Sunday, August 28, 2016

Day 14: Aran Island of Inishmore

Thursday June 16

We had our best weather luck of the trip for this day, because we were due to go to the Aran Islands, which would be outdoors pretty much the whole time.   It was fantastic.
While the sun was welcome, the calm you see in this picture didn't last once we got out of the shelter of the harbor.  JT and I went up on the top deck, which was rather wet from the spray but had two advantages- the view of course.  And not being packed in the cabin with all the other passengers, some of whom were already white-knuckled and turning pale green.   The trip out was quite rough- I'm very glad I'm not prone to seasickness. 

Once we got closer in to Inishmore, our destination and the largest of the Aran Islands, the pitching slowed enough that I risked letting go of the rail to take a picture. 
This proved to be an error on my part, since a split second after I took this, the boat heaved and I fell on my posterior.  Lesson learned- I put the camera away and returned my hands to the rail for the rest of the trip.   On the boat we had a nice chat with one of the crew who told us he was a boat builder when he wasn't sailing, and that however rough it seemed to us, this was nothing.  The highest wave recorded on the Irish coast was over 20 meters.  That's 66 feet to us.  

Once we got to Inishmore, we hopped on minibuses for a winding trip to the other side of the island, and the prehistoric fort of Dun Aengus.  The landscape was eerie- a cracked karst pavement similar to what we would later see at the Burren.
The fort itself was immense, situated on a high point on the edge of the cliffs.  
They needed an extra large sign for all the cautions and warnings about the place.  The fort itself is open to the cliff edge and there are no safety rails anywhere. 
Here's the interior of the fort- you can see the outer wall behind the people.  The interior space was quite large.
After seeing the fort, we walked back down to the visitor center and cafe and had some lunch.  As many of the places we'd eaten, the cafe had a 'vegetable soup' on the menu- these were thick pureed soups, different in every place we visited but all delicious.  After all the fresh air and walking around, I was ready to eat a sheep, if one had been so unwary as to venture by!  I poked into several of the shops looking for sock yarn, as I was getting low, but what was mostly available was finished knitted items and a small amount of heavier weight yarns.  One of our guides, Alice, acquired a new hat.  The sweaters were beautiful, and if I weren't a knitter and had more room in my luggage I'd have been very tempted. 

Once our group was collected again, we went on to see the Seven Churches of Aran, a complex of churches and other buildings dedicated to the 5th century St. Brecan, once a pilgrimage site. 
From there we returned to the landing, and there was time to stroll around and have a cup of hot chocolate before the return ferry left:
The return trip had a noticeable swell, but nothing like as rough as the outbound voyage had been.  We had some lovely views of the Cliffs of Moher on the way back.  Aficionados may recognize them as the visuals for the Cliffs of Insanity from the movie The Princess Bride. 
We landed at Doolin in good order and headed back to Ennistimon for another night of dinner and music.  


  1. Oh my ...........that poor guy on the yellow signs. He fell in the water, he tripped UP the steps and fell down the steps, he bumped his head, but apparently he CAN visit with his sheep, goat and horse!!! Glad you did NONE of those things.

    The celtic crosses at the Seven Churches of Aran are beautiful!

    1. He has a rough life. In other parts of the UK, he's electrocuted, warned of Danger: Death!, and fallen down wearing a top hat...