The Aran Islands

Ros a’ Mhil from Galway is an extensive drive and is no way shortened by the plethora of tractors slogging along the main road. With ticket pre-booked for the boat to the Aran Islands, Seamus was not a happy camper when, already behind schedule, such a tractor found it’s way in front of our rental car. The roads were far too narrow to pass safely and thus we were forced to inch behind the mechanical slug all the way to Ros a’ Mhil.

The homes of the Aran islands.

Once the tractor finally pulled in, Seamus rushed (at the boarders of the speed limit) the remainder of the way. Desperately, we ran from the car hoping that we had not missed the boat. The departure time had long passed but fortunately for us, the boat was as late as we were. Happily, we were able to board the vessel named, the Happy Hooker.

Meadhbh on board.

Meadhbh on board.

The usually motion sickness that ails my mother and I was not an issue this time. The sail was smooth and the ships momentum created a refreshing wind for those on board.

The boat that took us to the Aran Island.

The boat that took us to the Aran Island.

Leaning over the rails of the boat, we were carefully not to bend too far. The water below would not only be chilling but was swarming with jelly fish of all kinds. Apparently, not every mammal is bothered by the jellyfish. A midst the squishy terrors we caught a glimpse of a dolphin. From the looks of it, the dolphin was not the famous Fungie dolphin that had captured the heart of Ireland. However, the playfully, blue fellow was very endearing to all aboard.

The dolphin we spotted.

The dolphin we spotted.

Before long we had reached the Inisheer, the smallest of the islands. The island had been founded by Saint Caomhan whose younger brother Saint Kevin founded the area of Glendalough which we had previously visited. Almost immediately after our arrival we were approached by a man named Tony Costello who offered us a carriage tour around the island.

Tony and Maggie.

His horse Maggie pulled us over the gravelly roads covering the island while his dog, Sailor followed, tail-wagging. Tony chatted merrily to us about life of the island.

Tony on the carriage on the Aran Island.

He told us that most people on the island are fluent in Irish Gaelic. We heard the language for ourselves when Tony would shout out a few Gaelic words to locals that passed.

Sailor trotting along behind us.

Sailor trotting along behind us.

At the coast of the island we stopped in order to get a closer look at ship wrecked boat called, Plassey that the ocean had brought to shore in the sixties.We inspected the boat for some time before continuing our tour with Tony.

The shipwreck.

The shipwreck.

Seamus outside the Plassey.

Seamus outside the Plassey.

The path to the fort.

The path to the fort.

At the end of the tour we dined at a pub that Tony had recommended before furthering our exploration of the island by foot.

Tony letting us lead the carriage.

Tony letting us lead the carriage.

 Over a grassy hill, we climbed up to the ruins of the medieval O’Brien castle.

Meadhbh exploring the inside of the fort.

Meadhbh exploring the inside of the fort.

The stone fort was offered a magnificent vantage point of the island and despite the Irish trend, the weather was fantastic.

The ruins of the fort.

The ruins of the fort.

Under a beaming sun we were able to view the entire island. Quite content from the great pub grub and our relaxing location, Meadhbh and I took small cat nap in the grass at the base of the fort.

The view of the island from the hill.

We awoke to slight sunburns and departing parents. Hurriedly, we followed after our parents who were making their way to the dock to catch the boat returning to mainland.

Seamus in the Atlantic.

Seamus in the Atlantic.

During the short wait for the boat to arrive, Seamus waded knee-deep in the icy waters of the Atlantic.

The dock as seen from the hill.

The dock as seen from the hill.

Back on the mainland we boarded a smaller boat that went out to view the Cliffs of Moher. Unfortunately the size of the boat encouraged our motion sickness more than the last had.

In the boat on the way to the Cliffs of Moher.

In the boat on the way to the Cliffs of Moher.

Still, ignoring the nausea we took in the stunning cliffs. The cliffs were spectacular and the amount of puffins nestled into every cranny of the stone and popping in and out of the water was unbelievable.

Moher from the ocean.

Moher from the ocean.

Afterwards we got a more comfortable view of the spectacle by driving up to the top.

Moher from above.

There were fewer puffins to be seen but the sights were just as wonderful.

– Siobhan