Here’s our #1 Irish Travel Tip – go to the Islands. Yes, we know Ireland IS an island, its the Emerald Isle…. But our little Irish travel secret is this: the outlying western Aran Islands, Clare Island and Inishbofin are spectacular, fantastic for exploring, with surprisingly better weather than mainland Ireland.
These west coast Irish islands, easily reached by half hour ferries from Rosavil, Cleggan and Roonaugh in Connemara, you get a great scenic boat ride and then you have the day to tour narrow winding roads surrounded by natural beauty and bountiful Atlantic Ocean and bay views. These islands are extremely pretty and peaceful, part of Ireland highly scenic Wild Atlantic Way, with only occasional cars and a random tractor trailers, making it much safer to walk and bike, and more relaxed than Ireland’s mainland.
Islanders are unbelievably authentic and proud people – happy to share stories, legends and lore of their beloved Irish islands, their clan, and centuries of history, tragedy and triumph that have bestowed the rugged landscape and the loyal families that reside, endure and thrive here year-round.
Stay the night, and sleep on island for a truly unique Irish experience. After the last ferries depart, you are left with the spectacular landscape, a sense of solitude and surprising inclusiveness with the locals.
Irish islands have great nightlife, believe it or not, everyone gathers at the local pubs as there’s not much else to do. Have a pint, a big pile of fresh caught mussels or today’s fish, and enjoy the banter and the live music at the pub.
Hotels and BnBs on Ireland’s Islands, The Aran Islands, Clare Island and Inishbofin are pleasant if not luxurious, with Wi-Fi, private rooms with baths, and a delicious Irish breakfast for often less than $100 Euro a night for two. Waking up on the island, you can go exploring – before the first day tourists arrive, with the roads, paths and attractions all to yourself.
See our review of The Aran islands – from smallest to largest – Inis Oirr, Inis Meain, and Inis More, Inishbofin, and Clare Island. We have yet to explore all the islands in Ireland, let us know if you discover a magical Irish isle.
“You haven’t seen it all yet, there’s so much more to explore, never stop exploring!”