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travelalain Inishmore - A travel report by Alain
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Inishmore,  Ireland - flag Ireland -  Galway
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travelalain's travel reports

Inishmore a big gem on Irelands crown

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Inishmore is the largest of the three Aran Islands off the west coast of Galway, with a population of about 900 people. The name means 'large island'.

Inishmore is a popular tourist attraction, so it can get quiet busy over there. The island is approximately 14 km long and 3 km wide. It's mostly made up out of barren limestone rock and small fields surrounded by stone walls.

Aran (Inishmore) was also an important centre for early Irish Christianity. The island has a lot of ancient monuments and early Christian ruins. The most known is Dun Aengus - The Fort of Aonghasa, this fort sits on the very edge of the island on top of a 90m high sea cliff. Dun Aengus is one of the finest prehistoric monuments in Western Europe.

The island can be explored in many different ways: on foot, on bicycles, by pony, car or by minibus. So you have a wide choice of transportation on this island.

Favourite spots:
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Dun Aengus - The Fort of Aonghasa - is located on the edge of the island on top of a 90m high sea cliff. Dun Aengus is one of the finest prehistoric monuments in Western Europe. It consists of 3 irregular concentric walls, all of them end on the cliffs-edge all designed to keep the enemies outside. There is a fourth wall that gave added protection along the West Side. At the other side, the cliffs form a natural defence. The main enclosure is horse-shoe shaped and in the centre there is a sort of natural table rock. The enclosure is guarded by razor sharp stones standing upright they are called chevaux de fries.. You will have to go to the visitor centre and pay your admission ticket (2 euro) before you can enter the fort. From here you have to go by foot towards the fortress Dun Aonghasa (Dun Aengus). It's about 900 metres uphill. It will take you about 20 to 30 minutes to reach the fortress.

What's really great:
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Because Inishmore is very small (14 km long and 3 km wide) it is excellent for exploring this island by bike, you can do the exploration on your own pace and see the things you want to see. When you leave the boot, you will see those traps (pony and buggy) and mini busses waiting to collect their passengers, when you walk pass them, you will find the bike rental offices. There are several offices where you can rent a bike, so you will have no problem in finding a bike for yourself. All the bikes have gears, some have a suspension and I have seen even tandems riding over there. The scenery is amazing when your ride your bike over the hilly roads of Inishmore. There are several monuments to visit next to the road or you can even lay down on the beach and close your eyes and relax. All is done on your own pace.

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Dún Eoghanachta

This fort is located in the central west part of the island, and it’s not like the other forts build next to the see. It’s a stone wall fort that dates back to the first century B.C. It also consists of three rings of stone walls. But the outer two are very low, they can easily be mistaken with the stone walls that divide the meadows of the island.

Dún Eochla

This double walled fort is build close to the highest point of Inis Mór. This means that you have a clear view over the entire island from here. There are other settlements close by like cahels, stone enclosures and houses. It’s not certain when Dún Eochla was built, because there wasn’t an excavation done. But they place it in the cashel class and that dates the construction between the 6 and 8 century. But it can be possible that the current fort replaced an older one.

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On Inishmore there is not so many accommodation available, so if you want to spend the night on this beautiful island, you shall have to book in advance with the hotels or B&B that are located on the island.

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I don't think they have a big nightlife on this place, because the population is small and you can only acces the island via the ferry.

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Inishmore has several pubs all located in Rossavael, the only village on this island. The atmosphere was good and the beer cold, what can you ask for more on a beautiful summers day after a long day of bike riding and sight seeing. Yes, you can guess it a good pint of beer in a local pub.

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Because we didn't had any sleeping place arranged, this is not a must in Ireland, we had to eat before we board the last ferry that evening. So we went to the a fast food place where we could order slow food. It took a while, but it was faster then ordering a meal in the pub.

Other recommendations:
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The 7 churches

It's the most important monastic site of the island and it’ss situated nearby the village of Eoghanacht. Although they are called the 7 churches it are the remains of only two churches (Teampall Bhreacáin and Teampall an Phoill). The other buildings were simple rooms for the monks.

Dùn Dùbhchathair, the black fort.

This fort is also located on the edge of a high cliff, it’s situated at the southern side of Inis Mór. The construcion consists of a extended part which was defended by a bended wall and a “chevaux de fries”. (These are razor sharp stones and they are standing upright. It’s almost impossible to penetrate between these stones) There are still remains of stone houses visible at the interior.

the beach at Port Mhuirbigh

When you ride or walk in the direction of Dùn Aengus you will see after an half hour a small white sand beach. It was a beautiful sunny day and that brought many people to this lovely beach to swim or to sunbath.

Published on Wednesday April 21th, 2004

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