Inisheer, Aran Islands in Ireland

June 20th, 2004

Inisheer castle and signal tower

Three islands make up the Aran Islands: Inisheer, Inishmaan, and Inishmore. The islands are an outcropping of the Burren (layers of limestone) and served as guard to the mainland. Inisheer, the first island, is an enjoyable 20 minute ferry ride from Doolin. The wind was pretty chilly, but luckily the sun was shining so I could stand out on the boat and enjoy the view.

Inisheer, the smallest of the three islands (1400 acres), was definitely geared towards tourism. As we got off the ferry, there were a plethora of horse drawn carriages just waiting to take the tourists on a sightseeing tour across the island. We decided to pass up the horses and explore on our own. Which we did start to regret a little later in the day.
This is the pretty little beach at the pier. It looked really inviting, but too cold for me!
Inisheer beach

As we took off down the main road, all the horse carriages drove by full of tourists. I don't even think there were many cars on the island. We saw a couple of tractors driving around and only one car. Anyway, first we came upon a Bronze age burial mound dating from 2000 B.C., but I didn't take a picture because it was just a mound of dirt really. Next we came to this graveyard and church called Teampall Chaomhain. It's a 10th Century church which was almost burried in the hill. It was so beautiful and peaceful being up on the hill and looking out over the ocean.
Inisheer graveyard Inisheer church Inisheer graveyard

Continuing west along the shoreline, we headed for an old shipwreck. On the way we got a little sidetracked... These fences of rock are everywhere you look for miles and miles. It's almost like being in a maze. We walked down a series of them till we came to the water again. These little guys had escaped from their fence, but ran back when we approached...
Inisheer landscape Inisheer escapees
This freighter wrecked on the rocks and washed ashore in 1960. Looks like something that should be in Scooby Doo Mystery.
Inisheer boat

At the top of the island, is O' Brien's Castle and a Signal Tower. We walked along more rock fences, up hill, down hill, and up hill, around a corner and then came out at the signal tower. The tower was part of a chain of signal towers around the coast dating from the Napoleonic wars. O'Brien's Castle dates from the 15th century and was built within an cashel (ancient ring fort) thousands of years old.

Inisheer signal tower Inisheer castle

The views looking back down at the island were great. We stopped and rested on the soft grass just enjoying the view, but the growling of our tummies drove us on. We headed back down the hill for some lunch, with only an hour to spare. Needless to say, lunch was a little rushed. It took a little longer then we hoped, and we ended up jogging most of the way back to the pier. I'm sure the locals got a good giggle out of that!

Looking down at Inisheer Pier

The anchor End

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