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Ireland Glamping » About Inis Mor – The Aran Islands

About Inis Mor – The Aran Islands

Inis Mor is the largest of the three Aran Islands, which are situated off the west coast of Ireland. A haven of traditional Irish culture and tradition, the permanent residents of the island number around 900 people.

The Inis Mor landscape has been largely shaped both by the climate which has weathered the limestone rock over the millenia, and by generations of human settlement which stretches back at least 5000 years. Fertile fields are bordered by dry stone walls, curiously shaped rocks and natural phenomena sit in harmony with prehistoric forts, and the remains of centuries old churches and other dwellings can be found on hills and along remote paths.

Visitors spend time on Inis Mor for many reasons. Nature lovers embrace the opportunity to get away from it all, artistic types come for inspiration, day trippers visit the main attractions such as Dun Aengus, and people interested in Irish culture and traditions seek out authentic experiences.

 For the main attractions on Inis Mor , click here >.

Below are some of the charactoristics of Inis Mor
(click on the title to reveal the information)

Traditional Island Music, Song and Dance

Traditional Ireland is alive and well on Inis Mor, and this is most noticeably showcased by the live music and song and dance held in the pubs virtually every night. No holiday in Inis Mor is complete without spending a night in one of the pubs, getting into the party spirit as live music is playing in the background. Set and Céilí dancing can also be seen either in the pubs or at the various festivals which are held throughout the year. Budding musicians may be able to pick up music lessons during the winter months.

The Aran Sweater

The Aran Sweater

The Aran Islands most famous ‘export’ is the Aran Sweater. These hardy sweaters were popular items of clothing amongst the fishermen on the west coast of Ireland, and today, are something of a fashion statement. Aran sweaters have a number of distinguishing features, such as the inclusion of complex stitched patterns. Inis Mor has an interesting museum area in the Aran Sweater Store which covers some of the history behind them, although we will include some brief information on Aran sweaters below.

Material Used in Aran Sweaters

The original Aran sweaters were hand knitted, using unscoured wool. As this wool kept its natural oils, the sweater had an element of water resistance which made them extremely popular with the fishermen who might spend hours, days, or even weeks at sea. Aran sweaters were originally knitted by the fishermen’s wives.

Patterns in Aran Sweaters

Aran sweaters, or ‘geansai’, as they are known locally, always feature textured, stitched patterns. These patterns normally run down the sweater from top to bottom in a 2-4 inch stripe. Some patterns also go down the sleeves as well, and there is an element of symmetry involved. Over time, these patterns have also become used on other Irish knitwear such as socks and hats.

Some of the patterns have symbolic meaning, whether religious, a reflection of daily life, practical, or perhaps signifying which clan the wearer belongs to. Some common symbols found on stitch patterns on Aran sweaters include a ‘cable’ for fishermen which symbolises hard work and good luck, a ‘diamond’ for wishes of wealth, a ‘honeycomb’ for hard work, and a ‘basket’ for a plentiful catch. Stitch patterns are also said to take their influence from the artwork of stone workers dating back to the neolithic age.

Aran Sweaters Then and Now

In the past, Aran sweaters were hand-knitted, normally by the wives of the men who would wear them. This is a time consuming process, and one which is largely impractical for making Aran sweaters more widely available. Today, most of the Aran sweaters sold are machine knitted, although the careful observer will notice that the patterns on the garments are less intricate. Sweaters produced on a hand loom although more expensive, are of higher quality and have the intricate stitch work for which Aran sweaters are so famed. Hand knitted sweaters are a premium product with a higher price, but one certainly worth paying as a hand knitted Aran sweater will literally last a lifetime.

Island History

Megalithic- Stone Age Aran Islands

It is thought that the islands were first populated a little over 5000 years ago by people who would have reached them by boat from the Irish mainland. Whilst the landscape must have looked very harsh and unforgiving, it was also a large resource for a megalithic culture well versed in working with stone. A number of Megalithic monuments and remains date back to this time, including a wedge tomb at Corrúch in Inis Mór from 2500 BC. This huge stone structure may have been used as a ritual centre as well as a burial site, and similar examples from the same period can be found in other places in Ireland, particularly around Munster. There are two other wedge tombs on Inis Mór at Eochaill and Fearann an Choirce

Bronze and Iron Age Aran Islands

The second phase of development on the Aran Islands takes place as the people begin to create objects made in bronze, and lasts from between 1500 BC and 500 BC. The people had lost none of their stone working ability though, and it is thought that during this time, the impressive fortress of Dun Aengus was first constructed. The Iron Age soon followed, and more forts were constructed, although unlike the cliff side semicircular forts, the Iron Age forts were circular.

Stone Forts of the Aran Islands

The most well known stone forts on Inis Mor are Dun Aengus and the Black Fort, both of which date from around 1100 BC. Recent research has started to question whether these forts had another, perhaps more important ritualistic purpose. Certainly, in terms of pure defence, their precarious position with an open side to a cliff edge would have meant it would be a defensive position of last resort. Regardless though, these two forts are magnificent examples of their kind, and should be visited when spending time on Inis Mor.

Island Daily Life

Fishing has always been an important part of island life, and it still is to this very day. This takes place in smaller offshore boats, as well as larger trawlers which take to sea for weeks at a time. Farming is of course another important part of life on the island. The third main industry on Inis Mor is tourism, and arguably this has been in existence since the early Christian times, when places on Inis Mor formed part of a pilgrimage trail.

Today, tourism comes in the form of mainly daytrippers who visit Inis Mor from the mainland, and holidaymakers keen to spend a few days in this most special of the Irish islands. People wanting to spend longer on Inis Mor should contact Aran Camping and Glamping and enquire about staying in one of the new glamping pods.

Aran Islands and Inis Mor in Print and Film

People have been visiting the Aran islands for centuries in search of artistic inspiration. Films and books have been produced on the islands as well as featuring them. Inis Mor is also home to a number of resident poets, writers and artists.

Man of Aran Film

This fictional documentary from 1934 blends together real scenes from daily life on the island with a few fictional liberties. It beautifully showcases the raw power of the island’s natural beauty, with the stunning scenery being ever present.

Inis Mor Writers

For a small island, Inis Mor has a disproportionate number of influential writers. Máirtín Ó Direáin, a leading Irish language poet of the 20th century was born and raised in the village of Sruthán on Inis Mór. Liam O Flaherty, renowned as a bilingual novelist and short story writer heralded from the village of Gort na gCapall in Inis Mór, and Darach Ó Chonghaile was born on Inis Meáin and now lives in Inis Oírr.

Books about the Aran Islands and Inis Mor

A number of very interesting books have also been written about the Aran Islands and Inis Mor in particular. These books fall under several different themes, whether they are people sharing their personal experiences, writers documenting the different folk stories of the islanders, or books that simply feature the islands as a backdrop for their stories. Some of the most interesting books about the Aran islands include:

The Aran Islands by J.M. Synge – Written over a century ago, it’s an awe-inspiring book that mixes the writer’s observations of life on the islands with his own experiences. Still a very good read even today.

Stones of Aran by Tim Robinson – Two volumes which uniquely combine nature and culture, written by an author who moved to the island.

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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
Email: arancampingglamping@gmail.com

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