Aran Islands

29.08.2006 Aran Islands and a green face
For today we have booked a boat or a ship. Difficult to say where the borderline is. Anyway this vessel shall bring us to the well known Aran Islands. But the passage is not from Galway from where it would take 3 hours but from Rossaveal (Ros a´ Mhil). To Rossaveal its about an hour because the road is narrow and the traffic heavy. Further the road signs are wrong again. First the name Spiddal then its missing. Therefore navigation by sense. It works out and we reach the parking lot in due time.

die Aran Ferries

But it really staggers. The problem is we drive parallel to the waves. Nicole recognizes this and before worse happens she takes a sea sickness pill. Things improve a little. But somehow we wait that this up and down comes to an end. After 45 min its over then.

With wobbly knees most passengers enter solid ground. Surprisingly how fast they move away from the ship. Anyway all of them will have to take the boat back. Except they settle here or they fly back (no alternative with these planes). We begin slowly, actually we are hungry. But directly at the harbor there is nothing and we have a program for today anyway.

Nicole glücklich am Hafen
der Fahrradverleiher
Sackgasse und Fährhafen

We have booked http://www.aranislandferries.com/ which shall have the most up to date vessels. The boat actually is relatively new and at first while we are covered by the Cape the waves are endurable. But then the Captain increases speed and the waves of the Atlantic crash unchecked against the sides. The stabilizers work heavily and so do the stomachs of some passengers. The first among them become green in the face and haste to the toilets.

Hafen auf Aran (Inishmore)
Stop - Katze auf Inishmore

At the pier we are being ambushed by some tourist services who offer to drive us with buses to the sightseeing places. Alternatively bicycle renters offer bikes. At the beginning it feels very hectically. We walk first a few meters and decide then after the reading of the travel guide that the bike is the appropriate vehicle here.

Therefore we go to the rental shop. 10 Euro a day is the common rate. We can chose the bike ourselves. All average but good for use anyway. Up on the saddle and uphill. The destination is a stone age fort in the rear of the Island. No problem, isn’t it, the Island is only 14 km long and the harbor is right in the middle.

Inishmore alte Kirchenruine

The Aran Islands (ir.Oileáin Árann) are a archipelago situated in front of the West coast of Ireland and the Galway Bay. They are accessible by ferry from Galway, Rossaveal or Doolin . Further there are flights form the Aer Arann vom Connemara Airport to the Island of Inishmore.
The barren Limestone Islands are geologically the continuation of the Burren and are named
Inishmore (Irish: Árainn or Inish Mór), Inishmaan (Inis Meáin) and Inisheer (Inis Oírr resp. Inis Oirtheach). The largest, Inishmore, is 13 km long and 3 km wide, where the villages Kilronan (Cill Rónáin)  and Kilmurvy (Cill Mhuirbhigh ) are located.

Fahrräder auf Inishmore

However its still uphill. And Nicole’s circulation is not at its best. Therefore we wheel the cycles occasionally. It gets critical when we turn off in direction to the lighthouse, located on the highest point of the Island. On the top Nicole has the healthy color of a ripe tomato and blows like a walrus. So we rather stop for a moment and enjoy the view. We got something to drink with us, but food would be much better at the moment. But there is nothing in sight. So we proceed on a bumpy path.

Peter hoch zu Rad
Häuser auf Inishmore
die vielen Mäuerchen

Inishmore (Árainn, Árainn Mhór or Inis Mór) is an Island of the Republic of Ireland. She belongs to the Aran Islands and is the largest and westernmost Island of the archipelago in the Bay of Galway. She is about 14 km long and 3 km wide. The population is 1.218 (2006). The isle is known as stronghold of the Irish language and culture as well as her wealth of pre and early Christian sites.
Inishmore is a favored place for tourists which travel the island by bike, bus or carriage. Main village is
Kilronan, where  the ferry harbor is located too.

Nicole oben und ausser Puste
Steine wie im Burren

This paths ends into a better bicycle road. Here we see many of the typical low walls and partially rocks as in the Burren shine through.
In a village at a narrow point of the Island the path ends and we have a solid road in front of us. The road leads - uphill- to Dun Aonghasa, a stone age fort.

Inishmore Panorama

What is even better at the foot of the hill (will these hills never end?) is a visitor center and something to eat. A sandwich and a coke later I feel really good, but Nicole is still suffering a little bit. But we climb up on the hill, cautious and slow to avoid a second red face. On the top we first enter the exterior ring of the fortification. Right at the front there is access to the cliffs. These are at least 100m high and vertically dropping. I get closer only on the belly.

Dun Aonghasa
Peter wieder auf dem Bauch Nicole hat wieder Hunger

Others do likewise in groups. One should not trip here. Through a stone gate we enter the inner fort. A great achievement to have all these stoned towered. It is disputed whether the fort was once round and part of it felt into the sea, or if the cliff was deliberately part of the original plan. At least it was easy defended - and Nicole finally got appetite

die Klippen von Dun Aonghasa Alter Seemann mit Schifferklavier alle Mann/Frau auf den Bauch..
Dun Aengus

Downhill we get some really nice views on the Eastern part of the Island. Then its saddling the bikes again. The way back is much more comfortable as we choose the flatter route, along meadows and old houses. Back at the harbor, we drop the bikes and receive the guarantee funds back (20 EUR) Now we have some money, because there is no ATM on the Island. Now we browse through the famous Aran Island pullover shops which are several at the harbor.

Nicole radelt zurück
Aran Pullover

These pullovers, famous for their patterns are interesting but they are hard like a plank, smell after sheep and scratch already at the first touch. Further some of the wool models are rather outdated: So even a price of 39 EUR (basically OK for wool) cannot convince us to buy one. So we don´t get a warming pullover instead we prefer a cold coke before we reboard the ship. This time its an older and smaller vessel, but the captain drives more careful and avoids the highest waves.

Fischladen
Geil was? wilde Natur - Inishmore
Wellen des Atlantik...

And I go on the upper deck. Rather spray in the face and watching what happens than in the belly of the boat. But the way back is more at ease. Back in Rossaveal we drive directly back to Galway. The food issue is solved as yesterday, we prefer supermarket to fast food. And so I buy a small chicken. Fortunately because it seems as if the small bird got some doping. Its enough for two and its a feasts in the hotel room but with delay. Caused by the rush hour we can´t leave the parking lot of the mall for about half an hour. Very stupid this traffic concept. That’s a beer.. or two or three.. Good Nite folks and lets see what tomorrow brings.
KM: 87
Hotel: Travelodge

Irland
Galway

now there is savage landscape.....

Connemara