Things to Do in Ireland – Bike Trip on Inishmore on the Aran Islands

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A trip along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way is made even richer by time spent exploring one of its most remote settlements. Inishmore is the largest of the three Aran Islands (Inishmore means “big island”) and easy to access as part of an organised excursion. On this bike trip, I took my own bike so I could slowly make my way around the island in just one day.

My Inishmore Itinerary was an organised day trip to include a return ferry to Inishmore, a Cliffs of Moher cruise and allowed me (by prior arrangement) to take my own bike. That possibility is available only at certain times of the year and with certain providers. I wanted enough time to cycle from Kilronan on Inishmore to the historic site of Dún Aonghasa and back. You can also hire bikes as part of a tour – I’ll lay out some options first (below), and then read on for my experience and bike itinerary for Inishmore.

BOOK A FERRY TO INISHMORE & CLIFFS OF MOHER FROM GALWAY DOCKS

Top Bike Excursions to Inishmore

In this section, I’ve reviewed and picked up some of the top excursions to Inishmore – you can book a bike or e-bike to pick up on arrival.

FERRY FROM GALWAY TO INISHMORE

This ferry trip gets you from Galway City Docks to Inishmore and includes a Cliffs of Moher cruise. You get a whole day on Inishmore and totally avoid traffic on the Wild Atlantic Way.

BIKE RENTAL ON INISHMORE

You will be met at the pier in Kilronan on arrival into Inishmore. This includes one day bike rental for self-guided touring, a bike helmet and roadside assistance (if needed).

ELECTRIC BIKE RENTAL ON INISHMORE

Fancy an easier ride up those Inishmore hills? This purchase includes an eBike, with pickup on the pier in Kilronan on arrival into Inishmore. This includes one day bike rental for self-guided touring, a bike helmet and roadside assistance (if needed).

Inishmore Itinerary (One Day)

Visitors can reach Inishmore from Galway, or from Doolin Pier, which is near the Cliffs of Moher. Inishmore is the biggest of the three Aran Islands (in Irish, ‘Inis Mór, or the Big Island). The return trip to Inishmore is entirely doable in one day and something like a bike trip is a great way to see nature, historic sites, stunning coastal views and enjoy a lunch, coffee or a pint back in Kilronan before hopping back on the ferry. They are technically part of County Galway, and a focus for archaeology, the Irish language, culture and welcome.

The Ferry

Whichever ferry you take (from Galway or Doolin), the journey is stunning in its own right. You’ll see seabirds as well as (possibly) sea creatures from the side of the ferry. Depending on your route, you might see the other two islands in the Aran Islands, Inisheer and Inishmaan. One of the Cliffs of Moher cruises that I recommend includes a ticket to Inisheer with a cruise pass.

Inishmore by Bike

I arrived at Kilronan Village (in Irish, Cil Ronain) around mid-morning. I had my own bike on the ferry (not guaranteed in high season) but you can hire a bike on arrival on Inishmore. Plus now you can hire an ebike on Inishmore! It would be possible to hike Inishmore, but I think you’d need to be staying longer than just a day to get the best out of exploring the island. The weather was good and I set off through Kilronan and uphill. I had spotted on the map a coast road that forks off to the right and towards Dún Aonghasa.

Ruined Protestant Church

Just along the coast road stands a disused Protestant church. It maintains its shape even if the roof is long since gone, but it does look like it has landed unexpectedly in the field in which it sits. I’ve not been able to locate much more information about the building.

Seal Colony

I learned that the Seal Colony on Inishmore is very popular. There is a great little area to pull in and enjoy a tea or coffee, although the Sweet Shop was closed at the end of May when I visited. I suspect the Seal Colony is a great site if the conditions are right for seals to sunbathe or be frolicking in the waves.

Sadly there was not a single seal to be seen on the day I visited! However, it struck me that this spot is good for bird watchers: there were quite a number of species visible from the look out point.

Kilmurvey Beach

Just 10 minutes further along, the beauty of Kilmurvey Beach starts to stretch out. I stopped for a moment to enjoy a drink of water and put on a little suncream!

The colour of the ocean, with its brilliant aquamarine glow, reminds me of the gorgeous water at Keem Bay on Achill Island. However, here the air was still and warm and the sound of the waves were only broken by the sound of birds enjoying the early summer day.

My next stop was not far, but it is *slightly* uphill so it was time to get back on the bike!

Teach Peat Phaidi (Shops & Restaurant)

You cannot miss the group of shops and restaurant at the head of the road up from Kilmurvey Beach towards Dún Aonghasa. It was alive with people wandering around and seemed to be a place where tour operators parked up to enjoy a coffee. Worth a stop.

Dún Aonghasa (Hilltop Fort)

The view of and from Dún Aonghasa are some of the most beautiful I’ve seen in Ireland (and I’ve been lucky enough to see a lot!).

I was so fascinated that I wrote a whole blog just about this incredibly maintained Bronze Age site. Click here to read all about it.

Even if you are not fascinated by archaeology, the views from this 100 metre high sea cliff across the edge of the island is simply majestic.

The Wormhole

The incredible phenomenon in the picture below is entirely natural. It is not human-made in any way, shape or form!

Please watch the video that accompanies this blog for more information about this incredible place (and why it’s so dangerous!).

Why I could stay on Inishmore

After my experience on Inishmore, I realised I could have stayed for days and days. The weather was sensational when I visited, but if you don’t mind the changeable weather too much, anyone would have found beauty here even on the most sullen of days.

The views of Inishmaan from the ferry back makes me want to visit there too.

Find the accompanying video for this article below:

YouTube player
RECOMMENDED HOTELS

Cliffs of Moher Area

High-End, full of character

Ballinalacken Castle Hotel, Co. Galway

Better Value, Local Charm

O’Leary’s Lodge B&B


Book popular activities in the Aran Islands

I'm Patrick, your Irish guide to the skies and beyond. With 58 countries visited, my journeys have taken me from busy economy to fabulous first-class.

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