Galway and the Aran Islands Travel Guide
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- 98%Local Culture
User Reviews (6 Reviews)
- Galway and the Aran IslandsMar 13, 2013
I loved Galway, and I loved the Aran Islands even more - despite fighting the winds on a blustery November afternoon. Exploring the island by bike is a great option, but if you're directionally impaired and fear getting lost, taking an inexpensive tour via small van is an alternative. My guide was an Aran Island local, and could tell me exactly how many children were attending the Middle School as we passed it (30-something at the time, which tells you just how small the islands are). Explore the fort, lean over the cliffs and take pictures that would make your mother cringe, and heat up with a hot cup of tea in a rustic bar by the ferry (if that doesn't warm your bones, buy an Aran sweater, native to the island and extremely toasty). The views are unforgettable, and worth the choppy waters to and from the mainland.
- Galway and the Aran IslandsMember ofLocal CultureFoodiesLGBT+ 1Jan 17, 2013
While Galway is as touristy as touristy can get, the Aran Islands offer a relatively undisturbed glimpse into Ireland's past. Yes of course you'll find other people on the island, but far fewer tourists make the trip across the bay, choosing instead to hang closer to Galway's bars and shops.
Rent a bike from one of the two bike rental shops right where the ferry drops you off and take off on an adventure around the island. They'll give you a map, but the trail is a loop and is relatively straightforward. The island is small, so you'd be hard-pressed to get lost. Make sure to take your time to appreciate the salty wind being blown over the lush green grass and stone walls. The few people who actually live on the island are farmers or work in tourism; you'll actually probably run into a number of cows and herding dogs along your ride.
When you get to the bay-beach, don't turn around-- your ride isn't done yet. Continue up the hill towards the cliffs. There is an extremely ancient stone structure at the top of the hill, overlooking the ocean, on the edge of some very vertiginous cliffs. A museum explaining the history of the site is at the bottom of path leading up to the ruins. You could spend hours up there just gazing out across the island and the sea.
In one afternoon on the islands, the basis of all of Ireland's fantastical sea-lore will become apparent to you as you step back in time to experience Ireland as it was.
Be sure to catch the ferry back. There is accommodation on the island, but unless you were planning on it, getting stuck there isn't generally a pleasant experience. Besides, Galway awaits exploration too!
- Galway and the Aran IslandsJul 05, 2012
Definitely try to explore the west coast of Ireland and the Aran Islands. It's more spacious and green than the east coast, and if you want to be exposed to a foreign language, the Aran Islands' primary language is Gaelic. I really enjoyed the street fair in Galway, where you can enjoy the local vendors and street musicians. It's also great to be on the coast and see the Atlantic Ocean from the other side.
- Galway and the Aran IslandsMember ofLocal CultureOutdoor EnthusiastsFoodies+ 2Jul 04, 2012
The west coast of Ireland is a magical place. You could spend a lifetime here, just visiting every traditional music jam session in each and every local pub. Galway is a rather hip and happening city with a vibrant university population, and the Aran Islands seem to have been stuck in time. Many residents have gone about their business chatting in Irish for centuries, and still do, to this day.
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