The Aran Islands were once part of a craggy ridge of limestone that extended from the Burren in County Clare. Worn down by fierce storms over millions of years, its three small islands are slowly, steadily being eroded into the sea.
The islands are one of the few remaining “Gaeltachts” where Irish remains the primary language. Islanders today lead very modern lives, but they maintain many traditions and remain connected to the land and sea on a level to which few “mainland” people can relate.
They are fiercely proud of their ancient heritage and work hard to ensure the future of their Irish-speaking community. All aspects of Irish culture is cherished by the islanders, especially since the establishment of Radio na Gaeltachta (the designated Irish language radio channel).
Tourism has become a vital source of revenue, but fishing and agriculture still provide an income for many families.
The sounds between the islands are about 1.5 miles wide, and 10 – 12 miles separates Inis Mór from Connemara. Only 6 miles separates Inis Oírr from Doolin, Co. Clare.
Stone Forts on the Aran Islands
There are seven stone forts on the Aran Islands; four on Inis Mór, two on Inis Meáin and one on Inis Oírr.
The word “Dún” is part of the name of all the forts, which means the fort of a king or chieftain. The most famous is Dún Aengus on Inis Mór.
Find out more about this fort on our Doolin2Aran Ferries blog.