Inis Mor (Inishmore)

With a population of 900, Inis Mór is the largest of the islands and the closest to the Connemara coast. It's also the most commercialized, its appeal slightly diminished by road traffic.

In summer, ferries arriving at Cill Ronáin (Kilronan), Inis Mór's main village and port, are met by minibuses and pony-and-cart drivers, all eager to show visitors "the sights." More than 8 km (5 miles) long and about 3 km (2 miles) wide at most points, with an area of 7,640 acres, the island is just a little too large to explore comfortably on foot in a day. The best way to see it is really by bicycle; bring your own or rent one from one of the vendors operating near the quay.

If you are lucky enough to stay overnight on Inishmore island, try to get away from the crowds of day-trippers in the daytime, who clog up the road between Kilronan and Dún Aengus from 11 am to about 6 pm. Head for the less frequented west of the island, visiting Dún Dúchathair, a dramatically sited promontory fort (freely accessible), only slightly less impressive than Dún Aengus, or walk the secluded east coast. Day-trippers: leave your luggage at Inishmore's Tourist Office (€1 per bag), or with the outfit that you are renting your bike from while you explore the island.

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