Inis Meáin (Inishmaan)
Inis Meáin (Inishmaan)
Inis Meain Island is where you’ll find a more authentic escape from the modern world. With a population of 200 people, it is the less visited of the three islands. Visiting Inis Meain will give you the best chance to acquaint yourself in the precious sanctuary of Irish Cultural tradition. This island has a hilly landscape. It also features crystal clear views of the cliffs of mohar. This island was a retreat for Synge, one of the most famous playrights to emerge from ireland, and features a lot of artists. More recently it has become a centre for diving with its beautiful marine life and clear waters. The island also features cultural courses such as dance and poetry.
Hotel and Bed and Breakfast accommodation is available on the island. When travelling to Inis Meain it is recommended that you would organise accommodation prior to arriving. Ferries to the Aran Islands are available from Rossaveal (leaving Galway city) all year and from Doolin (Cliffs of Moher) from April to October.
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The cliff facing side of Inis Meain is quite dramatic and offers views of Inis Mor and The Cliffs of Moher. It can get very dramatic here over winter and waves can exceed the 150 feet of rock that form the cliff face. This cliff point is also the home of Cathoir Synge whom built a stone structure which is named "Synge's Chair". There also are blow holes here which are like tunnels which blow out water times of turbulent weather.
This site is located directly behind the priest's house which is in the center of the island. The grave itself is dated from the 7th century although the exact date is not known. This is said to be the resting place of a Leinster Princess. Locals on Inis Meain gather for an annual mini-pilgrimage on the 15th of August and venture to the grave and Saint Kenderig's Well in the field nextdoor.
What is intriguing about this fort is the condition it is in and its circular shape. This suggests that it predates christianity as forts tended to be more circular. It also is another fort located closer to the middle of the island so it doesnt quite have same natural appeal as the cliff side forts that are so popular with visitors to Ireland. Nonetheless, this fort is in very good condition and it really gives you an insight into ancient Ireland.
Dún Crocbhur is one of those forts that will simply bring an overwhelming sense of sheer beauty and dramatic scenery. It will also definitely be one of the best fort experiences you could have in Ireland because of an impressive intricate design and complete mystery surrounding who built it and its purpose. Classified as a National Monument also because of its design, Dún Crocbhur is the largest stone fort on all three Aran Islands and stands defiantly at the highest point of the island with protective nature and is in full view no matter where you are.
Irish writer J.M. Synge very much made this island famous in modern culture. He lived on Inis Meáin for considerable time between 1898 and 1902 and drew a lot of inspiration from the island culture. Synge has penned ‘Riders To The Sea’, ‘The Playboy of The Western World’ ; where the main character in this world famous play ‘Playboy of the Western World’ was inspired by a man who was hiding from the authorities and had sought refuge on Inis Meain living in one of the local forts before taking a boat to America. Synge is also credited for his dramatic and accurate account of life on the islands ‘The Aran Islands’.
The small museum ‘Teach Synge’ (The House of Synge) at the old house where Synge used to live is dedicated to the writer and worth a visit for anyone who is curious about Irish history and/ or literature.
These are holes in the ground at the top of the cliffs and have tunnel like channels that lead down to the water. On days when the seas are rampant water will rush up and create a spray on the mainland in a similar fashion to the puffing of a whale.<br />
This house contains artifacts of historical value to the island. This is a good place to visit simply because it’s a fine example of a thatch cottage.
The main village is located just seconds away from both the pier and the beach. It is nestled below the old light house and O'Briens fort. It has the definite feel of a rustic fishing village attached to it and the local Traditional Music bar has the widely held belief that its one of the best in Ireland.