Day 4 – Galway (The Aran Islands)

I have no idea how to even begin this blog post because I have no words. I cannot convey the beauty and wonder that I witnessed today in seeing nature meet man-made ancient architecture. So I will start at the beginning and see how it goes.

We woke up early to shower and partake in breakfast. Larry served us pancakes this morning which were delicious. We also had toast and jam. I have no idea what type of jam we had but it was bursting with wonderful flavour. We had to wake up so early because we needed to catch a plane to Inis Mor (the largest of the Aran Islands). We had decided on the plane for two reasons, the time we saved and the price wasn’t bad. We grabbed a bus from the city centre, which was included in the price we paid for the flight, which took us to the airport and then we got on the plane and presto we were on the Island. The plane was the smallest I have ever been in but I highly recommend this method to get as much time on the Island as you can.

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The plane seats 10 people including the pilot

Once we got to the Island we took a bus into the main village and walked around for a bit. We decided on getting on one of the hop on, hop off bus tours that take you around the Island. This was the best decision for us. (If you are up for it you can also rent a bicycle and cycle around the Island, I personally can’t ride a bike so that option was out.) Our tour guide was absolutely amazing! His name is Bertie Mullen and his bus says Discover Aran Tours. There is a sign on the bus and on his card saying he is the number 1 tour guide, at first we thought that was just words but after experiencing his style I would have to say it was absolute truth. He had just the right amount of information, humour, and personal anecdotes to make the experience something very special.

He took us to many different parts of the Island. Enjoy some of the pictures I took throughout the day:

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An old castle on the Island, weddings are still held here. If you want to have an Irish wedding look into the Aran Islands.
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A Beautiful meld of green and blue
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SEALS! We were far away but you can see them in this shot.

 

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Panoramic view of one of the beaches
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The Seven Churches, so names because there were 7 Romans on the Island when they were built. This historic site is still a functioning cemetery. It was a quite, thoughtful exploration which I hope conveyed my respect.
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This donkey loves Bertie, it was really adorable.
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See the lighthouse in the distance

I have a tun more pictures from the tour but the real beauty came with our last stop, Dun Aonghasa. On the 300 ft cliff side overlooking the Atlantic you will find this historic fort. It was a bit of a hike up and there is a small admission fee but my God it was worth it. We were very lucky with the amazing weather we had for this excursion. The pictures do not do it justice, not even a modicum, but here are some anyway.

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Panoramic from inside the first wall of the fort
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Panoramic from the edge inside the second wall of the fort
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The edge of the cliff
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Proof that we were there, thank you fellow traveler for taking the photo

I could have stayed up there all day. It was awe-inspiring. Seeing the power of nature and the impact of humankind. You could see clear to the mountains on the mainland. The colours were vibrant and wonderful. The sun was warmth and light and idyllic. We sat there, soaking in the energy of this wondrous place. If you ever get the opportunity to sit on the edge of a cliff and contemplate the world do not pass it up. It was an experience unlike anything I have encountered before. I have no words.

I wish that we could have stayed longer but we needed to catch the bus back into town to make sure we made our flight. We made it back to the main village with time to spare so we had a pint by the water. It was a perfect way to end our time on the Island and a great opportunity to soak in the experience we just had.

I would love to end this blog here but the day was not yet over. We relaxed at the B&B for a bit and then we went for dinner. We got a chance to explore a bit of the city while we were deciding on a restaurant and I am certain that Gallway is the city of music. There was live performances on the street everywhere you looked and they were all fantastic. I wish I had pictures but I was having some phone difficulties and low battery.

We ended up having dinner at a place called The Front Door Pub, we were intrigued by the Whiskey Bar. We ended up having their featured whiskey, a ten year old single-malt called Gallway Bay, which was lovely. It took a while but it was our first whiskey in Ireland! Another thing accomplished. I also had the Shepard’s Pie which was delicious! I definitely recommend this meal at this establishment. I couldn’t resist taking this picture:

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The Front Door’s Shepard’s Pie

We ended our night once more at The Spanish Arch for some live music and a pint. Once again the place was packed and the music was fantastic! If you are in Gallway don’t miss out on this place.

That’s all for now. We are currently en route to Cork, our last Irish City before heading to the UK.

Until next time!

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Taking in the wonder

Much love,

~Sara D’Agostino

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