Aran Islands: The Irish Archipelago With A Starring Cinematic Role

Anchored off the west coast of Ireland, just a short ferry ride from Galway, the weather-beaten Aran islands have become a film-location favourite. Craggy shores, thatched cottages and storied watering holes, here we come


Aran islands, Ireland.

Why now?

Raised a glass to all four of the Bafta awards that The Banshees
of Inisherin picked up at last week’s ceremony? It’s worth
considering the film’s rugged and remote Irish location for your
next adventure. Situated on the weather-beaten west coast of
Ireland, just a 45-minute ferry ride from Galway, the Aran islands
– Inishmore (the largest), Inishmaan and Inisheer (the smallest) –
also appeared on the silver screen back in 2010, as the backdrop of
the hit rom-com Leap Year.

Despite these VIP links, the full-time population across the
three isles is a dinky 1,200. You won’t find big-name chains or
hipster hangouts, but you will find storied watering holes, a
tight-knit community, nature-first hotels and ancient fortresses
dating back to the 10th century BC.

Inis Mean, Hotel View
Aran Islands, Tidal Pool

Island views enjoyed from a suite at Inis Meáin, left, and a
dramtic snap of The Worm Hole. | Photo credits: Inis Meáin &
Esssevu /

Don’t miss

The Worm Hole. Located on Inishmore, this natural limestone
tidal pool remains unexplained by scientists, making it something
of a mythical landmark. In recent years, it has become the site of
some of the world’s most exclusive cliff-diving competitions, but
be warned: diving and wild swimming in the icy Atlantic waters are
not recommended for amateurs.

Where to stay?

It’s Inishmaan, the least-visited of the three Aran islands,
that we suggest you make tracks for. There, the intimate five-suite
boutique hotel Inis Meáin honours the beauty of its natural
surroundings, translated through earthy materials and seasonal
menus. We love the complimentary “discovery kit”, which sees
bicycles, fishing rods, maps, binoculars and rucksacks all at
guests’ disposal.

What about food?

If you enjoy a side of stylish interiors with your main course,
the Aran islands are not where you should come to get your fix. If,
however, you can get on board with rustic seaside shacks and
little-known eateries, then you’re in for a treat. On Inishmore,
the hole-in-the-wall-style Aran Islands Café is our favourite. Make
it your choice for blueberry scones, fist-sized cookies and artisan
lattes. On Inisheer, make tracks for Rory’s Pub to scoff thick-cut
chips and beef burgers, roast stuffed chicken, homemade soup and
custard-drenched apple pie. Top of our list, though, is the
Michelin-green-starred restaurant at hotel Inis Meáin. Menu
highlights include lobster and oysters served on a bed of freshly
harvested veggies and a stellar rhubarb soufflé

Apple Tart
Aran Islands, Pub

A delcious apple pie, alongside a gritty pub facade. | Photo
credits: Diliara & Andrea /

Who to take with you?

Fans of Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan. Or a pal who enjoys an
outdoor adventure – and by that, we mean someone who ventures
further than the local common. There are plenty of breathtaking
coastal trails to enjoy: our favourite is Inishmore’s Dún Aonghasa
Ring Fort – a circular cliff route that wraps around the stone
walls of the island’s ancient fortress.

Essentials to pack

The baseball cap has made its comeback, and we for one are
absolutely here for it – especially if it means we can avoid
sporting the windswept look. Snag this Ganni logo-embroidered organic-cotton cap in
for an effortlessly cool accessory.

How to get there

We suggest flying from London Gatwick to Shannon Airport. From
there, it’s a two-hour drive to Galway’s Rossaveel Harbour, then a
40-minute ferry ride to the nearest of the three islands,

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