For a relatively small country Ireland is full to the brim with areas of natural beauty and rich heritage. Breath-taking national parks, lush forests, green hills, spectacular lakes, quaint market towns, rugged coastlines, and so much more await. The Aran Islands and the Cliffs of Moher are two such attractions and in our opinion two of the best.
Both are centred around the nearby coastal town of Doolin, home of the award winning Doolin Ferry Co., that specialises in trips to these attractions. Meaning ease of access and convenience are assured as well as high quality service.
The Aran Islands
The Aran Island are a group of three Islands located about 8km from Doolin. All three vary in size and are home to pre-historic forts, medieval sites, the Burren bedrock, and splendid treeless scenery, as well as a small population. Visitors can expect authentic Irish culture and tradition at its best.
Inis Mór the largest of the three Islands is also the most visited. The Island boasts several magnificent attractions such as Dún Aonghasa, St Enda’s Monastery, Puffing Holes, Arkin’s Castle, and Benen’s Church. There are a few dive sites around the island and beaches, should you decide you want a swim in the North Atlantic. If stopping by for the whole day be sure to check out several pubs and restaurants littered around the island.
Inis Meáin, the middle Island, is the least visited of the three. The main visitor attraction is its ring fort called Dun Conor, it’s the highest point in the island offering great views of the surrounding fields and sea.
Inis Oírr is the smallest of the three, despite its size however it still offers much in the way of sites to see. Cnoc Raithní is a unique tumulus dating back to over 1500 BC. O’Brien’s Castle is built on the highest point of the island and commands amazing views. Fans of Father Ted can visit Plassy Shipwreck, scene in the title sequence of the show.
Getting to the Aran Islands needn’t be hassle when you travel the Doolin Ferry Co. The Doolin to Aran Islands ferry operates from March to November 7th. Sailing times are efficient and trips plentiful. Expect to travel 15 minutes from Doolin to Inis Oírr, 20 minutes to Inis Meáin, and 35 minutes to Inis Mór. To find out more click here.
Cliffs of Moher
The rugged Cliffs of Moher are one the most popular attractions in County Clare. The cliffs stretch about 5 miles over the wild Atlantic Ocean reaching their highest point at 214 metres. Visitors can expect to be awed by the sheer scale and natural beauty of the cliffs. Additionally there is a unique opportunity to bird watch as the cliffs are a special protected area (SPA) for over 20 species of seabirds.
Should you decide to drive or walk along the cliff be sure to check out O’Briens tower for panoramic views of the neighbouring landscapes, and the visitor centre to learn more about the Cliffs.
A boat tour is without doubt the best way to take in this magnificent stretch of coastline. With Doolin Ferry Co., you can do just that. Their expertly designed Cliffs of Moher Cruise sails from March through to October and departs 7 days a week (including bank holidays). You can expect to see O’Briens Tower, the Great Sea Stack, the Sea Cave from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, one of Europe’s largest Seabird colonies, views of the Arran Islands, Galway Bay, and the Burren. All with live commentary from an experience and enthusiastic crew. Click here to find out more about sailing times.
About Doolin Ferry Co.
The original and the best, the Doolin Ferry Company was founded on a whim by a young and adventurous Bill O’Brien who decided to show a couple of inquisitive American tourists the Aran Islands. From this single voyage Bill has grown the company to one of Irelands premier boat tours with an impressive fleet on hand. To this day the company is still run by Bill O’Brien with help from son and business partner Liam O’Brien.