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Aran Islands 
 
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The Aran Islands are a group of three islands located at the mouth of Galway Bay off the west coast of Ireland.
The largest island is Inishmore also known as Aranmore. The middle and second-largest is Inishmaan and the smallest and most eastern is Inisheer. Irish is a spoken language on all three islands, and is the language used for the names of the islands and many of the island's villages and place names.
 
Map of Aran Islands county Galway Ireland The cliffs on Inishmore Aran Islands County Galway Ireland
 
Approximately 14 kms (8.7 miles) in length and 3.8 kms(2.4 miles) in width, Inishmore is a walker's paradise. Feel the peace and listen to the silence, between sea and sky, on craggy cliffs or all along a quiet, indented coastline. Aran has an abundance of wildlife and some 437 varieties of wild flowers. If pedalling is your pleasure hire a bike in Kilronan village and meander at will around this lovely island or take a pony and trap, or a guided tour with a modern minibus, from the pier.

Visiting Aran
You can travel to Aran by ferry boat, directly from Galway City Dockside (90 minutes), Ros a Mhil (Rossaveal) in Connemara (35 / 40 mins), Doolin in Co. Clare (20 mins) or by air from Indreabhan (Inverin) under 10 mins.
You can cycle or see Aran on horseback along the pathways of history on this unique island. Swim in unpolluted seas, study rare flowers and wildlife, write, paint, take pictures, fish for a specimen or just relax, unwind and learn spoken Irish in this bilingual community. And when the Celtic twilight comes, drop in for a quiet pint, or enjoy a wealth of Irish music and dance, at a village or spontaneous session in an Island pub.
 
Dun Aengus on Inishmore, Aran Islands Galway Bay Ireland Aran Sweaters from Aran Islands Galway Ireland
 
Dun Aengus
Dun Aengus is a fort situated on the edge of a cliff at a height of 100 meters overlooking the Atlantic on the Aran Islands, Inishmore, County Galway. It consists of a series of concentric circular walls, the innermost; the citadel encloses an area approximately 50 meters in diameter with 4m thick walls of stone. These walls have been rebuilt to a height of 6m and have wall walks, chambers, and flights of stairs as well. Two walls of stone that form semicircles from one cliff edge to the other surround it. The innermost of these two walls encloses an area approximately 130m by 100m, and the outer wall encloses about 400m by 200m. (Flanagan 1992) Between the two "outer walls" is a small enclosure that extends as if an extension to the first wall. The restored walls are likely noticeable because of the use of mortar. The original walls were of dry stone construction. In all the enclosed area is comprised of approximately 14 acres.

Aran Sweaters
The Aran sweater first began to emerge in the early part of the twentieth century. The events from which the modern Aran arose from the ashes of earlier and less intricate designs are often debated, but it is reasonable to assume that at least one circumstance had a profound effect on the Aran's evolution. Aran women had always been knitting fisherman's jerseys, or 'ganseys', as islanders call them, to help their husbands and families weather the often-treacherous island conditions. However, during the last decade of the 19th century a government motion to improve the economic livelihood of densely populated rural areas began setting up lacemaking, knitting, and crochet schools around the country. It is reported that artisans were sent from these schools during the last years of the 19th century to teach Aran women how to knit intricate patterns. In the years to follow the women of Aran combined their new skills, artistic brilliance, and the traditions of life upon the sea to create the sweaters we know today. Indeed, the very story of our lives is woven into the sweater - every stitch has a meaning. For instance, there is the 'Ladder of Life' stitch, which symbolizes the pilgrimage to happiness, the 'Tree of Life' which grants good luck to its wearer, and even the stitch of 'Marriage Lines' with zigzags that represent the ups and downs of married life.

Aran Heritage Centre
A guided tour through the Centre will take you back more than two thousand years in the life and times of the Aran Islands. Vivid exhibitions here will introduce you to the landscape, traditions and culture of these harsh, yet beautiful Atlantic Isles.
The Centre is some three minutes walk from the village of Kilronan. Step up from the Ferryboat or the village and step into the essential Arainn, a window into the lives and times of a resilient people. The Aran Centre vividly reveals the art of curragh making (traditional island boat). Fishing helped the Aran Islanders of past generations eke out a precarious living. The displays show how the bare limestone was literally the bedrock on which they laid down layers of sand, seaweed, and precious soil to nurture their tender crops.

Famous People
 
Liam Ó'Flaherty
was born in 1897 in gGort na gCapall on the South coast of Aran. He fought in the First World War and later spent several years travelling the world before he published his first novel, Thy Neighbours Wife in 1923. His short stories in both Irish & English are often based on beautifully captured moments in the lives of the people, the animals and the elements of Aran.

Máirtín O'Díreáin has been called "Ireland's unacknowledged poet Laureate". He was born in 1910 in Sruthán but left to work in Galway in 1928. His poems, most of which were inspired by life on Aran were all written in Irish, but many have been translated into English.

 

 

 
Towns & Localities in County Galway

 Aran Islands | Athenry | Ballinasloe | Ballygar | Barna | Carna | Carraroe | Claregalway | Clarinbridge | Clifden | Clonbur | Corofin
Connemara | Corrandulla | Dunmore | Galway City | Glenamaddy | Gort | Headford | Kinvara | Leenane | Loughrea | Milltown | Monivea
 Mountbellew | Moycullen | Oranmore | Oughterard | Portumna | Renvyle | Salthill | Spiddal | Tuam | Turloughmore | Williamstown
 

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