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Off the Beaten Track – Hidden Gems of Inis Mor’s Western End

Yes, Dun Aengus is breathtaking, no question about it, but there’s so much more to see on Inis mor besides visiting the famous fortress.

Here’s a list of hidden gems on the western end of Inis Mor that many people don’t think to visit. Actually, they’re not even that hidden, but they’re more out of the way, or not as clearly signposted.

1. Western Coast, Bungowla (HIKING LEVEL: EASY)

Bungowla Coast, Inis mor, Aran Islands

Bungowla Coast, Inis mor, Aran Islands

Bungowla is the village at the westernmost tip of the island. There’s an old pier there, and it seemed that a rainbow of seaweed was being collected on the pier to dry in the sun. A seal was bobbing along in the water past the pier, poking its head up to say hello. This area is also where the storm sequence in the film Man of Aran was shot.

Rainbow of Seaweed, Bungowla, Inis Mor, Aran Islands

Rainbow of Seaweed, Bungowla, Inis Mor, Aran Islands

To get there: cycle if you’re up for it (it’s a long way from Kilronan), or hire a tour van. If you want to go for a tour, I highly recommend Diane. She’s the only woman tour guide on Inis mor, and was very friendly and helpful, and even remembered me from last year, and remembered what sites I had seen and what I hadn’t gotten to see. Her mobile is 087 7566685.

Diane, Tour Guide on Inis Mor, Aran Islands

Diane, Tour Guide on Inis Mor, Aran Islands

2. Clochán na Carraige (HIKING LEVEL: EASY)

Beehive Hut, Inis Mor, Aran Islands

Beehive Hut, Inis Mor, Aran Islands

This stone beehive hut just west of the beach of Kilmurvey is really a must-see. It is the best preserved clochán on Aran. The date of this clochán is unknown, but John Waddell in his chapter in The Book of Aran writes that these types of structures may be from the Medieval period or later. The purpose of the hut is unknown, but may have been temporary housing for religious pilgrims. The hut appears oval from the outside, but the inside is rectangular, and very sturdy.

Clochan interior, Inis mor, Aran Islands

Clochan interior, Inis mor, Aran Islands

To get there: Walk 10 minutes west past the beach of Kilmurvey until you come upon a walking sign on the north side of the road. Follow the path down, and through a few fields (the path is pretty clearly marked here), and you’ll find the clochán. It took about 15-20 minutes to walk there after finding the path. You could fit this in with a trip to Dun Aengus, Bungowla, and the Seven Churches, if you have an obliging tour van driver.

3. The Wormhole – Poll na bPéist (HIKING LEVEL: MEDIUM-DIFFICULT)

This one is more out of the way, and I only recommend going if you feel up for a challenging hike, and I probably wouldn’t bring along small children.

The Wormhole, Poll na bPéist, is a striking natural rock formation in the southern coast, just west of Gort na gCapall, the only village on the southern coast of the island. The “péist” is the reptilian seamonster of Gaelic folklore. The large rectangular hole in the coastline shows the power of the sea to wear away the limestone, and also shows quite clearly how limestone itself is made of joints that form at right angles. The water rushes into the Wormhole through an underground cave, or when the tide is high, spills over and fills it up from above (I’ve never seen this in person, though). Here’s a good video of it I found:

Waves Breaking on Poll na bPeist


The limestone here is made up of lots of little craters that fill up with bright yellow and green algae. It’s quite alien looking!

Southern coast, near Wormhole, Inis mor, Aran Islands

Southern coast, near Wormhole, Inis mor, Aran Islands

To get there: It’s best to go with someone who knows the way, because it’s not well sign-posted as of now, and it’s also useful to have a hiking partner to help you over some difficult terrain. Once you get to Gort na gCapall, walk up the road, heading south. You make a right turn past one of the houses on the right (have someone point out which one), and walk through a dirt/stone path lined by stone walls. There will be some trail markers at this point, but past the trail markers you will have to follow the path worn in the grass through openings in the stone walls. Once you are past the fields, there will be two ledges. STAY ON THE TOP ONE. Keep going west until you have to begin to walk over the more crater-like surface, weaving along past the cliffs. You’ll come to the Wormhole in about 30 minutes. Have a seat and take in the awesome view.

The Wormhole, Inis mor, Aran Islands

The Wormhole, Inis mor, Aran Islands

Do you know of any other hidden gems on Inis mor’s western end? Please comment and share!

Next week: hidden gems on the eastern end of Inis Mor…

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Man Of Aran. Cottage for sale on Inishmore.

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Man Of Aran Cottage. Kilmurvey, Inishmore.Aran Islands. Co. Galway , Ireland. For sale with daft.ie

Aran Islands House for Sale

Aran Islands House for Sale

Successful B&B property.
We are delighted to be favoured with the sale of this truly magnificent property. Originally constructed for the making of the famous film Man of Aran by American filmmaker Robert J. Flaherty. Man of Aran Cottage is now famous as a much sought after B&B where guests return again and again to take in the breath taking views from the Cottage and enjoy the wonderful hospitality and gorgeous food cooked by the hostess Maura Wolfe. Most of the food served is from the organic garden of Maura’s husband Joe. To enjoy the charm of the place and enjoy the magnificent scenery one must stay and eat at the Man of Aran Cottage. More information about this wonderful place can be found at www.manofarancottage.com.

The Man of Aran Cottage is located just past Kilmurvey beach. You veer right past the beach, one can go straight on arrival at the drop off point to visit the world famous Dun Aengus Fort. When you leave there you veer right and the ring road brings you back towards Kilmurvey beach and the Man of Aran Cottage is on your left. The property has extensive road frontage. The site is approximately 1 acre. There are two entrances, one into the Cottage and one into the gardens and storage sheds and of course one can get onto the cottage this way too.

The property is made up of 3 different buildings:

Building 1: The main Cottage which is a double cottage really. It is thatched with reeds, beautifully done. You access the cottage through the front door directly into the main lounge. This is a really comfortable room with historic pictures and old style furnishings. There is a flat screen TV (very modern) that guests can look at a documentary of Man of Aran film. To the rear of this room is the very beautiful Dining Room with majestic views over the sea. There is a back door onto a large patio with seats where guests can relax with a cup of tea/coffee or a complimentary glass of the house wine. The main kitchen and prep kitchen is off the dining room. This area is well equipped. There is a door in the gable where all the provisions and vegetables are taken in from the shops, gardens or greenhouses. There is a facility for washing vegetables outside the cottage at the gable. There is storage in the attic of the kitchen, accessed by a pull down ladder.
There are 3 bedrooms off a corridor which is off the dining room.

Accommodation briefly:

Lounge/Sitting Room: 22’6″ x 13’8″

Dining Room: 19’4″ x 15’10”

Kitchen: 15’3″ x 9’1″

Prep Kitchen: 10’4″ x 8’2″

Bedroom 1: 10’6″ x 9’10” with wash-hand basin

Bedroom 2: 10’8″ x 9’8″ with wash hand basin

Bedroom 3: 14’8″ x 9’8″ double room with En-Suite: 6′ x 3’9″

Bathroom: 11’0″ x 6’6″. Hot tank located here.

Building 2 or The Chalet.

Long corridor.

Bedroom 4: 11’11” x 9’7″ with sea views

Bedroom 5: 14’9″ x 13’9″ with En-Suite: 7’4″ x 2’6″

Off corridor:

Family Area & Laundry: 20′ x 13’3″. Heat is controlled from here. Stairs from here to a large attic with storage and sleeping area for family.

Downstairs Family Bedroom: 13’8″ x 12′ with En-Suite.

There is an entrance from the front of the chalet into this family room. There are 2 outside toilets to facilitate the guests and staff and family should they be relaxing on the patio or working in the gardens.

The main boiler house is between the cottage and the chalet. There are 2 oil-fired boilers in this area at the western gable of the chalet, there are 3 small storage sheds. One houses the deep freeze (a very important part of the house).

To the rear of the shed there is a green house and a tunnel where all varieties of vegetables are grown some of the hydrophonics method. To the front and rear of the chalet and sheds are beds and beds of beautiful vegetables growing.

Building 3. Known in business as the Road Lodge.

This comprises 2 En-Suite Bedrooms which has its own septic tank.

Bedroom 1: 17′ 1″ x 11’6″ with En-Suite.

Bedroom 2: 13’7″ x 11’6″ with En-Suite.

The Man of Aran Cottage B&B has been mentioned in some of the leading Food and Accommodation Guides such as: Georgina Campbell’s Jameson Guide: Ireland, Rick Steves’ Ireland Guide Book, Alistair Sawday’s Special Places to Stay: Ireland, John and Sally McKenna’s Bridgestone Guide: Best of Ireland 2001, All Ireland Travel, Organic Holiday.
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