This is Why You Need to Grab an Aran Islands Sweater From Ireland
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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…
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.
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.
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!
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