An Enchanting Day on the Aran Islands, Ireland

April 26, 2016
An Enchanting Day on the Aran Islands, Ireland

I had never been on a boat before, and that thought alone both terrified and excited me. I don’t know anything about boats but I can assure you the one they use to take tourists to the Aran Islands was not big enough for us all. It had two floors – if you may call them that – and we had to go to the bottom one, which was half a meter from the water. The whole experience was nuts. It was windy and very cold and we were getting drenched because of the splashing of the waves. Being the overreactor that I am, my friends couldn’t stop laughing at me. After a lot of screams, we finally arrived — we had one day on the Aran Islands.

It was beautiful. I looked up and saw the little houses by the sea, all that green, and the hills and little rocky paths. We only stayed for 15 minutes and we didn’t explore much. Except for my friend from Alabama, of course, who ran up the highest hill to look inside the castle ruins. The rest of us climbed all the way to the top and took a selfie. The view was stunning. You could see the island and the horizon gently being touched by the fog.

Heroes we were again, back on the boat and heading to the main island, Inis Mór, through wild waves. This island wasn’t as beautiful and green as the other, but there were so many lovely horses and ponies hanging out around the pier, which received a lot of loving attention from us.

If you haven’t been to an Irish pub, please do. We relaxed in the cosiest place I’ve ever been: a fireplace flickered just behind us, an Irish band played live music, and I drank a cold pint of Guinness.

On the way to our hostel, we met a great guy who owned a mini-bus and offered to give us a tour. He was the funniest, loveliest tour guide. For €10 per person, he took us around the island and explained its history to us. This was the first trip I’ve ever taken where I did not plan anything beforehand; I didn’t know what I was supposed to visit, or even how big the island was. I was completely open to the tour guide’s suggestions.

One of the most incredible moments of the trip happened when, after about 45 minutes of walking in slippery terrain, we reached the “Worm Hole”. This is a natural rectangular pool that the ocean created, even though it looks man-made.

By the end of the day, we were tired and salty but we decided to go to one of the pubs on the island. If you haven’t been to an Irish pub, please go. We relaxed in the cosiest place I’ve ever been: a fireplace flickered just behind us, an Irish band played live music, and I drank a cold pint of Guinness. A perfect ending to our day.

A perfect ending to our day.

We were lucky to have had the sun come out on Sunday morning. We all decided to have lunch by the pier. In fact, we bought some snacks at the only supermarket on the island and chatted in the sun. We also visited a Celtic-themed craft shop to purchase souvenirs.

I wish I had stayed longer on the Aran Islands and explored more, and slower. I’m thinking of returning this summer. I can’t wait to feel the sun burn my skin and have a pint of Guinness again, on Inis Mór.

About Catarina Pinto

I was born and raised in Oporto (Porto for Portuguese), Portugal. Five years ago, I had the chance to go on a trip to London with my high school – and so my traveling bug was born. I have been traveling ever since and have lived in Ireland, Czech Republic and I’m currently living in France. I love reading and dancing; life would be perfect if I could dance while reading on a trip to the world. 🙂 I very much love my sister, who has always pushed me into writing more. And despite being French, my boyfriend is always ready to take on my offers of traveling to the nearest stop. I enjoy life to the fullest when I’m traveling and discovering new cultures!

3 thoughts on “An Enchanting Day on the Aran Islands, Ireland

  1. May 4, 2016

    Cat! Lovely. So nice to hear your voice through your writing from miles away. Bringing me closer to my memories of Ireland…

  2. Stacy Dixon
    April 26, 2016

    As an Irish person, I have to say you truly captured the essence of the West of Ireland! I really enjoyed your article, it brought me home.

    • Catarina Pinto
      April 26, 2016

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

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