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Aran Islands

Culture & history

Our most recommended Aran Islands Culture & History

From Galway: Full-Day Cliffs of Moher & The Burren Day Tour

1. From Galway: Full-Day Cliffs of Moher & The Burren Day Tour

Discover the history and landscapes of Ireland on a day trip from Galway with a local driver/guide. Marvel at centuries-old buildings and striking natural features before taking in one of the best views the country has to offer from the Cliffs of Moher. Stop for plenty of photo opportunities. Meet your trained driver/guide outside the Kinlay Hostel. Climb aboard the coach to head to your first stop, Dunguaire Castle on the outskirts of Kinvara. Looking at the 16th-century medieval tower house castle, you'll discover why it is one of the most photographed castles in the whole of Ireland. Then, drive through the unique glaciokarst landscape of the Burren and past the 12th-century Corcomroe Abbey, a Cistercian monastery noted for its distinguished carvings and rich ornamentation. Then, follow the Wild Atlantic Way as it wends its way along the coast of County Clare. Pass Black Head and Fanore Strand, Discovery Points on the Wild Atlantic Way, from where you can marvel at views of the three Aran Islands, Inishmore (Inis Mor), Inishmann (Inis Meain), and Inisheer (Inis Oirr), locking in Galway Bay, and in the distance the Connemara mountains. Next, stop for photos at Doolin pier. Feel the Atlantic wind in your face and admire the power of the sea as it crashes onto the shore. After you've worked up an appetite on the beach, tuck into lunch at the Doolin Hotel (not included). Try any of the local seafood dishes. You won't be disappointed. Then, head to your main stop of the day, the Cliffs of Moher. Enjoy 2 hours at this Signature Point along the Wild Atlantic Way. Admire one of Ireland's most spectacular sights. Rising 214 meters out of the Atlantic Ocean, the Cliffs of Moher offer one of the most amazing views in Ireland. After the Cliffs of Moher, return to Galway via Lisdoonvarna, famous for its annual matchmaking festival.

From Galway: Aran Islands Day Trip & Cliffs of Moher Cruise

2. From Galway: Aran Islands Day Trip & Cliffs of Moher Cruise

Take a day trip to Inisheer (Inis Oirr) from Galway and discover the ancient churches and castles on the smallest of the Aran Islands. Visit the Cliffs of Moher and admire the coastal scenery. From the meeting point in Galway, get driven south along the Wild Atlantic Way and into the lunar-like Burren region. From there, head to the picturesque fishing village of Doolin where you’ll board the ferry to Inisheer. Once there, explore the island's churches, castles, lighthouses, shipwrecks, cafes, and pubs. Discover one of Ireland's most beautiful beaches and, if you like, take a pony and carriage, hire a bicycle, or stroll the country roads. Stop for a hearty meal at a traditional local pub before arriving at the Cliffs of Moher. You will receive free entry to the cliffs and the eco-sensitive visitor center. Take a stroll along the cliff edge and consider how tiny everything looks from above. Once you depart the cliffs,l take the coast road home, following the Wild Atlantic Way. Make one last stop at the stunning Baby Cliffs in Ballyreen where you can walk atop the Burren, before returning to Galway.

Rossaveel, Galway: Ferry Transfer to Inis Mór (Aran Islands)

3. Rossaveel, Galway: Ferry Transfer to Inis Mór (Aran Islands)

Prepare for a warm Irish welcome as you board the luxury vessel, which includes a full bar and refreshment service. The ferry departs daily at 10:30 AM from the sheltered fishing harbor of Rossaveel in Connemara, Galway. Sail for about 40 minutes to Inis Mór (Inishmore), located just off the coast of County Galway in the heart of Galway Bay. The largest of the Aran Islands, Inis Mór offers visitors a glimpse into a way of life that has long since disappeared from most of the world. Upon arrival at the island choose from a variety of activities. Rent a bike or hop on a bus tour with a local guide. Explore ecclesiastical ruins and prehistoric stone forts such as the world-renowned Dún Aonghasa. Enjoy live music, taste seasonal local foods, or visit the Aran Island Sweater Market. Hop back on the ferry at 5:00 PM at Kilronan Pier on Inis Mór for your journey back to Rossaveel Harbor in Connemara.

From Limerick: Aran Islands and Cliffs of Moher Day Tour

4. From Limerick: Aran Islands and Cliffs of Moher Day Tour

Departing Arthurs Quay, Limerick at 8:30 AM daily, your local driver/guide will take you via Bunratty Castle and Ennis to the picturesque village of Doolin in County Clare. Here, you will board the 11:00 AM ferry sailing from Doolin to Inisheer, the smallest and closest of the Aran Islands. The ferry passage takes between 20 and 30 minutes. Once on the Island, you will have 2 hours of free time to explore an ancient castle, church, shipwreck, lighthouse, beaches, cafés and pubs. Return to the ferry, departing at 1:45 PM and, on the way back, sail beneath the Cliffs of Moher. From the sea, you get a unique view of the majestic Cliffs of Moher. Upon return to Doolin, reboard the tour bus before your driver/guide takes you to the top of the Cliffs of Moher. Once there, entry to the eco-friendly visitor's centre, the Atlantic Edge, is included. After your visit here, sit back, relax and enjoy the picturesque scenery on your way back to Limerick. The tour returns between 8:30 - 9:00 PM.

From Dublin: Cliffs of Moher Small Group Tour

5. From Dublin: Cliffs of Moher Small Group Tour

Your first stop is the 13th-century King John’s Castle in Limerick. The castle itself was built by the notorious King John, brother of Richard the Lionheart, and it is widely regarded as one of the best preserved Norman castles in Europe.  Learn about the medieval era of Ireland, from the Viking invaders to the Lords of Ireland. Following your visit to King John’s Castle, drive through Lisdoonvarna, home of the oldest matchmaking festival in the world. Pass Kilfenora, home to one of Ireland’s most popular traditional Céilí bands. Travel along the Wild Atlantic Way, brimming with magical views, including over the Aran Islands and the surfing beaches of Fanore and Galway Bay. During the coastal drive, go off the beaten track and view the famous Baby Cliffs of Moher. Shorter than the Cliffs of Moher, these smaller cliffs offer the ideal opportunity to see whales and dolphins. Gaze over the magical limestone landscape known as the Burren region.  Dating back over 300 million years, this rugged landscape is home to over 1,100 species of plants ranging from arctic flora to Mediterranean perennials and is one of the most fascinating regions of Western Europe. Stop at the traditional village of Doolin, boasting some of the best Irish pubs and restaurants. Order a local dish for lunch, such as Doolin’s famous seafood chowder, soda bread, and freshly brewed Guinness. Arrive at the world-famous Cliffs of Moher. Enjoy a relaxing walk and breathtaking views. The cliffs offer a stunning view of Galway Bay, the Aran Islands, and the rugged Connemara wilderness. You will also have the chance to see many of the 30,000 birds nesting in colonies along the cliffs and explore the award-winning Atlantic Edge Exhibition.  Return to Dublin at approximately 7:30 PM, where you will be dropped off in downtown Dublin, or at the same location that you were collected from.

Rail Tour from Dublin: 6 Days All of Ireland

6. Rail Tour from Dublin: 6 Days All of Ireland

Day 1 Check in Dublin Heuston Station (Customer Service Desk) for 7:00 departure of InterCity train to Cork (breakfast available). We visit Blarney Castle, the Queenstown Story at Cobh, then train to Killarney for two nights B & B with en-suite facilities. Day 2 10.00 depart Killarney on Ring of Kerry tour. We have a wonderful day viewing some of Ireland’s most spectacular scenery, including Dingle Bay. We also see the Macgillicuddy Reeks, Ireland's highest mountain Carrantuohill, Moll's Gap, Ladies View and the world famous Lakes of Killarney. Overnight in Killarney. Day 3 07.30 transfer from Killarney to Limerick, to join the Cliffs of Moher Tour, visit Bunratty Castle, Cliffs of Moher, O'Connors Pub at Doolin, Galway Bay, overnight Galway City in 3 star Hotel (2 nights). Day 4 10.30am transfer to Connemara Airport for flight and tour of Inishmór, largest of the Aran Islands Day 5 10.00 depart Galway for tour of Connemara, including Kylemore Abbey after which we depart Galway by train, arriving Dublin Heuston 20.45 transfer by tram to three star hotel for two nights (room only). Day 6 Check in Dublin Connolly Station at 07.10 departure for the Giants Causeway tour. At Belfast we join our tour and head to the famous Antrim Coast Road crossing the lovely Glens of Antrim en route to Ballycastle and the Carrick-a-rede* rope bridge (Mid March - October only. Glimpse the Scottish coast on a clear day. We continue to the stunning Giant's Causeway next, seeing Dunluce Castle (photo stop only). We return to Belfast and our train to Dublin arriving at Connolly station at 22:20 for second night in three star hotel. Depart Monday/Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday (March to October only) * Price is per person sharing Single Room Supplement applies

Cliffs Cruise, Aran Islands & Connemara in One Day

7. Cliffs Cruise, Aran Islands & Connemara in One Day

Taste the best of the west of Ireland in just a few hours on this groundbreaking day trip. Start the tour by sampling south Connemara. Then, explore Inis Oirr (the smallest of the 3 Arran Islands). After this, take a cruise under the Cliffs of Moher. Coming back onto the mainland, take arguably the finest coastal drive in Ireland with a late lunch stop in Ballyvaughan, a charming seaside village. Enjoy a looped route to ensure that you experience a completely different region of the west of Ireland in every hour that passes. Be assured that you won't see the same thing twice.

Galway: Day Trip Ferry to Inis Oírr (Aran Islands)

8. Galway: Day Trip Ferry to Inis Oírr (Aran Islands)

Discover a unique culture, landscape and way of life on this island day trip from Galway. Sail back in time and immerse yourself in a small fishing village atmosphere. Prepare for a warm Irish welcome as you board the morning ferry from the harbor at Rossaveel. Enjoy full bar and refreshment service on this luxury vessel as you voyage out into the Atlantic. Jump off the boat when you dock and find yourself in a walker’s paradise of breath-taking scenery. Hire a bike or hop on a tour and admire spectacular flora unique to the island and area. Enjoy white sandy beaches, and visit O'Brien's Castle or the site of the Plassey Shipwreck. Relax in one of the island's bars, restaurants or tea rooms, perhaps enjoying some traditional live music. Enjoy the special atmosphere of this little island before picking up your ferry back to Rossaveel at 4:30 PM.

From Ennis: Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher Day Tour

9. From Ennis: Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher Day Tour

Depart from the Temple Gate Hotel parking lot in Ennis at 9:00 AM, with a fully qualified, local driver/guide taking you through County Clare to the picturesque village of Doolin. Board the 11:00 AM ferry sailing from Doolin to Inisheer, the smallest and closest of the Aran Islands. The ferry trip takes between 20 and 30 minutes. Once on the Island, take 2 hours to explore an ancient castle and church, shipwreck, lighthouse, beaches, cafes and pubs. Take the return ferry at 1:45 PM and on the way back sail beneath the Cliffs of Moher, subject to weather conditions. From the sea, you get a unique view of these majestic cliffs. Upon return to Doolin, re-board the tour coach and our driver/guide will take you to the top of the Cliffs of Moher to enter the eco-friendly visitors center, the Atlantic Edge. Then it’s time to sit back and relax on the return coach to Ennis arriving back between 6:00 PM and 6:30 PM.

Cliffs of Moher, Connemara and Aran Islands Rail Tour

10. Cliffs of Moher, Connemara and Aran Islands Rail Tour

DAY 1 Check in at Dublin Heuston Station (Customer Service Desk) for a 7:00 AM departure with the InterCity train to Limerick (breakfast available). Join your coach here for a short tour of Limerick City and then to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park (admission included). Onto the village of Doolin for O'Connors Pub. Next, visit the stunning Cliffs of Moher, Black Head, the Burren, and Galway Bay with an overnight stay in the heart of Galway City (3-star hotel with bed and full Irish breakfast) DAY 2 10:30 AM transfer to Connemara Airport for a flight to Innismor where you'll join a tour of the islands, time for lunch at Kilronan before a visit to the magnificent ancient Fort Dún Aengus. Return flight and transfer. Back to Galway city late afternoon. Overnight as before. DAY 3 At 10:00 AM, head into magnificent Connemara where John Ford filmed "The Quiet Man" in 1951, taking in Clifden, Kylemore Abbey (reduced admission rate applies to Abbey itself), Leenane and Killary Harbour or Roundstone, the Coral Beach and the Sky Road. Take in views of the breathtaking, wild Atlantic Coastline. Return to Galway for an InterCity return train to Dublin Heuston arriving at 8:45 PM (snacks and full bar available). Prices are per person sharing - single room supplement applies Departs Daily (Monday-Saturday)

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What people are saying about Aran Islands

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 585 reviews

What a wonderful day of adventures, really enjoyed it. Very well organised tour. Bicycling on the island was a highlight. Our guide David kept us safe on windy roads and entertained us with stories about the past and present. We even stopped and fed carrots to two cute donkeys. Highly recommend!

It was so worth every penny. Our guide, Tommy, was fantastic and made sure each guest was well looked after. Would recommend to everyone!

bus driver was educational and fun day overall but fog covered the cliffs, so we will need to do it again

Tommy, the tour guide and driver, he is amazing, super funny. He is a real storyteller!

This is an unforgettable experience that cant be missed when visiting Ireland.