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I wanna take you to the Island ..... well 3 of them!

Arranmore, Donegal

This island encapsulates the Wild Atlantic Way with the most spectacular views along with a wide variety of marine and bird life.

This was a day trip for us and had only 1 thing in mind. Fell in love with this image so had to go get it. All I knew is that it was next to a lighthouse on the island.

 

There are 2 ferry companies operating from Burtonport, Co. Donegal with plenty of departures so we just went with the company that suited our time best to depart and return.

When we got there just a 15 minute ferry journey, the plan was to rent a bike. The company was easily located less than a 5 min walk from the ferry port. https://www.facebook.com/grassroutesarainnmhor/

So determined I was to cycle up the hills “SNAP”, the chain broke! Luckily this was not an issue as had the contact bike hire number and they were on hand with a new bike before I knew it.  We were given instructions how to get to the lighthouse and made our way. This was a lovely pleasant cycle although there were some hills. The scenery was breath-taking so a couple of stops to take pictures was very welcome.

Hopped the gate at the lighthouse for a look about but had to dash away not long after as seen people inside a house next to it. We later discovered the light house dwelling is on Air B&B.

To get to the steps, we had to follow the wall from the lighthouse. The track was broken yet magical… a few minutes later we were there at the top of the steps looking at the amazing sea below. Following down to the bottom steps all I could think about was doing a return journey and bringing togs to swim there. It looked like there was a cave or sea arch below. Definitely worth exploring more. Plus there would have to be relatively no swell as too dangerous.

The day trip concluded visiting a few local bars on the island. Also good to note there is plenty of accommodation too.

See the Instagram story here: https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/17947940029166320/
See more on Arranmore Island here: http://www.arainnmhor.com/

 

Inis Mor, Galway

This was very exciting as one can access the island by plane or boat. I had to do both!

Booked the 8 minute flight over with Aer Arann Islands: https://aerarannislands.ie/ for only €25 one way and then booked a ferry back the next day for just €15 here: http://www.aranislandferries.com/
It is also possible also to book the onward bus to Galway for €5 or in my case back to Connemara airport. It drops you about a kilometre from the airport but it’s a nice quiet downhill track.

Inis Mor was buzzing. Checked into a local B&B of which there are plenty on the island, hotels too and even some really cool Glamping Pods. These were unfortunately unavailable but definitely want to try these on my return visit.

The main village area is Kilronan a few bars and restaurants too. Lots of outdoor seating to take in the sea views if weather is favourable.  Right in the village centre is also bike rental shop charged at €10 a bike. We were also given a map of the islands and recommended places to visit. The main attraction is Dun Aonghesa : this is a

Another attraction that was on my bucket list was Pol na BPeiste, this is where the Red Bull diving takes place. It’s an amazing site and would have got much closer as in take a dip only for the tide was in and not really accessible. It was difficult to find as it is not signposted but I knew the general direction from the map and just chanced crossing some farmer’s fields to get to the coast. Other people were also in the vicinity looking for this magical natural site.

The cycle wasn’t too strenuous and passed out a horse and cart on occasion. As we got the bikes later in the afternoon we were allowed to hang on to them overnight to use the next morning too.

It was next time for dinner and was recommend the Bay View Restaurant for dining. It did not disappoint. I had the vegetarian lasagne which was the best I ever had and enjoyed some organic red wine too.

The next morning we cycled over to admire the glamping pods, then check out the local Aran knitwear shop. There was also a shop with local giftware cosmetics and more importantly coffee and cake. 

Soon after, it was time to return the bikes and aboard the ferry for the short trip across the water. There is so much more to do on the island and heard the same is for the  neighbouring islands of Inisheer & Inishmann yet on a smaller scale. Hope to visit these soon.
Slán go fóill

 

Clare Island, Co. Mayo

The main reason to visit this island was to climb the 462m Knockmore Mountain.  This was going to be a day trip so we took the morning ferry and back then in the evening. Checking their website (as we got a group deal) the ferry cost €17 but you get 10% off if booked online. The crossing is a little over 20 minutes. 

On arrival standing proud is a large stone tower which served as Granuaile’s castle. Due to its strategic location the castle was vital in controlling the waters of Clew Bay. It was built in the 16th century and considered to be a fine example of a tower house.

The walk started following a paved route towards the direction of the lighthouse. This was a great stopping point to admire the views and ponder what it would be like to stay the night there.  Apparently, the accommodation is part of Ireland’s Blue Book places to stay.

 

Onwards over the grassy hills along by the coast was just magnificent. The views here were breath-taking, also breath taking was the steep ascent to the hill top. It was one of those mountains that you think you are on the top but there is more to go. Lunch on top here was fab and a quick descent because now on this warm day the local pub was calling. Food options were available in the Community centre/bar which we went to but decided to go for liquid refreshments only. 

Cars on the island were very old, I felt as if my 08 car would have been like a Lamborghini on the island. The people on the island were very friendly especially the crew on the ferry back who were only very happy to tell us all the island tales from Wi-Fi to house prices etc. Go see for yourself!

See our Instagram story here: https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/18044013907120639/
See more on Clare Island here: http://www.clareisland.ie/