This week I have given you, my dear readers, some inspiration to travel to the Emerald Isle of Ireland. As previously noted, there is so much goodness in this country, that it would be impossible to cover everything. That being said, I thought i’d ensure my Irish spotlight included a must-see excursion of an Aran Islands Tour complete with grabbing an authentic Aran Islands sweater while in this beautiful country.

About the Aran Islands

Located in Galway Bay, just off the coast of County Galway, the three Aran Islands present travellers with rugged and untouched landscapes, old world charm, and steep natural cliffs.

Travelling to the Aran Islands? Here's What you Need to Know - Fill My Passport
On the edge of the Inishmore coastline cliffs – Freezing before grabbing an authentic Aran Islands sweater

Book a Tour: From Galway: Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher Tour with Cruise

The islands are accessible several times each day via ferry, and for those seasick visitors, there is an airport near the Inishmore shoreline. Once you arrive, you will enjoy the privilege to roam the grounds where 1200 locals call home and experience a beautiful wilderness many miss out on nowadays, thanks to technology and life in general.

 

7 Things to Do on the Aran Islands

 

1- Explore the Inishmore Coastline and Take Daring Touristic Photographs

Although it made my stomach sink a little, I found it exhilarating standing near the edge of these untouched cliffs that have been there for centuries. Take some fun shots, get safely to the edge- DO NOT take silly chances! It is not worth your life, and there have been a few tourists who have succumbed to the desire of getting that daring snapshot. Take your Kodak moment with care.

 

Travelling to the Aran Islands? Here's What you Need to Know - Fill My Passport
The beautiful Aran Islands landscape – The Aran Islands Tour

Book a Tour: The Aran Islands & The Cliffs Cruise

 

2- Buy Yourself an Aran Islands Sweater From the Original Source. 

The Aran Islands sweater originated here. Locals started knitting them for those working outdoors and at sea. Traditionally, the Aran Islands Sweater was knitted with cream coloured wool (now you can buy them in all colours), and in specific cable and/or knotted patterns. An authentic Aran Islands sweater is made of 100% wool, enabling dampness to be absorbed.

The Aran Islands sweater became overly popular in the 20th century, but their origin is still unconfirmed. Various historians believe that one of the monks in the Book of Kells is wearing an Aran Islands sweater.

Buying Your Authentic Aran Islands Sweater

Support the Aran Islands locals by purchasing your Aran Islands sweater at the large flagship store located on the island. You will find a large variety of styles and colours available in all sizes. For stitch significance, as there are several to choose from with various meanings, speak with a clerk who will be able to help. They even have a pamphlet detailing all the patterns to take with you.

Travelling to the Aran Islands? Here's What you Need to Know - Fill My Passport
Aran Islands sweater knitting supplies

 

Model wearing an Authentic Aran Island Sweater
Model wearing an Authentic Aran Islands Sweater

 

The official shop to buy an Aran Sweater on the Aran Islands
The official shop to buy an Aran Islands Sweater

 

Visit the Dun Aengus Fort

While near the cliff backdrop of your daring photos, take a stroll through the 15th century fort. Try fitting through the entrance that can barely fit a small child! And, make sure to take photos of the iconic citadel sitting at approximately 50 meters in diameter.

Travelling to the Aran Islands? Here's What you Need to Know - Fill My Passport
In the Dun Aengus Fort Entrance – Aran Islands

Take a Horse and Buggy Ride Around the Island

For a nominal fee, you can hire a horse and buggy to take you and your fellow travellers on a relaxing scenic ride around the island. Marvel at the beautiful local cottages, wildlife, and natural scenery. Some drivers will even let you hold the reins. Don’t worry, the horses here are treated well and ethically!

Horse and Buggy on the Aran Islands
Horse and Buggy on the Aran Islands

 

Travelling to the Aran Islands? Here's What you Need to Know - Fill My Passport
Taking a Horse and Buggy Ride on the Aran Islands

 

See Real Leprechaun Houses 

The locals here take the legendary leprechaun quite seriously and offer them accommodation stopovers on their travels around the country. Leprechaun houses, similar to doll houses, come equipped with miniature furniture, nibbles, and all the comforts of home on the off-chance one will stop by on the way to the end of a rainbow…

Leprechaun house on the Aran Islands
Leprechaun house on the Aran Islands

 

leprechaun house up close
Leprechaun house up close on the Aran Islands

Book a Tour: Cliffs of Moher, Connemara and Aran Islands Rail Tour

Cycle Across the Aran Islands 

For a more active option than the horse and buggy, hire a bicycle and ride around the island while enjoying the landscape. Bikes are quite cheap to hire and they provide you with helmets to keep safe on the uneven terrain.

Bicycle
Bicycle rental on the Aran Islands

Get up Close and Personal with Horses

The locals are incredibly friendly on the Aran islands and don’t hesitate to make visitors feel welcome; this includes allowing photo close-ups with their horses. I enjoyed “meeting” a local horse. I simply patted his nose and took a photo with him- nothing else. Just remember, that these are large animals, they are treated well by their owners, and do not need to be stressed or treated poorly by an inconsiderate tourist! Take a photo and go. I was lucky to have the chance to pat its nose as the owner was there and approved the interaction.

Up close and personal with an Aran Island horse
Up close and personal with an Aran Islands horse

This is just a handful of reasons justifying a trip to the Aran Islands. If you truly want to visit, make sure to plan your Ireland city and  castle itinerary through Galway in the spring or summer. Winter weather provides much uncertainty and lowers the possibility to visit as the sea is treacherous with dangerous sea conditions. When I travelled to Ireland this past winter, the water levels were too high, resulting in ferry cancellations nearly everyday and Galway’s harbour closing due to flood and weather threats.

Have you been to the Aran Islands? Did you buy an Aran Islands sweater? I would love to hear about your trip! Drop me a comment and tell me about it!

 

 

Travelling to the Aran Islands? Here's What you Need to Know - Fill My Passport
Aran Islands

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