Inis Oírr holds a special place in my heart and is one of my favourite places in the world. My mother was from Inis Oírr and I have lots of family living there. This post will tell you all my favourite places to go and hopefully, after reading it you’ll know why I love it so much.
The island is the smallest, of the three Aran Islands and is based off the coast of Galway. It is also very close to Clare, you can see the Cliffs of Moher on a clear day. The island has earned fame in the last few years as it is featured in the Father Ted trailer meaning many Dougal and Ted fans making their way to the small island. Something that I feel distinguishes Inis Oírr from other islands, is that it finds a nice balance between authenticity and touristy. You learn about Island life without feeling like you’re intruding. The island is steeped in history so don’t forget to buy a small walking guide in the shop, it costs €2!
How to Get there
There are two ways to get to Inis Oírr via plane or boat. Aer Arann Islands run a service to all three islands. The airport is based in Inverin, Connemara, which is about 40 minutes from the city centre. The duration of the flight is about seven minutes and is weather dependent.
The airport has parking so you don’t have to worry if you have a rental car. It also runs a bus service from the city, don’t forget to mention it when booking your flight. Return flights will cost you €49 return and €25 one way.
More information: https://aerarannislands.ie/
Boat via Rosamhíl or Doolin
There are two boat routes to Inis Oírr. You can go from Galway or Clare. Aran Island Ferries run the service from Rosamhíl. You should allow an hour to travel from the city. The boat is cheaper than the plane, as it is €25 adult return or €15 single. There are two sailings a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. The boat takes less than an hour to arrive in Inis Oírr and stop in Inis Meáin along the way.
Both Doolin2Aran Ferries and O’Brien Line leave from Doolin in county Clare. Doolin2Aran and O’Brien both charge €20 return. You can check their sailing times shown on their websites. The duration of the trip ranges from 15 – 30 minutes depending on which boat you get. This is a great option for those looking to visit the Cliffs of Moher before or after visiting the island.
Places to go
Caisleán Uí Bhrian // ‘ O’ Brien Castle’
One of the highest points of the island is Caisleán Uí Bhrian. The view is breathtaking on a Summer’s day. You can see most of the island and stand by a Castle that was built in the 14th century. The castle was originally owned by the O’Brien clan however was taken in 1582 by a Connemara clan, the O’ Flaherty’s.
An Plassey // The Plassey Shipwreck
The Plassey, featured in Father Ted gave Inis Oírr its nickname, Craggy Island. The boat is on the island for the last 50 years and has been there since 1960. A storm pushed the boat too close to the island and the ship hit a rock at 5 in the morning. A flare from the crew on board alerted islanders that the ship was in danger. At 8 in the morning Islanders rushed to the shore. They managed to secure a steady rope between the boat and shore using rockets. Hours later, one by one all of the crew were brought to shore safely. All thanks to the islanders who saved the crew from the storm.
With storms over the years it is not known whether the shipwreck will be there forever, so this is not a sight you want to miss.
An Trá // The Beach
Voted one of the best beaches in Ireland, Inis Oírr has one of the most spectacular beaches. Make sure you take a dip in a bluest of seas and feel the sand between your toes. If you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of a dolphin.
Teampall Chaomhán & Teampall Gobnait // St. Kevin & St. Gobnait’s Church
Teampall Gobnait is a small church which dates back to the 8th or 9th century. It is believed Gobnait fled from her native Cork to Inis Oírr to escape from enemies. The Islanders built her a church in her honour.
Teampall Chaomhán was built between the 10 – 14 century. It is located in the graveyard and Caomhán is Inis Oírr’s patron saint. A festival is held in his honour every year on June 14th.
Tobar Éinne // Holy Well
If you are a spiritual person you might like to visit Tobar Éinne. The well is located towards the back of the island. It is said that the well does not run dry and that its water contains healing properties. You can walk to the well but I’d recommend renting a bicycle if you are stuck for time.
An Loch // The ‘Lake’
On the opposite side of Tobar Éanna is the lake or ‘An Loch Mór’. The lake has a beautiful view in the evening. If you are a fan of wildlife, swans can be spotted occasionally and there are wildflowers growing all around its perimeter.
An Teach Solais // The ‘Lighthouse’
The lighthouse guides sailors into the southern entrance of Galway Bay. It was first lit on 1 May 1818. You cannot go inside the grounds but can walk as far as the red gate and get a closer view of the only lighthouse still in use on the Aran Islands.
How to get around
The island is very easily walkable as it is only 3km x 3km however if you are pushed for time I would suggest either pony and trap or bicycle hire. Both are available from the pier when you arrive in Inis Oírr
Where to stay
There is a variety of places to stay! The island has many B&B’s, a hotel, a guest house and a hostel. If you are planning on staying a little longer there are self-catering houses available. Also, there is also a camping site for anyone brave enough to battle the wild Atlantic winds, that being said Inis Oírr is beautiful on a summers day!
The full list of accommodation is available here: http://discoverinisoirr.com/where-to-stay
Where to eat & drink
When it comes to Inis Oírr, you’re spoilt for choice. There is a number of cafes and pubs that serve food. You can have a read of all options here: http://discoverinisoirr.com/where-to-stay-eat/restaurants/
Remember to …
If you are someone who gets seasick, make sure to bring medicine with you. There is no chemist on the island and it will save you a trip to the doctor.
Don’t be afraid to use your Gaeilge! The locals will appreciate your effort.
Finally, switch off your phone. Soak it all in. There’s no place like it!
You made it! That was a long post, hopefully, I answered all your questions! If you have more questions don’t be afraid to dm me on Instagram (you follow me here ) or comment below!
Have you been to Inis Oírr yet or are you planning a trip?
Read more about my travels here : http://chasingcaitriona.com/