Staycation season is upon us and as we've established over the last couple of years, there's no shortage of insanely beautiful places to spend a weekend on this island of ours.
On our most recent travels we were lucky enough to spend a night on Inis Mór, the largest of the three Aran Islands with cycling, seafood and session-ing aplenty. If you're planning on making the trip over any time soon, here are our recommendations for where to stay, what to see and of course, what to eat and drink.
Aran Islands Glamping is a short walk away from the islands' main town, Kilronan, and perched right on the edge of the sandy Frenchman’s Beach. Wake up to calming sound of the sea, then take yourself out for a morning dip or just sit with a cup of whatever you're having yourself outside your pod, soaking up the surrounds. You'd be hard pressed to find a dreamier location. Find out more and book in HERE.
Eat & Drink:
A buzzy family run pub in Kilronan with live music, the freshest of seafood and of course, delicious creamy pints. If you close your eyes and imagine the perfect traditional, small-town Irish pub, Joe Watty's is pretty much the embodiment of that.
Teach Nan Phaidí
Another rural Irish fantasy come to life, this thatched cottage is easily one of the most Instagrammable cafes you'll ever come across. A tasty menu of homemade dishes and desserts with teas, coffees and beers on offer too.
Paudy's Ice Cream
For all your crepe, waffle and banana split needs, with an excellent selection of scoop and soft serve flavours. It's also right beside Dún Aonghasa for anyone looking to reward themselves with a sweet treat post-hike.
Man of Aran Fudge
You may have seen the Man of Aran popping up at food markets all over the country, but now you can catch him right at the source by Inis Mór pier. A gift box with a carefully selected mix of fudge flavours is the perfect present to bring home with you, and as the M o A himself will tell you - "they're all lovely".
Cycling is the perfect way to explore Inis Mór and there are plenty of rental services on the island - we went with Aran Bike Hire who had a great selection of standard and electric bikes (very handy for the hills), and are located right by the pier.
See Dún Aonghasa
A stay at the Aran Islands Glamping pods grants you free entry to this prehistoric hill fort, which just so happens to be located on the edge of a 100-metre-high cliff. Otherwise, an adult entry ticket will set you back just €5 at the time of writing this (June 2022). It's about a 15 minute hike up to the top, with seriously impressive views of the Galway coastline and Atlantic Ocean once you get there.
There are plenty of sandy, sheltered beaches along the coastline of Inis Mór - check out Frenchman’s Beach, Kilmurvey Beach or take a jump off Inis Mór pier.
Take a cruise to the Cliffs of Moher
Aran Island Ferries provide transport to and from the island, as well as seasonal cruises to the Cliffs of Moher. If you've never seen them, the best way to observe the iconic cliffs is definitely from the sea - waves crashing, countless species of birds fluttering and jagged rocky terrain - it's a sight to behold! Find out more and book yourself on for a trip HERE.
Wish we'd gotten to do:
Although the famous wormhole is right by Dún Aonghasa, it's a little off the beaten track and we were worried we wouldn't make it back to our ferry in time if we went searching. A naturally formed pool perfectly cut into the rocky terrain, the wormhole has has a number of underground channels which connect to the ocean and was one of the locations for the Red Bull Diving Series in 2017. Definitely a reason to head back for another visit!