Aran Islands Day Trip: Biking in Inis Mór

We were cooked an earlier than usual breakfast by our innkeepers so we could leave early morning to catch the large ferry that departs for Inishmore. The Aran Island Ferry sails from the port of Ros a' Mhíl, near the city of Galway and takes forty minutes to arrive in Kilronan, Inishmore’s principal town.

The Aran Islands consist of three islands (Inishmore, Inishmaan and Inisheer). Inishmore or Inis Mór is the largest of them all and located nine miles off the western coast of Ireland.

The most visited and famous of the three, Inishmore is renowned for its strong Irish culture and devotion to the Gaelic language.

Biking Our Day Away

At Kilronan, we quickly discovered that there is not much besides a few restaurants, pubs, a wool shop and B&Bs for people who want to stay overnight. Besides stunning coastal views and several prehistoric sites, the rest of the island also claims a striking landscape.

We rented our bikes from one of the numerous shops located near the pier and geared ourselves towards the two roads that cut through the extensive island. There are other options such as vans, taxis and horse carts but biking will give you more freedom to go into more remote areas.

The main/high road goes through the center passing residences, ancient sites and leads to sea cliffs. Running along the coast and fields of stonewalls built by farmers to divide their livestock is the low road.

We opted for the main road since it was the closest to the site we were looking to discover first: The Wormhole.

Finding Poll na bPeist

When people come to Inishmore they head directly to the well-known Dún Aonghasa, a large Iron Age fort. However, what we really wanted to see was the Wormhole (Poll na bPeist) which our innkeeper had told us about, but was never able to personally see it.

This large natural ocean pool appears along the island’s high cliffs and can only be seen during low tide when water is not completely covering it.

Getting to it was tricky because the path is very poorly marked. I would highly suggest getting a map of Inishmore - usually distributed in numbers as you first embark the ferry – and ask a local for instructions.

Located passed a barren, uneven limestone trail filled with loose and jagged rocks, the Wormhole seemed to be man-made as it is a perfectly rectangular shaped hole carved into a flat rocky terrain. 

Surrounded by towering cliffs with the Atlantic Ocean at its edge, it's pool filled up with the ebb and flow of the sea.

The Iconic Cliffs of Dún Aonghasa

After an easy ride along the main road, we reached Dún Aonghasa: One the most popular sights on the whole island.

At the entrance, there is a small café and stores selling wool and gifts. We parked our bikes, grabbed our breath and enjoyed a quick eat from the local bakery. Once ready, we walked up the gravel path until we reached the fort and the cliffs inside.

Enclosed by four concentric stone walls, we relished the best and most complete views of the entire island as the prehistoric fort is perched at the edge of 200 foot cliffs.

Back to the Mainland

We paid close attention to the time to make sure we could bike back to Kilronan in order to catch our evening ferry to Galway. Since we took the center road to the fort, we biked the low/coastal road back to town where we cruised passed a vast patchwork of stonewalls.

We left the island a little tired, yet surprised we only truly explored two of its sights.

We went to Inishmore thinking that we would have enough time to see most things, however, the island’s landmarks and stunning landscapes absorbed our attention where minutes felt like seconds and our day passed by quickly.


How to Get There: If you are heading to Inishmore from Galway or nearby, make sure to depart your hotel early enough in order to beat the traffic that gridlocks the highways around the city. Our ferry left for the island at 10:30am, from the port of Ros a' Mhíl and we boarded it again at Kilronan close to 5:00pm. Visitors are encouraged to arrive at their ferries half an hour before parting time.

- Want to see the full trip and plan your next? Check out our Ireland Two Week Itinerary!