Fun things to do in Inishmore

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    Aran Heritage Centre

    by pure1942 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Aran Island Heritage Centre (Ionad Arainn) is located just outside Kilronan village. The centre takes visitors through the history, art, culture, music and language of the Aran Islands.
    The centre has a variety of displays and exhibits which shows Aran traditions from currach (traditional boats) and cloth making to the unique geology and rock formations of the islands. For more details on the centre and its exhibits follow the link below.

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    Dun Aonghasa

    by Bilimari Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Dun Aonghasa is an Iron or Bronze age promontory fort with 3 stone walls and a "chevaux-de-frise" consisting of tall blocks of limestone set vertically into the ground.

    We walked narrow rocky road up the hill for about a half mile from the visitor center to the fort. (You have to leave bicycle or car at the visitor center.) It was sunny when we were there, but it rained very hard in the morning, and the ground was really slippery. Bring comfortable walking shoes. I had hiking boots on.

    Once you reach to the fort, you'll see a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean from the cliff. There is no fence stopping you from falling off the cliffs, so be careful.

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    Roadside Monuments

    by pure1942 Written Jun 11, 2009

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    As you walk or cycle around Inis Mor you may notice many stone monuments topped with a small cross located at intervals along the roadside. These monuments are known locally as Leachtai Cuimhe and were erected hundreds of years ago as memorials in commemoration of the dead. The monuments are best seen near Killeany Village at the eastern end of the island but can be seen sporadically all over the island.

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    The Worm Hole

    by pure1942 Written Jun 11, 2009

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    Another strange natural feature and popular attraction for visitors to Inis Mor is the Worm Hole. This completely natural rectangular shaped pool is located on the southern coast of the island close to Dunn Aonghasa. The strange water feature consists of a pool into which the sea ebbs and flow at the bottom of the cliffs. You can reach the worm hole by walking along the cliffs from Dún Aonghasa or from the other side of the worm hole by following the signs from the village of Gort na gCapall.

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    Straw Island Lighthouse

    by pure1942 Written Jun 11, 2009

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    As mentioned earlier, there was a lighthouse constructed on the highest point of Inis Mor, close to the older Signal Tower but this was discontinued due to its poor positioning and lack of visibility for sailors. Two lighthouses replaced this ineffective lighthouse, one on Earrach Island and One on Straw Island at the entrance to Killeany Bay. The short lighthouse, standing at only 11 metres, was made operational at the end of the 19th century and was converted to an automatic electric light house in 1980. The lighthouse with its range of 17 nautical miles, welcomes all visitors by ferry into the harbour of Inis Mor.

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    Kilmurvy Beach

    by pure1942 Written Jun 11, 2009

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    One of the finest of the Aran Island’s beaches is the Blue Flag awarded Kilmurvy beach, just to the north-east of Dun Aonghasa. The clean and unspoilt beach is located in a perfectly sheltered bay and the clean blue water is perfect for a dip...although still a little cold in early June ;)
    The beach and village of Kilmurvy are famous for being the location for the world renowned Irish film/documentasry ‘Man of Aran’ filmed in 1934 on Inis Mór and directed by Robert J. Flaherty. A set of thatched cottages built for the film are located to the west of the beach and now serve as a restaurant and B&B.

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    Limestone Formations

    by pure1942 Written Jun 11, 2009

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    Inis Mór, like all the Aran Islands, is essentially an extension of the Burren in County Clare. The unique rocky landscape and unusual formations are a sight in themselves. The cracked surface of the landscape marks out much of the land in a grid pattern kwon formally as glints and grykes. The clints are the flat blocks of limestone can cover the land while grykes are the deep straight fissures which cut through the clint blocks. The karst limestone landscape of the Aran Islands and The Burren was formed by a Glacier during the Ice-Age which cleared the land of any plant and soil material leaving the bare rock exposed. The grykes between the clints were formed by water cutting through the softer parts of the rock. This process is still ongoing and in many parts of the Burren is dissolving the rock completely.

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    Flora

    by pure1942 Written Jun 11, 2009

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    Many of the unique plant growth witnessed in the Burren can also be found on Inis Mór and the other Aran Islands. The peculiarity of the plant life around these parts of Ireland is that Mediterranean, Arctic, Alpine and Temperate varieties of plants grow together in the one habitat. Nowhere else in the world is this in evidence. Between May and September every year, the otherwise barren landscape of Inis Mór coastal karst region is flooded with colour as these small plants begin to emerge between the grykes of the karst limestone areas and along the dry-stone walls of the island. The usual Irish native flora of harebells, scabious, red clover, oxeye dasies and saxifrage are common as well as the ‘out of place’ Arctic ‘dryas octopetala’ and Alpine ‘gentiana verna’ and ‘Minuartia verna’.

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    Round Tower

    by pure1942 Written Jun 11, 2009

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    All that remains of this once proud round tower on Inis Mór is a 4 metre high stump. The tower was originally 35 metres high but was badly damaged during the island’s occupation by Cromwellian forces. As if this wasn’t enough, the tower was further damaged by a direct lightning strike. The original tower was built in the 9th century.

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    Teampall Bheanáin

    by pure1942 Written Jun 11, 2009

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    This tiny church high on a hill and overlooking Killeany Bay and the villages of Kilronan and Killeany is claimed to be the smallest church in the world at 3.7mX1.8m. The roofless remains of the church are located on the eastern headland of Inis Mor and is a great example of the earliest Christian churches.
    Climbing the hill towards the church you pass a small well and the scant remains of an Irish round tower.

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    Coastal Scenery

    by pure1942 Written Jun 11, 2009

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    A walk along Inis Mor’s rugged coast is a must for anyone with a love for scenic walks and hikes. Some of the Aran Island’s and indeed Ireland’s best coastal scenery can be enjoyed along Inis Mor’s coast. The best places to explore are along the more dramatic cliffs of the southern side of the island. The northern shores are also beautiful but not as dramatic as the rougher and more barren cliffs of the south. The cliffs around Dun Duchathair are also a great place to see the rugged karst landscape and natural stone formations common in the Burren area of Co. Clare on the mainland and all the Aran Islands but rare elsewhere in the world.

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    Clochán na Carraige

    by pure1942 Written Jun 11, 2009

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    One of Ireland’s finest examples of a Clochán can be seen close to the Seven Churches near Kilmurvy Village. A clochán is a small dry-stone hut formerly used by monks as a home. The corbel-roofed structures are very simple one roomed huts with one small window and at Clochán na Carraige you can enter the hut where you will surely realise what a simple and basic lifestyle the monks of the islands had. These stone huts were common all over the western coast of Ireland during early Christian times (5th to 10th century) but the best examples are here on Inis Mor and the other Aran Islands as well as Inishmurray in Sligo and the amazing monastic site on Skellig Mhicíl off the coast of Kerry.

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    Seal Colony

    by pure1942 Written Jun 11, 2009

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    About halfway along the road between Kilronan and Kilmurvy there is a seal colony which have based themselves in a small bay on the northern coast of the island. The colony has grown in recent years and now has approx 20 seals living in the bay. It is only possible to see the colony at low tide, when they come closer to the shore. They don’t often come right up to the rocky shore but can be easily spotted resting on sandbanks in the centre of the bay.

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    Dún Eoghanachta

    by pure1942 Updated Jun 11, 2009

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    Another of Inis Mór’s impressive prehistoric forts is Dún Eoghanachta. This is the least visited of the island’s forts but is easy to get to if you know where to go. On the road leaving Kilmurvy towards Na Seacht dTeampaill you will pass a narrow track leading up to the fort. Look out ofr the large roadside pillar with cross on top. The fort is on the hill behind this monument.
    The fort itself dates from the 1st century BC and has a single stone ring which is terraced inside. There are the remains of three small huts at the site of the fort.

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    Lighthouse

    by pure1942 Written Jun 11, 2009

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    Right beside the Old Signal Tower is the Inis Mor’s Old Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in the early 19th century and began functioning in May 1818. However its working life was short lived due to its poor positioning. Although located on the highest point of the island, the lighthouse was blind to ships in Gregory’s Sound and coming around Earrach Island. New lighthouses were built in Killeaney Bay and Earrach Island and the Old Lighthouse was decommissioned. It served another function as a military post during WWI and WWII but since then has remained largely dormant. Visitors who climb/cycle up to the lighthouse are rewarded with stunning views of the islands, Killeaney Bay and across to the mainland.

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