough Atlantic waters to visit the Aran Islands but is so worth the trip. In fact, my traveling friend for those couple of weeks so fully fell in love with Inishmór, the largest island, that she headed home, rented out her house in the US and has now been living on the island for more than five months!
Quick Travel Tips: Aran Islands
How to get there: Ferries leave from both Doolin (near the Cliffs of Moher) and Galway and take between 40 mintues and an hour. Ample free parking to leave your rental car if leaving from Doolin!
Where to go: Kilronan on Inishmór is the largest town and has two hostels and an amazing local nightlife
Where to stay: Kilronan Hostel – a mere one minute walk from the dock and central to all of the local pubs and music.
Aran Island Sights: Day tours to see the ancient Dun Aengus Fort and local cemeteries…renting a bike didn’t work out too well for me but can be good fun if you are up for some strenuous exercise on relatively unpaved roads!