Tuesday 18th September We were up at 5.30 am and Brian told us we would be walking to our early morning shoot (what else!), luckily it was just above the B&B, up the road and a climb up a hill through stone-walled tracks again. It was still quite dark and a bit slippery on the limestone so we had to take care. There had been heavy rainfall just before we had left the B&B but luckily it stopped as soon as we went out. The place we visited was Teampall Bheanein which  is reputedly the smallest church in Ireland. It stands on top of a hill overlooking Cill Éinne Bay and is a landmark on the island for fishermen at sea. It dates from about the 7th century.

The views once we got to the top were outstanding we could see over Galway bay to Connemara on the one side and the Atlantic on the other side from the church. The weather was kind although we could see rain about us. I took my first picture below before sunrise a slow exposure and of course using a tripod.

Teampall Bheanein
Teampall Bheanein
f16 6 sec ISO 200 18mm Time 06:55

The next image was taken at sunrise and it was stunning overlooking Galway bay. I moved around the area and took a number of pictures taking in the limestone pavements. Time goes very quickly and we soon had to go back for a well earned breakfast which was excellent once again.

Teampall Bheanein
Teampall Bheanein
Teampall Bheanein
Teampall Bheanein
f16 1/6 sec ISO 100 70mm Time 07:38

Once again a walk into Kilronan to get the ferry to Inis Oírr the smallest of the three islands. I was a little worried after the trip the previous day but the weather had settled to blue skies and a little cloud. On the way we saw all the pony and traps lined up waiting for the day trippers to take  round the island.

Pony and trap taxis
Pony and trap taxis

The sea was very calm, which I was very pleased about! The journey wouldn’t take to long and we were in Galway bay in the lee of the Islands.  As we passed the lighthouse I could see the church of Teampall Bheanain on the skyline overlooking the bay, just to the right of the lighthouse in the picture below. We called at the middle island of Inis Meáin to drop some passengers and then it was on to the smallest and closest to the mainland island of Inis Oírr.

Lighthouse - Inis Mór
Lighthouse – Inis Mór

We were going to have a whistle stop tour of the island and we were taken around on pony and trap with an very pleasant young gentleman called Ainen who chatted most of the way round telling us about the Aran islands and the history.   The landscape of the Aran Islands  is remarkable, the people of the islands have managed to build farms out of the harsh environment. The land has been divided into small plots of land and marked off by a network of stone walls that makes the islands look like a mythical land of mazes. Between the walls is land that the island farmers have made themselves by hauling up sand and seaweed from the shore and layering over the limestone to create soil for growing crops and pasture for grazing .

Pony and cart ride Inis Oírr
Pony and cart ride Inis Oírr

Located on Inis Oírr is the wreck of the cargo vessel “Plassey” which was shipwrecked in the 1960′s. The islanders rescued the entire crew from the vessel during storm force weather without the loss of a single sailor. In later years with the strong Atlantic Ocean’s waves the wreck thrown up on the rocks well above high tide mark. This wreck has become famous as it features in the beginning credits of the cult comedy series “Father Ted” as this  island is the “Craggy island” in the programme. There is a Father Ted ‘Tedfest” festival on the island annually

The Plassey
The Plassey
The Plassey
The Plassey
View of the Plassey and the mainland
View of the Plassey and the mainland

After our tour of the island it was back on the ferry and another night on Inis Mór, once again we walked back to the B&B and then walked back down to the village for an evening meal and a little entertainment in the local pub again, which was most enjoyable and then a walk back to the B&B.

Trip to the West Coast of Ireland – Posts 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

4 thoughts on “West Coast of Ireland – The Aran Islands

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