Day 2: Inishmore – The western side
Distance 16/28 km – Hiking time: 4 – 9 hours – Altitude (↑) 210m
So it should start today! Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands, should be explored. We got up early because we still had to pick up our tickets for the ferry. It was too late for that the day before when we arrived in Galway.
We enjoyed a Full Irish Breakfast with the other guests in a well-equipped breakfast room, grabbed our suitcases and made our way to the Aran Island Ferries office to pick up our ferry tickets. With the tickets in one hand and the suitcase in the other we got something to drink and a snack for in between and went to the bus stop of the Aran Shuttle Bus in Queen Street.
The bus took us along the coastal road to Rossaveel to the Aran Island Ferries Ros a’ Mhil Terminal for about an hour. When we got off, two ferries were already waiting for us and we went on board. Since we were the second to leave, I was able to take a picture of the ferry’s departure – so we didn’t swim afterwards 😉
As we approached the jetty of the island in Kilronan, we saw immediately that the inhabitants of the island like it colorful. Almost every façade glows in a different colour. We waited until the other tourists left on carriages or the bicycle rental companies stormed and started looking for our B&B. The Ti Catherine B&B is located at the edge of the village Kilronan and can be reached by foot from the ferry terminal in 10 minutes. The B&B is beautifully and quietly situated and is still a real insider tip, because you search a website in vain, it is not listed on Google Maps and even a booking via Tripadvisor is difficult. So that you can reach Catherine and her family I give you here the contact data and coordinates.
We moved into our comfortable room and were welcomed with tea and biscuits. Shortly afterwards we put on our hiking boots and set off with the plan and directions of Hillwalk Tours. The fact that we only saw the suggested route of Hillwalk Tours as a rough guide is due to the fact that both of us are easily distracted and hiked cross and cross across the west coast according to the motto “Oh, look here!”, “Ah and there! The points described by Hillwalk Tours that you have to see we all saw anyway – and even more!
Up to this point we followed our route, but then came the rugged Atlantic coast and waves and forgot the beautiful plan.
After we had overcome a big wall of rocks and boulders we stood about 5 meters above the sea level directly at the Atlantic and could not see us at all full. Because we had unbelievably great weather we had almost an hour rest and about 300 photos 😉
After we got away from the sight of the waves we followed the signs to Wormhole. These signposts are not real signs but small, smeared signs arbitrarily distributed on rocks of the area. We entered a kind of moon landscape with surreal hollowed out rock coasts. One already gets a queasy feeling when standing under these overhangs, but we have kept away from them as far as possible and one has not heard the smallest pebble fall.
Now at last we had discovered the Wormhole. Really funny to see a rectangular hole in the ground that is of natural origin. The waves flushed water into the basin again and again, but the Wormhole should also be supplied with water underground.
After we had looked for a way back we went through a Burren-like landscape to Dún Aengus, a stone fortress directly at a steep coast.
Our travel documents said the following to Dún Aengus: “No trip to the Aran Islands is complete without a visit to Dún Aengus, described as ‘the greatest barbarian monument in Europe’. The 2,300 year old stone fortress, dramatically situated on the edge of a cliff 100 m above the undulating Atlantic Ocean, is a magical place to start your hiking holiday” and what shall I say, the travel documents are right. Even if you ask yourself about the wild Atlantic coast, the Steinfort and the steep coast for a short time what else is there to top 🙂
When leaving the Steinfort on the regular way we noticed that it was not normal to have to climb over various stone walls and fences on the way there. That’s the way it is sometimes when you leave the known paths. But before anyone says “Then you cheated and didn’t pay any entrance fee”, let me tell him that we at Hillwalk Tours had vouchers for the entrance fee, so we wouldn’t have had to pay anything anyway.
In order to enrich the local economy, we decided to take a break at a café called “Teach Nan Phaidi” in Kilmurvy and drink a beer. We entered the café, ordered two beers and got them too. Then we sat down outside and watched lazily in the afternoon sun relaxing like a car drove up, the owner of the café got in and drove away laughing loudly with her friend…wait what? 😂 Well, the beer was paid for, so we drank out comfortably, put the empty bottles in front of the closed door and continued our way back to Kilronan.
After about eleven kilometres along the coast and through several small villages we came back to Kilronan. We went to the B&B and put on comfortable clothes and light shoes (!) and immediately made our way back to the town centre to look for something to eat. In the Pier House Guest House we got great steak from Irish beef and delicious beer. We roamed through the small town and then went back to the B&B and fell into bed tired!
What the next day brought us and how we got to Oughterard 50 km away you can read on the next page.