Inis Mór: the Land that Time Forgot

I spent two nights in Galway while in Ireland; during the second day I took a day trip to Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands. Accessible via a short ferry ride (about an hour long), the island is home to around 750-800 people, all of whom predominantly speak Gaelic.

When I think about Inis Mór, the best description that pops into my mind is: the land that time forgot. With the ruins of old homes being overtaken by trees and shrubs, to the complete silence that is unescapable, Inis Mór seems like the perfect getaway for a week to run far away from any stress and troubles, yet too isolated to live in (at least for my liking!).

Most of the group opted to rent bikes and ride out to an old fort near the cliffs; I decided to stay back and walk around the small island. If biking isn’t your forte, there are horse carriages to rent as well as locals who offer driving tours. Also on the island is a seal colony, but not much else in the area of entertainment. There IS a sweater shop, along with a sweater museum, however….

I was literally freezing my buns off. No joke. Which was the main reason why I chose not to rent a bike; I found a small pub and got loaded on cappuccinos. I would like to add, however, that they were the absolute best cappuccinos I had my entire time in Ireland, so I was a happy camper. After spending time near a fireplace in the pub, I wandered around the island a bit. There are heaps of abandoned homes; as I said earlier, some are overtaken by trees others depleted to ruins and roofless skeletons. Rusty iron gates, slightly opened to reveal a path into overgrown grass and boarded-up homes infested with chickens make for a somewhat creepy setting.

The group of those who did rent bikes said it was absolutely fabulous, and after seeing some of their pictures, I must admit I became a tad jealous and mad at myself for not going. But hey, I was cold… and a little hungover…. (damn you, Guinness!)…

aran island cliffs
A great shot of the group, courtesy of Tammy Volk

On the way back, the ferry ride was extremely bumpy. I was fine, however if you have the tendency to become seasick, load-up on the motion sickness pills. Overall, I think if I would have joined in on the bike ride or would have done some type of activity I would have enjoyed the island much more. I did have an absolute insane encounter with a human, however. But I will leave that for another post. (Watch out for a “when travel mates attack” post….)

… On a closing note, the island is so small, THIS is their tourist office!….


A HUGE thanks to Shamrocker Adventures for hosting my travels and allowing me to visit Inis Mór! All opinions, like always, are my own.

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About The Roaming Bean (109 Articles)
You're probably wondering what the heck is a "Roaming Bean"... Given that I am clearly not a Bean, and my name is Jen, what gives with this Bean thing, right? A friend of mine called me JenBean as a child, and it kinda stuck. Actually, it really stuck... even my license plate says Jenbean. And seeing as I have this grand lust to wander the world, The Roaming Bean seemed suitable. I've changed my career path more times than I have my underwear (minus all the times I've gone commando).... from animating, to forensic pathology, to international business, to fashion marketing and even to my wonderful and favorite of the bunch, degree in culinary arts, nothing kept my attention. Nothing was fun enough to do every day for the rest of my life. I mean, even though I cooked for celebrities in the heart of Hollywood, CA, why the hell would I want to sweat my ass off in a ridiculously HOT kitchen for most of the day and go home smelling like beef and onions? And the chef hat?? Do you know what that did to my hair?? Enter traveling.... The rainy day I descended down the tower of Notre Dame in Paris, gripping on to the railing for dear life so not to slip and tumble to an early death from the torrential down pour that was causing a small flood in the stairwell, my life changed. When I safely made it to the ground, legs shaky from an apparent lack of fitness it requires to walk up and down 387 steep stairs, I realized my hands were stained a delightful copper color from the rusted hand rail I had so dearly clung to. Desperate to get the icky stuff off my supple hands, and no running water in sight, I did what any other hopeless idiot would have done: I washed my hands in the nearest Parisian gutter. It was that moment that changed my life... I threw away my hair dryer, my rolling luggage and my dignity. I let my hair go natural, I bought a back pack and I CAMPED through Europe for a month and a half. Yes my friends, I crossed over into a savage traveling beast. Ok, a lot of people travel that way. But I didn't. And I'm so incredibly thankful for that rainy day in Paris that made me realize the world is a pretty sweet place. That realization led me on a quest; a quest to get out there, see things, soak up some local culture and eat my way around the world (with minimal food-related illnesses, such as but not limited to raging diarrhea).

17 Comments on Inis Mór: the Land that Time Forgot

  1. Hey great info. i am going with a group of 8 in August. We are doing just the day trip from Galway but trying to decide which ferry to take – we want to rent the bikes. How much time do you think we need on the Island? Half day (in on 1pm ferry and out on 6pm ferry) or whole day (in on 10:30am ferry and out on 6pm ferry) thanks

    • Glad you’re going! I did the whole day trip. 1-6 isn’t long at all if you want to see the island. Plus, if you’re making the trek from Galway to the ferry, then the ferry ride, you should make it worth it! How long will you be in Galway for?

  2. So, I take it this is the island you’ll be running off to when you start writing the Great American (and/or Irish) Novel?

    • No, no! I’d be able to stay there for about a week before I went nuts. It’s too quiet! And if the day ever came that I were to write a novel, I’d need to be submerged in a crazy, full-of-life type of city. I was that kid in high school that could only study with my Discman blasting in my ears (since it was way before the iPod was invented). The silence would make me useless!

  3. I loved Inis Mór. The silence was astonishing to me. I might not want to live there forever 24-7-365, but I would love to stay there for a month. And go back on a regular basis. 🙂

    • You could really stay for a month?!? I don’t know if I could last that long, but I’d totally be up for a week stay! I’d be constantly taking trips to Galway if I were there that long! How long did you stay for when you visited?

      • I was only there two days, but in those two days I felt my blood pressure go down and my thoughts straighten out in my head. I’m an introvert by nature and guard my down-time jealously. Besides, there are places to go and things to see on the island. I’m sure I’d put in a reasonable amount of time at Joe Watty’s. While I probably wouldn’t turn down a trip to Galway (because Galway, that’s why), if the opportunity never arose I have faith that I’d still happily survive. 🙂

        If it were on some desert island where there was just a hammock and some rum and a palm tree and a hut and no one else (but mysteriously, enough food and water)? Not for a month, no. Not even for a week.

  4. Genevieve // May 31, 2013 at 6:52 am // Reply

    You have to go to Inis Meain (Middle island) on your next trip… a Beautiful isle

  5. Cool post. I have been in the UK the last month travelling around and working. I am going to Ireland at the end of June for two weeks for my brothers wedding. Everyone I have talked to so far has said Ireland is the most beautiful place in the UK. Your post and pics do it justice. Can’t wait to go.

  6. Hi Jen, great post loved the images, 🙂

  7. Hey your photos are gorgeous! I enjoyed this today, thank you.

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