Aran Islands in late March

Jan 14th, 2007, 11:02 AM
  #1  
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Aran Islands in late March

As I've now mentioned on several different threads spread throughout Fodordom, I'm going to be visiting my daughter who'll be interning in Ireland. It looks like we'll be spending at least part of my visit in Galway.And I'd really like to visit the Aran Islands. But I have a few questions.

When I was researching the trip we took last year, I read that there was little point in visiting Achill Island if the visibility was poor. Is the same true of the Aran Islands? I ask because we were in Galway at the same time of year last year and it rained, hard, the entire time we were there. So, if the same is true this year, would it be worth going out to the islands?

Also, if we get lucky and wind up with a beautiful day, is it worth staying over night that time of year? I've checked my trusty B&B book from the Tourist Board and see that there are some B&Bs that will be open. But will much of anything else? Will there be pubs open? Would we be likely to have a hard time finding somewhere to eat? Also, because there aren't a lot of B&Bs that will be open, will we be able to make a last minute decision to stay or are they likely to be booked?

I'd love to hear from anyone who's been there that time of year!

Thanks!
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Jan 14th, 2007, 12:12 PM
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After I posted this, I did a search for Aran Islands posts. I'd read some of them last year. But I'm very glad I did the "refresher"! The posts have made me very excited at the prospect of making the trip.

But I still have questions about the particular time of year we'll be there and about going when the weather is gray and rainy.

I noticed that worktowander mentioned having been there in March. I very much hope she/he will respond to this post!
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Jan 14th, 2007, 01:40 PM
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I stayed there for about ten days.....There was great scenery,but other than the pub there was not much to do at night to pass the time.....I would definitely book beforehand....You see,the other people at the bed-and breakfast were Americans who had booked....Someone did turn up out of the blue and was put up,but at times with the windy weather,no street lighting,etc.,it is a pretty remote place.....I enjoyed it,but was glad that the landlady's son had left a pile of books that I could read......There did not seem to be any restaurants that I can remember,although I think there was a hotel that I think did food.....I think that it was in summer that I went as I used to work in an operating theatre,(honestly),and we had to take annual leave in Summer.....As you can see by a recent post I now work in a family-run second-hand bookshop !!!!!
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Jan 14th, 2007, 01:46 PM
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I answered a previous post where I mentioned the Aran Islands.....It was an interesting place,but once seen.....Look up my posts by touching carioca4ed and see what I said previously about the Islands....
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Jan 14th, 2007, 04:16 PM
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nbujic
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We took a small plane to Aran from Galway. It was lovely ( very windy in July) but after a good walk and a pinte there was not much to do . We were glad to go back the same day
 
Jan 14th, 2007, 05:57 PM
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Thank you, carioca4ed and nbujic!
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Jan 15th, 2007, 12:45 AM
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Inish Mor has a few restaurants and yes book ahead and stay overnight. I would reccvommend flying over as the ferry can be tough if the sea is bumpy and who wants to be hanging over the side of a boat for an hour when it takes 15 minutes total to fly! (To Inish Mor that is!)
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Jan 15th, 2007, 02:56 AM
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I stayed there for months either side of March. It either rained or was about to rain.......
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Jan 15th, 2007, 06:08 AM
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As others have said, it will be very quiet in March. On Inis Mor, The Pier is a nice restaurant with very good food. There is very little that is cheap food. There is also a small grocery that has an ATM.
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Jan 15th, 2007, 08:06 AM
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Thanks so much for the replies!

I'm still wondering though about going in dismal weather. Is the scenery the main reason for going? Or is it still worth the trip even if you can't see for any distance?

Thanks again.
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Jan 15th, 2007, 08:14 AM
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We were there in February. It was cold but sunny. You didn't know what the weather would be so we didn't book ahead of time. Just made a last minute plan to take the bus from Galway and then the ferry to Inishmor the night before when it was obvious the weather would be nice.

I recommend the visit even in winter. We had Dun Aenghus fort to ourselves with no other tourists for about half an hour.
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Jan 15th, 2007, 08:16 AM
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nbujic
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hi again.
the scenery is lovely - very "Irish"
If you are in Galway, see what the weather is like , if o.k. ,just take a flight to Inish Mor for a day.
 
Jan 15th, 2007, 08:27 AM
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I agree, check the weather and play it by ear.

Bill
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Jan 15th, 2007, 08:58 AM
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Thank you all again! Sounds like the "playing it by ear" thing is very good advice. I'm now thinking that if I get a good clear day on a day my daughter has to work, I'll just do a day trip by myself. If she can go, we'll take our chances on being able to book a B&B when we get there. We will, of course, make sure we have a room before the last ferry/flight leaves!

Thank you all very much for your input!
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Jan 15th, 2007, 10:19 AM
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Perhaps you, and more particularly your daughter, should get your heads around Irish informality. If she lets her colleagues know that you are coming for a few days, it might emerge that they are prepared to modify their work schedules so as to allow you both to maximise the opportunities your visit gives. That might even include changing rosters at short notice if the weather forecast suits a venture such as a trip to Aran.

The other side, of corse, is that she should parctise similar flexibility, and she might even be able to generate some credit with her workmates before your arrival.
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Jan 15th, 2007, 01:20 PM
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Good advice, Padraig. Her feeling, of course, is that she's there to work and by extension, to learn. Therefore that obviously has to come first. But her experience with similar agencies in the US is that people who do that kind of work generally seem to be flexible about changing schedules when necessary. Especially with people who are working as volunteers. I think it's a given that, while her focus is on the job, part of the reason for doing it in Ireland is to take in the whole "Irish experience" and enjoy the country. And, since I'm going to be there for a total of 12 days, I can't imagine that she won't have some free time during that period. But, having said all of that, I think that we need to be flexible and willing to do things on the spur of the moment depending on what both the weather and her internship allow us!

I just want to do as much preliminary research as possible. First of all, I want to have things to do on my own while she works. Secondly, when she is presented with time off, I want to have some ideas of how to use it. I don't want to be wasting time trying to figure out what we want to do!

I also feel confident that, to paraphrase what you said on my other thread, by the time I get there she'll have learned a lot about things to do while I'm there. I fully expect her to know about some neat little shops, good pubs, good places to grab an inexpensive meal, etc, etc.

But meanwhile, I'll keep reading and Fodoring 'cause to me, researching the trip is almost as much fun as the trip itself. Certainly makes the pleasure last longer.
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Jan 15th, 2007, 03:34 PM
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Flew over to Inishmore from Galway last September. Truly a memorable trip. Spectatacular scenery made us wish we could linger longer. The sun was non-stop while we were there, staying at a B&B just up the road from the airport. The panoramic view and quiet made it seem as if we had traveled back in time. No nightlife if that is what you want, but truly a place time forgot.
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Jan 15th, 2007, 03:39 PM
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CAP,

Inis Mor is like a second home to me. Even on the most blustery, cold, miserable day, there is a wild beauty on Inis Mor that cannot be found anywhere else. Joe Waddy's is a great pub and, in March, will be more filled with locals than tourists, allowing you to experience the Islanders and not the drunken tourists.

It isn't a place of hustle & bustle. It is a place to go when you need some "down" time. I go there at the start of each of my trips, as a way to slow myself down and reacclimate to "Irish" time. I stay at Man of Aran Cottages whilst on the island. It is close to Dun Aengus, further from the pier town of Kilronan but its beauty can't be beat. The Pierhouse has excellent food. The little market is actually quite decent size, with a good selection of produce. meats and canned goods. The benefits to going in March are that you will feel as if you have the island to yourself.

I love the ferry trip, myself. I love to ride the swells. I am the crazy fool standing in the middle of the pitching deck, braced, as the wind & rain swirl, whilst those with common sense are inside the cabin pointing at me.

Enjoy Inis Mor and absorb its quiet beauty. You will find it stays with you long after you have gone.

Slan Agus Beannacht,

Bit Devine
www.cowboycraic.com
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Jan 16th, 2007, 09:53 AM
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Thanks, Bumblebug and CowboyCraic! Judging from your descriptions, it's a place well worth visiting, no matter what the weather. And I definitely like the idea of being there at a quiet time. We visited Achill Island last March. And, although it was just a day trip, we really enjoyed the beauty and tranquility.

Bit, I was very touched by your detailed, thoughtful response. First of all, you paint a wonderful picture with your words. And, secondly, you come across as a man who truly enjoys life! Thank you for sharing that enthusiasm. It's very helpful to hear from someone who loves the island as much as you obviously do.
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Jan 16th, 2007, 11:46 AM
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Thanks Cap,

I do love Inis Mor, it has settled somewhere in the deepest part of my heart. I make part of my income painting pictures with words. I am glad that I was able to paint a picture that pleased you & drew you to explore Inis Mor.

One correction though, I am female. Cowboy Craic is the name used when my guitarist and I perform.

Have a marvelous time on Inis Mor!

Slan Agus Beannacht,

Bit Devine
www.cowboycraic.com
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