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Hiking the Aran Islands

Galway to Doolin

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The Aran Islands hiking tour encapsulates the highlights of the Islands along the Wild Atlantic Way, you will enter one of the most iconic outposts of Gaelic civilization, an area where Irish is still spoken as the first language of its inhabitants. The islands showcase ancient forts and other relics of pre-history, stunningly high sea cliffs and incredible rugged landscapes.

Spending your first night in Galway City, in the morning you will be transferred to Inishmore the largest of the Aran Islands where you will spend two nights. On your return to the mainland you will have a day trip to Inishmaan and an evening in the coastal village of Doolin, world famous for its traditional Irish music. Your day trip to Inishmaan will allow you to explore the landscape and culture that inspired J.M. Synge to write ‘The Playboy of the Western World’ and ‘Riders of the Sea’. You can visit a museum dedicated to his work.

Walk from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher and back before taking the bus back to lively Galway city, where you will spend your last night.

NOTE: Sometimes due to adverse weather the ferry sailings may be cancelled at short notice. If an extra nights accommodation is required, this will be at your own expense. Ferry tickets are transferable to the next available sailing.

VIEW OUR TOUR OPTIONS

  • The Aran Islands – Short Break:
    • 5 days/4 nights. Depart Galway City for Inishmore, enjoying two nights on the island before returning to Galway City, staying in our selected accommodation along the way.
  • The Aran Islands – Full Walk:
    • 6 days/5 nights. Depart Galway City for Inishmore, enjoying two nights on the island before returning to the mainland via a day trip on Inishmaan. You will have enough time in Doolin to explore The Cliffs of Moher, staying in our selected accommodation along the way.

Trip highlights

  • Stand on top of The Cliffs of Moher
  • Enjoy the 'Craic agus ceol' in one of Doolin's traditional pubs
  • Indulge your senses in one of Galway's famous seafood restaurants
  • Be amazed by the ancient majesty that is the Dun Aengus stone fort

1 Galway

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You will spend your first night in the historic city of Galway on the Wild Atlantic Way. This beautiful city still maintains much of its medieval charm with some it’s ancient city walls still visible, old shop fronts, narrow streets, castles and cathedrals. There is always something to do in Galway with an infectious energy flowing and permeating through the cities narrow streets.

2 Galway to Inishmore - 15km

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3H | +92m / -87m
After breakfast you will be taking the ferry (or you can book a plane if you prefer) to Inishmore. The ferry will take you to Inishmore (‘Inis Mór’ in Irish), the largest and most popular of the three Aran Islands. With a population of approx. 1,000 people spread over four villages, the main hub of activity is centred around the harbour where you land. As you will have two days on Inishmore you will have plenty of time to explore the island at your leisure. You can take a short walk in the afternoon; for instance you can take the 2km trail to Dun Duchathair – the Black Stone Fort – and back. This fort is thought to be the oldest in Aran.

3 Inishmore looped walk - 21km

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7H | +288m / -291m
Waking up on Inishmore in the morning can offer a very relaxed sense of self and affords you plenty of options to see the many points of interest on this tour depending on weather conditions, wind direction and personal preference. Inishmore’s circumference is roughly 30km (depending on roads taken) and with so many places of interest to visit and stunning landscape views to find, it may be worth while renting a bicycle or taking advantage of a horse and carriage tour. Points of interest on this section of the Wild Atlantic Way include the wormhole known as Poll na bPeist (used for the Redbull cliff diving series and ancient church ruins.

4 Inishmore to Doolin via Inishmaan - 12km

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14km | +135m / -134m
This morning you will make your way to the harbour where you can catch the ferry (not included in price) to Inishmaan (leave your luggage on the ferry as it will take you to Doolin in the evening). (‘Inis Meáin’ in Irish), the second largest and most serene of the Aran Islands. Inishmaan has also becoming a destination for scuba diving with its varied marine life and clear waters. Inishmaan was once a retreat for the famous Irish playwright J.M. Synge, The recently restored Teach Synge (‘Synge House’) is a 300 year old thatched cottage that has been converted to a museum showcasing the writers work and is fast becoming a major tourist attraction on Inishmaan. Among his many works are ‘Riders to the Sea’ (1904) and ‘The Playboy of the Western World’ (1907). Also worth visiting is Cathaoir Synge, ‘Synge’s Chair’ a local vantage point with inspirational views of the Atlantic ocean and Aran Islands, it is believed that he would often come here to write. Points of interest on this section of the Wild Atlantic Way include an 8th century ruined church and stunning stained glass window in a local church by Harry Clarke.

5 Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher + Galway - 11km

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3H30 +382m / -366m
Doolin is a beautiful coastal village on the Wild Atlantic Way just few kilometres from the world famous Cliffs of Moher. We suggest that you leave your luggage at your hotel and walk to the Cliffs of Moher and O’ Brian’s Castle (11km one way). You can walk back or take a bus to Doolin (not included). In the evening you will get your bus into Galway City (not included) and your accommodation for the evening.

6 Galway

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After your breakfast your tour with us will finish. Why not talk to our customer service team about arranging an extra nights accommodation in this historic City. This will give you the freedom to wander the city’s cobbled streets, have a picnic in Eyre Square, visit the Galway Museum, exhibiting artefacts of the city’s medieval past and have your picture taken under the Spanish Arch.

Hotels & guest houses have been carefully selected for their location, comfort, character, food, and friendliness of the staff. Accommodation displayed is subject to availability and if the hotel/guest house described is not available, we will provide you with one of the same standard of comfort & price.

Galway City - Standard

Our first choice accommodation is a waterfront location in the heart of Galway, just a stroll from your hotel will take you to the city centre and Eyre Square, including Shop Street and the bustling bars & cafés of Quay Street.

Inishmore - Standard

Our first choice accommodation is a family run hotel, a short stroll from the harbour, restaurants, bars and cafés.

Doolin - Standard

Tonight’s accommodation is a modern hotel in the middle of Doolin, the comfortable rooms are complimented by the attached restaurant, that prides itself on choosing quality locally sourced ingredients.

Aran Islands Average Temperature & Rainfall

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How to Get There

Live information on Rome2Rio. We can also arrange private transfers if you prefer, just ask us.

 

Galway

 

Shannon Airport 85km: 

Bus Éireann | Travel time 1H40 leaving outside the terminal every hour from morning to evening | Fare €23 return approx.

 

Dublin Airport 214km: 

Bus Éireann | Travel time 4H20, outside the main terminal, leaving every 2 hours from mid morning to evening | Fare €19 return approx.

 

Dublin Airport 223km: (Via Dublin City Centre)

Step 1: Dublin Airport to Dublin City Centre | Aircoach | Travel time 0H30, leaving every 15-30min | Fare €6 approx. one way.

OR

Step 1: Dublin Airport to Dublin City Centre | Dublin Bus – Bus No. 747 | Travel time 0H40, leaving every 15min | Fare €6 one way. (NOTE: This bus also stops at Heuston Train Station).

Step 2: Once on O’Connell Street it is a short walk, tram or taxi ride to Heuston Train Station or Busaras Bus Depot.

Step 3: Dublin City Centre (Heuston Train Station) to Galway | Irish Rail | Travel time 2H30, leaving every 2 hours | Fare €25-€30 return approx.

OR

Step 3: Dublin City Centre (Busaras Bus Depot) to Galway | Bus Éireann | Travel time 3H30, leaving every 2 hours from morning to mid day | Fare €22 return approx.

 

Doolin

Doolin to Galway 70km: Bus Éireann | Travel time 2H00 approx, departing every 2 hours approx | Fare €6 one way.

 

More information:

Air Coach – Airport Transfer.

Bus Eireann – Intercity Bus.

Go Bus – Non Stop Bus Service.

Dublin Bus – Dublin City Bus.

Irish Rail – Train.