In Aranöarna (Irish: Aran Islands -pronunciation [əlʲɑːnʲ ɑːɾˠənˠ]) eller of Arans ( the hÁrainneacha – [nˠə hɑːɾˠənʲəxə]) är en av tre OAR Grupp som ligger vid mynningen av Galway Bay, västkusten av på Irland. By utgörbarony av Aran in County Galway, Irland.

From west to east the islands are: Inishmore ( Árainn Mhor / Inis Mór [1] – [ɑːɾˠənʲ woːɾˠ] or [ɪnʲɪʃ mˠoːɾˠ]), the largest, Inishmaan ( Inis Meain / Inis Meadhóin – [ɪnʲɪʃ mʲɑːnʲ]), the second largest; and Inisheer ( Inis Thiar / Inis Oirr / Inis Oirthir – [ɪnʲɪʃ hiəɾˠ / iːɾʲ / ɛɾʲhɪɾʲ]), the smallest.

The 1200 inhabitants speak mainly Irish, the language used in local placenames. Most islanders are also fluent in English.

Location and access

Access to the bay between the Aran Islands and the mainland are as follows:

  • North Sound / An Sunda ó Thuaidh (more precisely Bealach Locha Lurgan ) lies between Inishmore and Letter Mullen, County Galway.
  • Gregory Sound / Healthy Ghríoghóra (formerly known as Bealach na h-Aite ) is between Inishmore and Inishmaan.
  • Foul Audio / A sound Salach (formerly known as Bealach na Fearbhaighe ) is between Inishmaan and Inisheer.
  • South Sound / A Healthy ó DHEAS (formerly known as Bealach na Fínnise ) is between Inisheer and County Clare.
  • Ferry to all three islands from Rossaveal in Co. Galway (year round) and Doolin in Co. Clare (seasonal). Flights by Aer Aran Islands also works from inverin.


The islands’ geology is primarily karst limestone, related to the Burren in County Clare (to the east), not granites of Connemara in the north. This is most evident in the construction of walls around the fields.

The limestone dates from Viséan Stage (Lower Carboniferous period), formed as sediments in a tropical sea about 350 million years ago, and pressed into horizontal layers of fossil corals, crinoids, sea urchins and ammonites. Icing for Namurian phase facilitated greater denudation. The result is that the Aran islands is one of the best examples of a karst Glacio- world. The effects of the last ice age (the Midlandian) is the most common, with the islands were invaded by ice during this glaciation. The effects of tidigareKarstification (solutional erosion) have been eliminated by the last ice age. So any karstification now seen dates from about 11,000 years ago and the island of karst is why recently.

Solutional processes have increased and deepened grykes of limestone pavement. Preexisting lines of weakness in the rock (vertical joints) contributes to the formation of extensive cracks separated by clints (flat sidewalk tiles). Berg karstification facilitate the formation of sub-terrainean drainage.

Large boulders of up to 25 meters (80 feet) above sea level in parts of the west facing cliffs in some cases, an extreme form of storm beach, throw the giant waves that occur on average once a century, but more are erratic. [2]

Climate and agriculture

Islands have an unusually temperate climate. Average air temperatures range from 15 ° C in July to 6 ° C in January. Soil temperature usually does not fall below 6 ° C (winter of 2010 registered a longer period of snow, the first in living memory). As the grass grows when the temperature rises above 6 ° C, this means that the island (which is adjacent Burren) has one of the longest growing seasons in Ireland or the United Kingdom, [ citation needed ] and supports diverse and rich plant growth. Late May is the sunniest time [3] , and also probably the best time to see the flowers, gentian and avens top (but orchids bloom later).

Flora and fauna

Islands supports arctic, Mediterranean and alpine plants side by side, because of the unusual environment. Like the Burren, the Aran Islands are known for their outstanding collection of plants and animals. [4]

The grikes (cracks) to give damp protection, thus supporting a wide variety of plants, including rice. Where the surface of the pavement split into gravel, many of the hardier arctic or alpine plants can be found. But when the limestone pavement is covered with a thin layer of soil, are patches of grass seen, interspersed with plants such as gentian and orchids.

Notes insects currently include butterfly Fritillary ( Boloria euphrosyne ), Brown Hairstreak ( Thecla betulae ), Marsh Fritillary ( Euphydryas aurinia ) and white wood ( forest suite wing ); moths, the Burren Green ( torvfly ), Irish ANNULET ( Odontognophos dumetata ) and Transparent Burnet ( Zygaena purple formalized ); and hoverfly Kronblom fly .

Traditional life and Irish

On the cliffs, ancient castles as Dun Aonghasa (Dun Aengus) on the Inishmor and Dun Chonchúir (Fort Conchobar) of Inishmaan are some of the oldest archaeological sites in Ireland. A tip of the old stone walls (1,600 km or 1,000 mi in all) encloses all three islands that contain local livestock.Also found are early clocháns (dry-stone beehive huts from the early Christian period) .Enda Aran founded the first true Irish monastery near Killeany (Cill Einne or church only). Over time, there were a dozen monasteries in Inishmor alone. Many Irish saints had no connection with the Aran: St. Brendan blessed for his journey; Jarlath of Tuam, Finnian of Clonard, and St. Columba called the “Sun of the West”.

Islands first populated in larger numbers probably at the time of the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in the middle of the 17th century, when the Catholic population of Ireland had the choice to go “to hell ellerConnacht”.Many fled to the many islands off the west coast of Ireland, where they adapted to the rough weather conditions, developing a survival system complete self-sufficiency. Their methods included mixing layer of sand and seaweed on top of the rocks to create fertile soil, a technique used to grow potatoes and other vegetables. [5] The same forceps method also pasture grass in the stone wall enclosures for cattle and sheep, which in turn provided wool and yarn for making hand-woven pants, skirts and jackets, knitted sweaters, scarves, hats and hide shoes. The islanders also designed unique boats for fishing, build their thatched cottages from materials available or trade with the mainland.

Aran Islands is an official Gaeltacht, giving full official status for the Irish as the medium of all official services, including education. An unusually high proportion of Irish language monolingualism were among the leading native to the end of the 20th century, largely because of the insulating nature of traditional professions practiced and the natural isolation of the islands generally from Ireland mainland over the course of the islands’ history.Young Islanders can take the leaving examination at 18 in the islands and most go to third level education [ citation needed ] . Many blame the decline of the Irish -speaking among young members of the island community of English-language television, has since the 1960s; In addition, many younger islanders leave for the mainland when they matured.


Year round passenger ferry present. Aran Island Ferries [6] operate a year round service from Rossaveal in County Galway, connected by a bus from Galway city. A heavy load service operates several times a week from Galway Harbour, and operated by Lasta Mara. [7]

Aer Aran Islands operate air services from all three islands to inverin who have shuttle buses from the city of Galway. See Inishmore airport.

Ferries are also available to the Aran Islands from Doolin in County Clare (Seasonal April 1 to October 31).

A road network available on each of the islands and a speed limit of 50 km / h apply. Cars on the islands are exempt from the roadworthiness test. Most visitors to the island rent bikes, because it is the most practical way to see the islands.


Visitors and attractions

Visitors come in large numbers, especially in summer. There are several Bronze Age and Iron Age forts and attractions on the islands:

  • Dun Aengus ( Dun Aonghasa , Aran Islands Dialect: Dūn aŋgəs ) is a Bronze Age and Iron Age fort is situated on the edge of a cliff at an altitude of 100 meters (330 feet) with views of the Atlantic Ocean on Inishmore. It consists of a series of concentric circular walls, the inner Citadel-enclosing an area approximately 50 meters in diameter by 4 m thick walls of stone. [8]
  • Black Fort ( Dún Duchathair )
  • O’Brien Castle on Inis Oirr in the Aran Islands was built in the 14th century. The castle was taken from O’Brien of the O’Flaherty clan of Connemara 1582nd
  • Team Pull Bheanáin considered the smallest church in the world [ citation needed ] and is known for its orientation: north-south rather than east-west.
  • Team a Cheathrair Alainn is a holy well which inspired JM Synge playThe Well of the Saints .


local Artists

One of the major figures in the Irish Renaissance, Liam O’Flaherty, born in Gort na gCapall, Inishmore, 28 August 1896. Máirtín Ó Díreáin, one of the most prominent poets in Irish, was also of Inishmore. Since 2000, Áras Eanna Arts Centre, Inisheer welcomed artists in Residence both local and international live and work on the inspiring Aran Islands in periods of one month.

Visiting artists

Islands have had an influence on world literature and art is in proportion to their size. The unusual cultural and natural history of the islands has made them the subject of a visit by a variety of writers and travelers who recorded their experiences. Beginning around the end of the 19th century, many Irish writers traveled to the Aran Islands, Lady Gregory, for example, came to Aran in the late nineteenth century to learn Irish. In the early 20th century and throughout his life, one of Ireland’s leading artists, Seán Keating, spent time each year on the islands translate to canvas all the characteristics that make the inhabitants of these Atlantic Islands so unusual and in many respects remarkable. Elizabeth Rivers moved from London and lived in Aran, where she created two books of art and self visited by artists like Basil Rakoczi.

Many wrote about his experiences in a personal vein, or casting them as narratives about finding, or fail to find some important aspect of Irish culture that had lost the more metropolitan areas in Ireland. One of the other types of visitors were those who tried to collect and catalog the stories and the folklore of the island, treating it as a kind of social “time capsule” of an earlier stage of Irish culture. Visitors of this kind differed in their desire to integrate with the island’s culture, and most were happy to be possible observers. The culmination of this kind of interact with the island may well be Robert J. Flaherty’s classic 1934 documentary Man of Aran .

One might consider John Millington Synge’s The Aran Islands as a work that straddles the first two modes, it is both a personal account and also an attempt to preserve information about the performance (or a-) literate Aran culture in literary form. The motivation of these visitors exemplified by WB Yeats’ advice to Synge: “. Go to the Aran Islands, and find a life that has never been expressed in the literature ” [9]

In the second half of the twentieth century, until perhaps the early 1970s, sees a third type of visitors to the islands. These visitors came not necessarily because of the unique “Irish” nature of the island community, but simply because that accidents of geography and history helped to produce a society that someone found intriguing or even beguiling and that they wanted to participate in directly. At no time was there a single “Aran” culture: a description is not complete and may be said to apply completely only partsof the island at certain points in time. But visitors who came and stayed mainly attracted aspects of Aran culture such as:

  1. Isolated from traditional print and electronic media, and thus depends mainly on the local oral tradition for both entertainment and news.
  2. Rarely visited or understood by outsiders.
  3. Strongly influenced in its traditions and attitudes of unusually wild weather Galway Bay.
  4. In many parts characterized by subsistence, or nearly self-sufficient, agriculture and fisheries.
  5. Adapt to the absence of luxuries that many parts of the Western world had for decades and in some cases, centuries.

For these reasons, the Aran Islands were “decoupled” from the cultural development which was at the same time radically changing other parts of Ireland and western Europe. Although visitors of this third type understood that the culture they encountered was intimately connected with that of Ireland, they were not particularly inclined to interpret their experience of “Irishness”. Instead, they looked directly at how their time on the islands put them in contact with more general truths about life and human relationships, and they often took pains to live “as an Islander,” avoids help from friends and family at home. In fact, because of the difficult conditions they found dangerous weather, scarce food, they sometimes had little time to explore the culture of the more independent way of previous visitors. Their writings are often of a more personal nature, concerned with understanding the author’s self as much as the culture around him.

This third way of being in Aran died out in the late 1970s due in part to the increased tourist traffic and partly on technical improvements made on the island, which relegated the above aspects to the story. A literary product of this third type of visitor is a Aran keening , Andrew McNeillie, who spent a year at the Aran 1968. Another, Pádraig Ó Síocháin a Dublin writer and lawyer, learn to speak Gaelic to fluency by an islander became inextricably linked to the Aran handknitters and their Aran Sweaters, comprehensively promote their popularity and sales around the world for almost forty years.

A fourth type of visitors to the islands, still prominent today, for spiritual reasons often linked to an appreciation for Celtic Christianity or more modern New Age beliefs, the former of which finds places and landscapes of importance on the islands. Finally, there are many thousands of visitors who come largely touristic reasons: to see the ruins, hear Irish spoken (and Irish music is played) in a few pubs on the island, and to experience the often impressive geology rocks. Tourists today far more than the visitors of four types discussed above. Tourists and visitors on the fourth kind, however, underrepresented as creators of literature or art in direct connection to the island; There are some common “Travel” to note, perhaps because of the small size of the islands, and there are no personal accounts written about Aran dealing mainly with spirituality. Tim Robinson’s Stones of Aran: Pilgrims (1986) and the Stones of Aran: Labyrinth (1995), and his accompanying detailed map of the islands, is another resource on the Aran Islands. Robinson’s work is an exhaustive, but not exhausting, survey of the Aran geography and its impact on Aran culture from the Iron Age until recent times. Robinson has also written and continues to write, Connemara region facing the Aran Islands in Galway mainland.

Island crafts

Aran Island sweater

Main article: Aran sweater

The islands are home to the Aran sweater, who won the world appeal in the 20th century. [10]

Many of the shirts sold on the islands made anywhere else in Ireland. [11]

Aran Currach

The (modern) Aran version of the lightweight boat called Currach (Aran Islands Dialect: kørəx, korəx ) is made of canvas stretched over a sparse skeleton of thin strips, then covered with tar. It is designed to withstand the extremely rough seas typical of the islands that face the open Atlantic. In fact it is said that the Aran fishermen would not learn to swim, because they certainly would not survive any sea that flooded a Currach and so it would be better to drown quickly. Despite the undeniable strength of these boats, they are very vulnerable to puncture.

The islanders were always completely self-sufficient. In calmer weather would Currachs go out and spend the night fishing under the Cliffs of Moher, returning after dawn full of fish. Today only the coastal tend lobster pots.More modern versions are still built for racing on the many local regattas, or “Cruinnithe” up and down the west coast of Ireland during the summer months.

Conventional shoes can not be worn, so fishermen use soft calf-skin moccasins called pampooties , made of goatskin or cowhide.


Some of the limestone sea cliffs has attracted interest from rock-climbers. [Citation needed ]

In popular culture

  • John Millington Synge (JM Synge) wrote a book length journal, The Aran Islands , which was completed in 1901 and published in in 1907.
  • Aran Islands mentioned in James Joyce’s short story “The Dead” (1914), a place where the native Irish is spoken.
  • 1934 documentary Man of Aran .
  • Gilbert Bécaud’s two-act opera L’Opéra d’Aran (1962) presents a plot that takes place on the Aran Islands.
  • Seamus Heaney’s first collection of poems, Death of a Natura (1966), contains a poem entitled “Lovers on Aran”.
  • 1984 hit song “The Riddle” by Nik Kershaw contains the line “near a tree by a river there is a hole in the ground where an old man of Aran goes around and around.”
  • Aran Islands in the television comedy Father Ted 1995-1998, set on the fictional Craggy Island, with real local attractions such as the shipwreck of the steam trawler Plassey in the opening sequence. The island of Inishmore hosting a Friends of Ted festival in 2007.
  • 1996 games, the cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh, located on the Aran Islands. The play is the first in the Aran Islands Trilogy, followed in 2001 by the Lieutenant of Inishmore , unpublished and The Banshees of Inisheer .
  • 1997 romantic comedy matchmaker with Janeane Garofalo partially set to the Aran Islands.
  • 2000 song “El Pozo de Aran” of Spanish Celtic musician Carlos Núñez, with vocals by Portuguese singer Anabela, is about a mother’s pilgrimage to a holy well on the islands to heal her sickly children.
  • The songs from the album “Man of Aran” of the group British Sea Power all relate to the Aran Islands

See also

  • Inis Beag: a fictitious name for Inis Oirr
  • Tim Robinson


  1. Jump up ^ The official Irish name for the big island is Árainn But the British Ordnance Survey, when surveying the landscape in western Ireland, invented the name Inishmore the largest island presumably to avoid confusion with Aran Island in County Donegal. Inis Mór , the usually Gaelicised the form of this new name, has won wide acceptance.
  2. Jump up ^ Brown, Paul (August 18, 2004). “Britain is battered by waves hurl giant rocks”. The Guardian. London.
  3. Jump up ^ Met Éireann – The Irish weather service Online
  4. Jump up ^ Webb, DA (1961 to 1963). “Remarkable Plants of the Burren: A catalog raisonné”. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Section B: Biological, geological and chemistry. Royal Irish Academy. 62 : 117-34.ISSN 0035-8983. JSTOR 20494847 – via JSTOR. (Registration required (help)).
  5. Jump up ^ Borgese, Elisabeth Mann. Seafarm: the history of aquaculture . New York: Harry N. Adams, Inc., p. 105.
  6. Jump up ^ Aran Island Ferries
  7. Jump up ^ Lasta Mara
  8. Jump up ^ Official Dun Aonghasa website
  9. Hoppa upp^ John Millington Synge (1906). Aranöarna . [Sl]: Maunsel & Roberts.
  10. Jump up ^ a trip in Ireland Literary Revival R. Todd Felton, page 54
  11. Jump up ^ Morris, Johnny (18 March 2006). “Grail Trail”. London: The Telegraph .Hämtad February 24, 2007.