For a taste of Irish island life, take a boat trip to one of the beautiful islands off the west coast.Inishbofin was chosen in 665 by St. Coleman for the site of his monastery as it was a place of tranquility. A roofless thirteenth century chapel in the present day graveyard is said to be the site of his monastery. Visit the Heritage Centre, trek the island on horse-back, hire a bicycle, go swimming or snorkeling or simply take a scenic stroll. There is an abundance of varied plant life, including rare species of wild flowers and grasses.
Inishturk Island lies nine miles off the Galway Mayo coast to the north of Inishbofin. Here one finds unrivalled scenery, wholesome home cooking and traditional crafts (curragh making/basket weaving). The island is a paradise for the outdoor enthusiast - the cliff flora is of international importance - those interested in ornithology will be enthralled by the number of bird sanctuaries - the wild Atlantic waters will tempt experienced divers to explore their depths - there's boat trips to neighboring islands, deep sea and rock angling - Celtic and early Christian fortified habitations are to be found and a fulachta fiada has been located on the island - there are sheltered beach coves with the clearest blue waters in Europe.
No holiday to Ireland would be complete without a trip to the mystical Aran Islands that are situated in the middle of Galway Bay. The rugged, natural beauty along with thatch roofed stone cottages that dot the islands provide a splendid example of Celtic and early Christian heritage and gives one the impression that they have just travelled back in time..
The islands are Inishmore, the largest, Inishmaan and Inisheer being the smallest. With Gaelic still being the first language of the islanders, a true feel for 'older Ireland' is to be found. Throughout the islands, you will find the ruins of early Christian monasteries and fortifications, the best known being Dun Aengus which dates back over 2000 years, and many churches. The ruins of the House of Saint Edna, the most important medieval religious settlement on Inishmore, can still be seen. Fishing is still the main industry on the islands and in many cases, the methods of the fishermen's ancestors are still used. The lives of these fishermen were the subject of the John M Synge 1904 play 'Riders to the Sea'.
There are a number of options open in travelling to the islands. You may either travel by ferry from Galway city or Rossaveal, or take the very short flight on Aer Arann from Connemara airport.