TRIP REPORT INDEX
This beautiful island has a wormhole that could be dangerous…if you're not careful.
The Aran Islands is a fantastic day trip that we took from Galway, located on the west coast of Ireland. I highly recommend a visit if you are in the area. Some people booked a guided tour in a mini-bus, but don't be a sissy… rent a bike like we did! There are several sites to see and they are fairly far apart so walking is not a good idea. Some people on Tripadvisor complain about biking up the hills. Yes, the elevation of the road goes up and down, so it is a good workout, but not extreme. Suck it up or just take the bus tour if you really can't handle it!
BOOKING THE TOUR
We booked a full day trip to the Aran Islands via Galway Tour Company for 32€ per person. They have 2 different locations in town where you can buy the tours or you can book online. This trip only includes round trip transportation from Galway by bus and the Ferry to the Island. The bike rental or tour bus is extra (10€). The bus ride to the ferry terminal takes about 1 hour. The other tour we were seriously considering was Connemara, but we only had time for one tour. We would rather be active than just get on and off a bus with a larger group!
Note: There are 3 islands you can visit. We went to the main and largest island called “Inishmore”. While on the ferry, I was looking at the map and didn't recall seeing any signs before boarding the ferry. Were we on the right boat? Yes…phew. Most people go to Inishmore, the largest island.
Burke's Buke Hire is a smaller and independent bike rental shop on the island. They had the best reviews on Tripadvisor and newer bikes. I would certainly rent from Burke's again! Just 10€ for the entire day (you choose any bike). The shop is a few minutes walk from the ferry drop off point. When you arrive, look to the left across the water and you'll see this shop:
There were beautiful views everywhere… just get off the bike and walk in any direction.
TWO ROADS – WHICH WAY TO GO?
There are two roads you can take – they suggested taking one there and the other back. We did the reverse on accident. The better road to take (and with more interesting places to stop) is the coastal road. The road we took is less scenic and a straight road through the middle of the island. We took the coastal road on the way back but we were rushing because we didn't want to miss the last ferry!
This friendly horse comes to the road looking for some attention as you pass.
We started getting hungry and after asking a few locals, we found the restaurant “Teach Nan Phaidi“. It seems to be the only restaurant on that end of the island. There were only B&Bs out there – no other shops. All the tour groups were stopping here so I expected the food to be terrible. I was wrong. Tripadvisor rates it #1 of 7. Since we had a few hours of biking ahead of us we both got soups with brown bread. They also had many delicious desserts — everything homemade. Everything was good here – and inexpensive. $15 USD for 2 huge soups and a huge carrot cake.
On the way to The Wormhole
The wormhole was the one part of the island I wanted to see most (see the pic at the top of this post). It's a bit of a hike but well worth the effort – part of the fun is finding it. After you find the trail, you'll need to follow red markings on the ground (there are no signs so ask if you see someone leaving). When the bike trail ends, you'll need to walk about 15-20 minutes along the coast. To reach the lower level of the wormhole, about 7 minutes in, you need to walk towards the water instead of continuing to climb up. But…if the waves are crashing, STAY ON THE UPPER LEVEL AND AWAY FROM THE COAST IF YOU VALUE YOUR LIFE! Why? Watch the video below.
I saw some amazing pictures of the water crashing into the wormhole just like in this video by Paul Quigley:
and then I found this video: Earlier this year, a 21 year old girl almost died when she was swept away by the water. (source: The Telegraph)
My Cameras: These photos were taken using my Canon S110 Digital Camera (which has been replaced by the S120) as well as my larger Nikon D50. I love the S110 – it’s tiny, fits in my pocket, and takes amazing pictures/videos.
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