Aran Islands

Aran Islands

A group of three islands off the coast of County Galway and County Clare.

The biggest of the 3 islands is Inishmore and the smallest Inisheer.

The islands get their name from the Irish word ARA , which means “a kidney” and , by extension , a ridge or back of land.

The Aran islands are renowned because of their archaeological interest and because they have produced or inspired several important writers.

Irish is the main language of the islands and it is not surprising , therefore , that its authors write in both Irish and English.

One of the most famous writers is “Liam O’Flaherty who celebrates the life of the islands in his short stories.

Also noteworthy is that the American filmmaker of Irish descent “Robert O’Flaherty made his famous documentary “Man of Aran” in 1934.

Dun Aengus , perched high on the cliffs above the Atlantic Ocean , is the most prominent of several prehistoric cashels. Which are better known as hill-forts on the islands.

There is confirmed settlement activity there as early as 1500 BC !!!!!……YES 1500 BC !!!!!

But Dun Aengus reached its most developed form in the early Christian period.

The islands are also famous for Aran sweaters. These are hand-knitted from thick local wool by women on the island.

According to legend each family used a different knitting pattern so that drowned fishermen could be identified by their sweaters.

They are now popular items for tourists to bring home and on a lot of peoples shopping list.

The Aran islands are accessible by boat trips and we encourage our clients to see them on their tours of Ireland.