Summer is the most popular time of year to visit the Aran Islands, but you shouldn’t let the cold keep you away. In fact, there are a number of advantages to visiting the islands in the winter.
Because of the colder weather and fewer events going on, there will be less tourists visiting. This means less people in your photos (if nature photograpy is your thing), a more serene atmosphere up at Dun Aengus or any of the sites on the island (if you’d like to have some alone time to quietly reflect or write), and sometimes you’ll get more individual attention from business owners simply because they actually have the time.
During my first trip to Inishmore, one of the owners of the hostel I stayed at offered to guide me to a few of his favorite spots on the island. He had a little more free time (and this was only November!) because the hostel was nearly empty. This guided walk was one of the best experiences I’ve had on the Aran Islands in all my visits, and I may not have had the opportunity if I hadn’t gone to Aran in the off season.
Who doesn’t like to save a little money on vacation? Often many of the hostels and B&Bs have lower rates during the off season. Contact specific businesses for their policies.
GREAT FOR EXPLORING
A local Aran archaeology enthusiast told me that winter is the ideal time to go exploring the ancient sites. With less vegetation growing, the stone forts are naturally more prominent, so you can really appreciate the enormity of these structures. The unending stone walls will stand out more, too.
An already gorgeous landscape will prove even more awe-inspiring. And as you can see from the photos on Joe Watty’s facebook page, the waves are really alive and kicking this time of year!
So what are you waiting for? Go enjoy Aran in the wintertime! There’s a few more days left to enter the Aran Islands Christmas Competition, but even if you don’t win, go anyway! For me, it was a great adventure I’ll not soon forget.