Monday, July 23, 2018

Aran Islands, Ireland

I had a fantastic birthday this weekend in Ireland!  No thanks to Ryanair.  I was supposed to fly on Friday evening with Ryanair from Brno Airport to London Stansted, followed by a late night flight to Dublin.

On Monday I received an e-mail from Ryanair that my London to Dublin flight was cancelled due to an employee strike.  They offered to refund my flight but they wouldn't do anything about the Brno to Stansted flight since it was still flying.  My only option was to catch an Aer Lingus flight from Prague to Dublin.  It cost me a half-day of vacation and an extra €100 but I managed to get to Dublin on time.

On Saturday morning we had an early morning, almost three-hour, train ride from Heuston Station to Galway and then on to Connemara Airport for our flight to the Aran Islands.

The Aran Islands, Oileáin Árann, are three islands off the west cost of Ireland.  The three islands are about 46 km² (18 square miles) and date back over 350 million years.  The Aran Islands are in the Gaeltacht which means that the 1200 inhabitants speak Irish as their first language.    

The largest, and most western island, is Inishmore, Inis Mór.  From Galway it's a 40-minute ferry ride.

The middle, and second-largest island is Inishmaan, Inis Meáin.  It's a 45-minute ferry ride.  

The smallest island is Inisheer, Inis Oírr.  It's about a 55-minute ferry ride from Galway.

The fastest way to get to Inishmore is an 8-minute flight.  At check-in, each passenger is weighed on a scale which determines where they seat you on the airplane.

Our first stop was a Dún Aonghusa which is a Bronze Age fort that sits on a 100 metre (330 feet) cliff over the Atlantic Ocean.

Teampall Mic Duach is a church dating back to the 7th century.

The Seven Churches, Dísert Bhreacáin, are on the west end of Inishmore.  In spite of the name, there are only two churches still standing.  

The churches date back to the 8th - 13th centuries.

We ended our sightseeing on the island with lunch in Kilronan before getting weighed again and another 8-minute flight back to Galway.

Galway Cathedral
We only had a short amount of time in Galway before we caught the last train back to Dublin.

Galway is definitely on the list of places to explore further.

Again, an awesome birthday weekend!

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