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Aran Islands: My recent weekend getaway to Inis Mór

Aran Islands map

Sasha Brady, a Lonely Planet writer and editor, shares a snapshot of a recent trip to Inis Mór in the Aran Islands, highlighting the best places to eat, drink and sleep in — and what you shouldn’t miss.

Inis Mór (Inishmore), one of the filming locations for Martin McDonagh’s Oscar-nominated Banshees of Inisherin, is a showstopper both on- and off-screen. It’s full of mist and rain, surrounded by sea and an expanse of green, and when the sun pokes through the clouds, it feels like a greeting. It’s one of those places — one of those magical places beyond the sea — that really gives you an appreciation for the wilds of nature.

Aran Islands 

Irish-speaking Inis Mór has a resident population of about 850 people. Located off the Atlantic coast of Ireland, it’s one of the three islands that make up the Aran Islands, the last bits of land you see out west before you reach America.

There’s a wild otherworldliness about the islands that lure writers, poets, and artists and it’s ridiculously photogenic. I think when many people conjure up an image of Ireland in their minds — thatched cottages, untamed beaches, a patchwork of rolling green fields ringed by sheep and drystone walls — what they’re picturing is the Aran Islands, a region that has managed to preserve its traditions, language, and landscape away from mass development and overtourism.

Much of the filming for Banshees took place on Inis Mór (the other scenes were filmed on the equally stunning Achill Island) and I visited the island in October, the week before McDonagh’s dark comedy was released, to see its beauty for myself.

Aran Islands sunrise
Sunrise in Inis Mór

In Inis Mór, I started the day with…

A sunrise walk. Most tourists who arrive on Inis Mór usually stay for a few hours before getting the ferry back to Galway or Doolin in Clare in the late afternoon or early evening, but they’re missing out because it’s the early morning hours when the island is at its best: when everything is still and quiet.

I stayed at Tigh Fitz, a charming little b&b that’s routinely named one of the best places to stay on the island, delivering on great food (their traditional Irish breakfast will set you up for the day) and clean and cozy rooms. The absolute highlight, though, is owner Penny, who treats guests like extended family members. Another highlight is Tigh Fitz’s position: located right by the water with a little garden where you can enjoy the sunrise. In the morning, I’d leave my room and head to the…

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