A travel blog of Ireland, Europe, and New Zealand

Inis Oirr

In all the excitement of the last couple of weeks, I have completely forgotten to add posts for two of our Galway experiences, so here they come. The first of these was a visit to Inis Oirr.

Inis Oirr is the smallest of a group of three islands off the west coast of Ireland called the Aran Islands. It is mostly low-lying and exposed to Atlantic storms but we were lucky enough to visit on a day which had some sun (there was cloud and rain as well but it cleared up as the day progressed).

Inis07 Inis09

The island is very stony but the islanders have made a virtue of necessity and arranged the stones into fences and in some cases, houses. In the next photo, do you see the little black ‘bump’ at the end of the island, just before you hit the sea? This was a form of navigation. Sailors took a sighting from this and against another tall stone construction on the island, and this let them know they were in line for the harbour. Of course, there were many tragedies as well in the traditional curraghs (boats made of canvas and tar) that the fishermen used. It was said that the islanders deliberately did not learn to swim – the sea was too cold for them to survive for long so they thought a quick drowning was preferable. A plaque in a photo below commemorates just one such case.


Inis01 Inis04

Inis15Walking around the island is easy but you can also go by horse and cart, which is a good pace to proceed at, down some very narrow lanes.

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Strangely, just as we were to find a castle in Kilkenny owned by Bruce family cousins by marriage, we found another one here with cuzzy connections, this time it was the 14th century O’Brien’s Castle. Although they only owned it for a couple of hundred years and then the O’Flaherty mob took it from them by force.

Inis08 Inis10This is the island that appears in the beginning credits for TV’s Father Ted and we were able to walk right past the shipwreck that features in the opening seconds. We thought we saw Mrs Doyle in the distance, but couldn’t be sure.

Inis03The stones define this island and some speak their stories very eloquently.

Inis11 Inis12We end with a slightly bizarre find in a garden shed just up from the beach – Man of Aran fudge. Well, we can say that we have tasted fudge all over the world and we have never come across any as good as this, ever. Chatting with the shopkeeper, we were delighted to find out that his cousin has another stall in St George’s arcade in Dublin, so we have subsequently beaten a path to it, and will continue doing so, we think. The choc-orange is possibly our favourite although there are many good flavours.


The other notable local product, of course, is the Aran sweater with its chunky style of knitting. We had already purchased one each, doing the touristy thing early in our time in Dublin, so did not follow up with the little craft cottages on the island.

6 thoughts on “Inis Oirr

    1. Bruce Post author

      Thanks Moira. I’m enjoying your Facebook photos, particularly the sunsets. No need for you to travel to get the good views!

  1. MEL

    It’s amazing to think how hard the islanders must have worked to pick up the stones and make the fences and houses. Back breaking work.

    Love the sound of the fudge ! I live at the same address and will expect 6 kilos to be delivered toot de sweet !!!

    Again… wonderful photos thanks Bruce.Go quickly to somewhere else for more !

    1. Bruce Post author

      Oh yes, plenty more in the pipeline for your delectation! Next up will be the Cliffs of Moher and then at least a couple of posts on Porto, one of the most photogenic cities we have been to.

  2. Hewitt Harrison

    Didn’t make it to the Aran isles when I last visited Ireland – but I do recall walking along those massive cliffs that you found some ‘ants’ inhabiting!! As always great photos . . . There is something really special about the Ireland landscape.

    1. Bruce Post author

      Yes, you’re right about the Irish landscape. A joy to photograph. It’s the light, too, I think.

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