Inishmaan 2
Inishmaan 2

Aran Islands Location a Favored Spot

The July 2020 edition of Condé Nast Traveller Magazine featured the favorite secret spots from some of its top editors, including the magazine’s chief sub-editor, Gráinne McBride, whose favorite destination is Inismaan, the middle of the three Aran Islands.

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fields and walls Aran Islands
The beautiful, rocky landscape of Inis Meain. Photo: Lynn Gallagher at

The magazine’s feature titled, “The Condé Nast Traveller Editors’ Favourite Secret and Secluded Spots,” is an attempt to highlight areas around the world that needed some more attention during the height of the pandemic.

Other favorite spots in the issue included Greek, Italian and Austrian attractions.

McBride’s memories of Inishmaan evoke the uniqueness of the place.

She wrote, “it’s tiny, with one whitewashed pub for creamy pints of stout, Tayto crisps and toasted cheese sandwiches, and a brilliant knitwear shop selling locally-made Aran jumpers…”
The rugged landscape of Inis Meain. Photo: James Stringer.

She also mentioned the island’s deserted beaches where you can see the limestone landscape of the Burren in Co. Clare in the distance.

Not as frequently visited as Inishmore, the largest of the islands, Inishmaan is nonetheless worth seeing for its beauty and remoteness, and the chance to escape from modern life.

The landscape on Inishmaan is actually an extension of the Burren.

Among the limestone rockiness, you’ll find rare birdlife and many unusual flowers and plants.

Find Accommodation in Galway

The Island’s Heritage Sites

Eight sites on the Irish-speaking island (all of the locals can speak English too) are National Monuments.
The Carrownlisheen Wedge Tomb, also known as Diarmuid and Grainne's Bed. The tomb dates to the Early Bronze Age. Photo: By Paucabot – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

They include the Doonbeg Ringfort; the Carrownlisheen Wedge Tomb, locally known as “Diarmuid and Grainne’s Bed,” the early Christian church known as Templesaghtmacree; the Carrownlisheen Cross, and Conor’s Fort.

The Irish playwright James Millington Synge was a frequent visitor to the island and lived there for a time.

A memorial to him can be seen in the shape of a seat made of stones called “Synge’s Chair.”

a thatched cottage Aran Islands
The Synge Cottage in Inishmaan, one of the Aran Islands. Photo: James Stringer.

Teach Synge is also a popular spot for Synge devotees and others interested in Ireland’s rich literary culture.

Some say that Synge got the inspiration for his famous plays, “The Playboy of the Western World” and “Riders to the Sea,” while he lived on the island.

The 300-year-old cottage is now a museum.

When you visit, you’ll see some of his most famous works as well as photographs, letters, and drawings from his association with W.B. Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory, the co-founder of the Abbey Theatre.


Where to Stay

There are a few B&Bs on the island to choose from. Some of them include the following:

Tig Congaile B&B & Restaurant – the restaurant part of this B&B has made its way to the Georgina Campbell’s Ireland hospitality guide.
The Tig Congaile B&B in Inishmaan. Photo: Tig Congaile Facebook.

An Dún Bed & Breakfast – this B&B includes a 4-star restaurant.
An Dún Bed and Breakfast on Inishmaan. Photo: An Dun Bed and Breakfast Inish Meain, Aran Islands, Ireland Facebook.

For dinner, the Inis Meain is exceptional, with a four-course “Island Dinner” costing about €80 per person. Accommodation there is pricey.

You’ll find those creamy pints of stout at Teach Osta Inis Meain, a restaurant, and pub.

Check out other accommodation on the Aran Islands here
Inis Meain knitwear. Photo courtesy of Failte Ireland.

The knitwear shop that McBride refers to is known as Inis Meain.

Items are of high quality but expensive. A ribbed hat and scarf set are on sale for $395. The store’s knitwear collection is sold all across the world.

You can get to Inis Meain by ferry from Rossaveal on the Co. Galway mainland or by plane from Connemara Regional Airport.

Read More: Ireland's Beautiful Islands Waiting to be Explored

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