Ever since we planned our trip to Ireland, my mom couldn't stop talking about the Aran Islands. She had two requests the whole trip: that we bike ride around the Aran Islands and that she purchase one of their famed handmade wool sweaters. We had only heard of Inis Mór prior to purchasing our ferry tickets, but when tickets to that island were sold out for the day and we were forced to venture to Inis Oírr instead, we were pleasantly surprised. The quaint nature, mild weather, and gorgeous sights make it a travel destination you can't miss.
The Aran Islands are located off the West coast of Central Ireland. Inis Oírr is the smallest of the three. We stayed in the center of the country in County Limerick and drove to County Clare to the seaside town of Doolin to catch the ferry to the Aran Islands. Before heading to Inis Oírr, the ferry took us past the Cliffs of Moher. This is definitely something you can't miss when visiting Ireland. Measuring over 200 meters in height at the tallest point, the magnitude of the cliffs was overwhelming. We got close enough to see the puffin and other birds that dwell on the ridges of the cliff. Over 30,000 birds reside on the cliffs representing 30 or so species. After a thirty minute ride through the cliffs we changed boats and made our way to Inis Oírr.
The Cliffs of MoherPhoto by Carlos Delgado
I swear all we did when we were in Ireland was eat! So as you might expect, the first thing we did when we got off the ferry was follow the scent of seafood and cacophony of sounds indicating a good time up the road a bit to Tigh Ned. Just off the coast of the island, Tigh Ned is a small pub that serves some of the freshest seafood you can get. We saw proof of that later when we rode past countless lobster traps on the island and when we tried their version of the U.K. staple fish and chips. Tigh Ned was homey and the walls were adorned with signs with old Irish sayings and jokes. I'm more of a wine lady but when in Ireland I couldn't help myself from trying all of the different beer and cider options. Stonewall, a cider apparently only distributed to that area of Ireland was the best cider I've ever had, with its distinct refreshing dry and sour but refreshing taste.
Tigh Ned Photo by Carlos Delgado
My new favorite cider Stonewell.Photo by Marie Delgado
After filling up on delicious pub food, we rented bikes from the family-owned bike shop next door and got advice from the sweet owners what roads to take for the best tour of the island. We ended up going straight up the center of the island. It was a hard bike ride because much of it was uphill, but worth it for all of the unique sights. Closer to the shore, you had the view of the gorgeous bright blue water all around, as we made our way inland, the terrain was grassy with old stone walls separating private properties often containing cows and horses. Locals told us that back in the day, this was the islander's way of keeping their livestock in and they had continued to do the same today. Towards the top of the island, were a few ruins of old forts used as lookout points on the island. On our way back down, we came across a small shop that sold my mom's sought after sweater! She even purchased two because she loved them so much.
Sweet handcrafted gift shoppe.Photo by Marie Delgado
All in all, Inis Oírr was so welcoming. After a busy trip of sightseeing and traversing around the country, it was the perfect and peaceful way to spend the day. The juxtaposition of the lush green terrain with the jeweled blue sea and ancient ruins with the coastal vibe of the area made Inis Oírr one of the most unique places I've ever visited and has me still thinking about going back to enjoy the views again in person. If you're headed to Ireland soon, this is one spot you can't miss!
Inis OírrPhoto by Marie Delgado
Bike riding around Inis Oírr.Photo by Marie Delgado
A cow in Inis OírrPhoto by Anie Delgado
The beautiful shore off Inis Oírr.Photo by Marie Delgado
Stone wall ruins in Inis OírrPhoto by Carlos Delgado.
Inis OírrPhoto by Carlos Delgado