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5 Inis Mór Hidden gems that give you complete isolation

Inis Mor attracts a certain sort of person. The type who enjoys nature in all its forms, rugged countryside, sweeping views, and tranquility. Here’s 5 hidden gems waiting to be discovered during your time there.

 

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Welcome to Inis Mor

The largest of the Aran Islands, Inis Mor is often considered to be a hidden gem in itself! Many people are unaware of this stunning island sitting right in the middle of the Wild Atlantic Way, just outside Galway Bay. The majority of those that venture there, do so on a day trip to see the ‘main highlights’, and are then on their way once more. Truth be told though, it’s those hidden gems that make Inis Mór so special.

The island is relatively small and compact, and the best way to get around is by bicycle or on foot. In fact, there is a hiking trail around the island covering some 30 miles which will allow you to see many of the hidden gems of Inis Mor listed below. Cycling is perhaps the best way though, especially if staying on the island for several days. You can rent bikes for 10 euros a day, and reach virtually any point on the island within a few hours.

If you are planning to stay for a longer length of time, be sure to ask a local about these less visited sites. In particular, you might want to ask directions for the Puffing Holes. Don’t forget to ask if there is anything else to see or if any events are happening on the island whilst you are there. You never know what you might discover!

 

puffing holes

The Puffing Holes

There are currently three mapped Puffing Holes on Inis Mor, with the two, large circular ones being the most well known. They get their name from where water crashes into caves beneath the cliffs, and then ‘puffs up’ through the hole. The site can be very spectacular if the waves are particularly powerful when you visit!

Getting there: Some degree of navigation, or very VERY good instructions will be needed to guide you in the right direction, although the hike there is not hard in itself. The holes can be found at the east end of the island, beyond the village of Cill Einne. NOTE – Please use extreme caution when visiting! The holes are not marked, and can appear out of nowhere. Also, make sure to stand clear when the holes are puffing!

 

 

st-benans-church

St Benan’s Church

St. Benan’s Church is positioned on a hill near Cill Einne on the eastern side of the island. It is said to be the smallest church in Ireland, and legend has it was used by a hermit who may have been associated with a nearby monastery. Unlike many religious buildings it does not have an east-west orientation, but a north-south one, perhaps because of the prevailing windy weather conditions. One can only imagine what life must have been like here, living all alone!

 

 

Bun Gabhla

Bun Gabhla is the small village/area at the western end of the island. There’s a sense of remoteness there, and seals bob in the waters by the old pier. If the waves allow, you might get the chance to see people launching the traditional boats or curraghs into the waters. If you are planning on cycling around the island, this is a great area to add into your plans, and certainly worth the pedal!

 

 

Ancient Forts

The ancient fort of Dun Aonghasa is a major attraction of the island, and hardly a hidden gem. There are more forts waiting to be discovered on Inis Mor though! The next biggest is the Black Fort. Although at one point it was thought to be actually larger than Dun Aonghasa, it is nowadays smaller in scale. The Black fort is a much quieter place to visit than its more famous counterpart, and perhaps a little more intriguing. Cliffs surround it on three sides, and there is some question as to whether it was defensive in nature or ceremonial. There’s a strong possibility that when you visit, you will be the only ones there!

There are two more little-known stone forts on Inis Mor as well. These are Dún Eochla and Dún Eoghanachta. The first is at the highest point on the island, and consists of two walls which are almost perfectly round. Getting there involves a hike through some fields. The last fort is Dún Eoghanachta, which is found just off the main road near Sruthán.

 

The People

The biggest hidden gem on the island of Inis Mor has to be the people though. Proudly keeping the Irish language alive, as well as their heritage, they are friendly and welcoming. There are also a large number of artists for an island with such a small population. Painters, sculptors and even mosaic designer number amongst the inhabitants, and their homemade goods, designs, and artworks can be found on sale in the main town.

Take some time to meet the people, and learn about their lives on the island. How growing up there has given them a different perspective on life. Have a drink or two with them in a local pub, and listen to some live music playing in the background. You’ll soon find that it’s the people you will remember as much or if not more than the places you have seen!

And a bonus hidden gem…

Ted Fest

Is a festival a hidden gem? It is if you are a fan of the TV series Father Ted! This yearly event takes place on Craggy Island (Inis Mor) every year, and is great for shenanigans and fun! It does sell out quickly though, so if you want to attend during the month of February with other Ted fanatics, you need to book early. ‘That’s mad Ted’!

Great and memorable experience. Nice, small and cozy camps. Best for two people but can accommodate three. Nice and professional staff. We loved the kitchen facilities which makes up for the small size of camp. Great atmosphere. We hired bicycles and visited the whole island. Must visit place if you’re planning on staying overnight on the island. Highly recommended.
Muhammad Taqi
Muhammad Taqi
06:33 15 Nov 18
Camped here overnight when I cycled from Galway. Nice campsite, good facilities, you pay for the shower but it last ages. Good kitchen facilities and it's close to the Pubs. I set up the Tent and cycled around the sites on the island very handy.
Ray Toomey
Ray Toomey
20:30 10 Nov 18
Stayed here with my friend a few months ago. It was my highlight of the trip and I 100% recommend staying in one of the Clocháns
Anthony Marchi
Anthony Marchi
17:21 02 Oct 18
Great location and generally a good site. Felt a little unwelcomed when we arrived. We got off the ferry around 11.30am and the first thing we wanted to do was offload the tent etc... Check in isn't until 1pm which is surprising as people coming off the ferry would want to dump their stuff first surely (which they did as everyone else was doing the same as us) just doesn't seem well designed. Anyway we were allowed to set up the tent (so long as we didn't use the facilities) then went off for the day and returned late in the evening. It is a very nice site and the price is very reasonable for camping. Not sure I would stay in a pod for the price though. You could get a b&b for cheaper!
Lindsay Grainger
Lindsay Grainger
09:38 19 Aug 18
Great facilities and lovely, helpful people. Would definitively recommend and stay here again. A great family friendly site. Not suitable for parties.
Clodagh Stapleton
Clodagh Stapleton
19:04 05 Aug 18
€2 per shower, no handwash in the toilets. You have to wear wristbands for the duration of your stay which was very annoying. Also the campsite was very loud late into the night with some residents.
Stephen Crowley
Stephen Crowley
12:49 29 Jul 18
The cheapest place to stay on the island. 10euro per person in tent. 2euro extra for the shower but it's so long working that two persons can use it in this time. The pods are looking very nice but I wouldn't pay this 125euro per night for this, overpriced Ireland as usual.
Katharina Ceta
Katharina Ceta
10:36 23 Jul 18
Beautiful, quiet, across the street from a sandy beach. Huts are snug for 4 but we were outside a lot, so it never felt cramped. Laundry facilities and larger kitchen available in nearby outbuildings, wifi in main building. An excellent place to unplug and rest.
Jill Mulvey
Jill Mulvey
07:58 14 Jul 18
Eco friendly and one of the best stay I have ever been. If u hire bicycle is only two minutes from town. Walking distance is about 10 minutes. Highly recommended. Place is nice and tidy
Eva Ruzickova
Eva Ruzickova
07:10 07 May 18
Nice place to stay, with front sea view and easy to commute to the city.
Brajesh Singh
Brajesh Singh
07:01 04 May 18
Very satisfactory ! Thank you very much ! 😊
Charlotte Tailland
Charlotte Tailland
13:57 02 Apr 18
The welcome was very good. I recommend this place.
Louise Camille Desroches
Louise Camille Desroches
13:38 02 Apr 18
After a hard walking, my friends and i was very satisfising by the welcome the camping had offert to us! Thank you so much
fier d etre moi
fier d etre moi
13:34 02 Apr 18
Very satisfying, they welcome us when we were freezing outside, so thank youuuuuu
Lou acl
Lou acl
13:31 02 Apr 18
Absolutely loved it! Wish we could have stayed longer
Sarah Nash
Sarah Nash
00:03 21 Feb 18
From start to finish I'd an excellent three day stay here.The owner was a gentleman, he unexpectantly to us, was waiting at the port for the ferry to arrive to collect his guests and drive them to the glamping site.Being midweek early October it was quiet with only a few pods occupiedThe pods were first class, spotless, like a hotel room with everything you'd want.The location is perfect, a few minutes walk from the port and Kilronan village with a beach and amazing views out over the water.It was sad having to leave, really looking forward to returning.
Mike Foxtrot
Mike Foxtrot
20:43 01 Nov 17
great staff and lovely acommadations right beside sea.
liam gray
liam gray
00:15 20 Oct 17
Good place to camp, 10 euros a night, 2 euros shower, nice kitchen
Javier Garside
Javier Garside
10:36 25 Aug 17
A must-try experience on Inishmore. Amazing setting and fun design.
Matt Finn
Matt Finn
02:58 08 Aug 17
Free entry to Dun Aonghasa fort offered with stay. Brand new and excellent facilities at time of writing, great location for Kilronan with beach on the doorstep. Only downside was expensive (€2) shower tokens and painfully scalding water from the showers (solar heated, very hot day)! Otherwise excellent.
Daniel Keeling
Daniel Keeling
23:20 11 Jul 17
We stayed at Aran Camping Glamping over the weekend and found it a superb place for a break. The Units are tastefully designed and very clean. The water in the shower was hot, the kitchen room spacious, and it was close enough to the main village. Will definitely return!!
Ciara Duffy
Ciara Duffy
13:40 27 Feb 17

Aran Camping Glamping is conveniently located in the center of The Wild Atlantic Way. It is accessible from both Doolin (The Cliffs of Moher) and Rossaveal (Galway / Connemara).
Sligo Galway  -  Connemara -  Doolin -  Cork

The combination of fantastic Aran Islands self-catering Glamping and Camping accommodation, numerous outdoor activities and famous Irish hospitality makes Aran Camping & Glamping the perfect choice for a short break, corporate day out or simply a family holiday to remember on the Aran Islands.

Aran Camping & Glamping, Frenchman's Beach, Inis Mor, The Aran Islands, Co. Galway, Ireland.

Tel: +33(0)86 189 5823
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