A Magical Inis Mor Day Trip: 8 Awesome Things to Do on Inismore in Ireland

Last updated on:
Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission. Read the full disclosure policy here.

When it comes to tourism in Ireland, you're probably familiar with a few of the country's top tourist attractions – like the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, the Cliffs of Moher, and the Ring of Kerry.

But what do you know about Inis Mór?

Cliffs at Dún Aonghasa, Ireland
Cliffs at Dún Aonghasa
Stone walls on Inishmore
Stone walls on Inishmore

Inis Mór (more usually known and pronounced as Inishmore) – is the largest of the Aran Islands located off the west coast of Ireland not far from Galway. (It's name literally means “big island.”)

Despite having a population of less than 1000 people, the island is another of Ireland's top tourist attractions due to its unique history and preserved culture.

If you're planning to spend any amount of time in and around Galway, I highly suggest dedicating at least one full day to exploring Inishmore. You'll be transported back in time to a place where horse-drawn carriages are a normal form of transport, where most people still speak Irish Gaelic, and where you'll find miles upon miles of ancient stone walls.

Inis Mór is a magical place, and here's how to experience the best of it in one day.

Rainbow in Ireland
Rainbow on Inishmore

How to get to Inis Mór for a day trip

First things first: how do you get to Inishmore?

While you can technically fly to the little island, the usual way of arriving to Inis Mór is via ferry. Ferries to the Aran Islands sail daily from from Ros a' Mhíl/Rossaveal (near Galway city) all year, and from Doolin (near the Cliffs of Moher) from March to early November.

Travel time is roughly 40 minutes from Rossaveal to Inishmore, or 35 minutes from Doolin. From Rossaveal, a return ferry ticket is 30 Euros for adults, and if you don't have a car of your own to get to the ferry port, there's a shuttle bus that leaves from Galway for an additional 9 Euros. Tickets from Doolin are 39 Euros.

You can check out ferry schedules from Aran Island Ferries here, and the schedule for the Doolin Ferry here. There are multiple sailings per day, but you'll probably want to book a morning ferry there and an early evening ferry back if you're just taking a day trip.

Aran Islands ferry
The ferry you'll take to Inishmore

WARNING: This ferry crossing can be ROUGH. And I don't mean just a little uncomfortable – I mean rocking and rolling enough to make a lot of people seasick. If you're prone to motion sickness (or aren't sure if you are), I highly recommend taking motion sickness tablets before you board. Even on calm, sunny days the seas can be rocking. (Source: I've taken this trip 3 different times at 3 different times of year, and it was rough every single time.)

How to get around on Inishmore

The photo of the ferry above is the typical ferry that takes passengers to Inis Mór, and you might note that it's quite small. If you're wondering can I take a car to Inis Mór? the answer is no; there are no car ferries that go to the island.

So how do you get around?

You can certainly walk from the ferry port to some shops and pubs in the town of Kilronan, but the island itself is too large to cover just on foot. There are three main ways to get to all the sites on the island:

1. Rent a bike

Bikes on Inis Mor
Bikes outside a sweater shop in Kilronan

Biking around Inis Mór is the a popular way to explore the island due to the fact that it's not that big – 14km at its longest, and 3.2km at its widest. Having a bike also gives you the freedom to spend as long as you'd like at the sights you decide to visit.

The downside, of course, is that the weather on Inishmore is extremely changeable, so there's a good chance you might run into wind and rain at some point during the day. (Wear layers accordingly!)

You can rent bikes at a few places near the ferry port, and can even rent an ebike (which I would probably personally prefer, as there are some hills on the island).

2. Horse and cart

Horse and cart on Inishmore
Horse and cart on Inis Mor

Another way to get around is by horse and cart. Locals with big draft horses offer tours of the island, and this is a fun way to travel (though, again, you may be subjected to the elements). In some places I would be wary of horse-drawn carriage rides, but every single working horse I've ever seen on Inishmore has looked plump and very well cared for.

3. Mini bus tour

On my most recent visit (a windy day with threat of rain), I opted to pay 15 Euros for a spot on a hop-on, hop-off mini bus in order to visit Dún Aengus and the Seven Churches, and think this is a great option for those who don't feel comfortable on a bike.

(As soon as you arrive at the ferry port in Inis Mór, you'll likely be met by people selling bus tours and carriage rides – no need to book ahead. If you want to rent a bike, a couple different companies operate nearby.)

5 things to do on Inis Mór

And now finally to the fun part! Here are all the best things to see and do on a day trip to Inishmore.

1. Visit Dún Aonghasa

Dún Aonghasa in the Aran Islands
Dún Aonghasa fort

The most popular spot to visit on Inis Mór is by far Dún Aonghasa or Dún Aengus, a prehistoric hill fort built high up on a cliff. The semicircular stone structures and walls here date back to the Bronze and Iron Ages, with the first constructions dating all the way back to 1100 BC.

To get to the fort, you have to pay a small fee at a visitor center (currently 5 Euros) and then walk about 10-15 minutes uphill to the fort. Once there, you can walk inside the ancient stone walls and see fantastic views in all directions over the island and the Atlantic.

Hiking route to Dún Aonghasa
The path to Dún Aonghasa from the visitor center
The island of Inishmore in Ireland
The trail from the entrance to Dún Aonghasa

The Cliffs of Moher get all of the cliff love in Ireland, but the cliffs on Inis Mór are amazing, too! From Dún Aonghasa you can get incredible views of the crashing Atlantic.

Sea cliffs of Inis Mor
Sea cliffs of Inis Mor
Amanda standing on the Dún Aonghasa cliffs
Amanda on the cliffs at Dún Aonghasa

With the blustery winds, it might be difficult to imagine anyone living up here permanently, but they did for thousands of years!

2. See the Seven Churches of Aran

Seven Churches site on Inis Mor
Seven Churches site

The name of this site is a bit misleading, as there aren't seven churches here. Instead, you'll find a complex of church ruins and old graveyards at Na Seacht dTeampaill. The site is dedicated to Saint Brecan, and was at one time one of the biggest monastic foundations and destinations for pilgrims along the west coast of Ireland.

Cemetery at the Seven Churches, Inis Mor

There are actually only two churches here, with the largest being Teampall Bhreacáin (St. Brecan’s Church).

You'll find this site near the village of Eoghanacht.

3. Check out the Worm Hole

The Worm Hole is a pretty unique site in Ireland – it's a natural square-shaped cut-out in the rock at the bottom of a cliff, and has become a popular spot for cliff diving into the ocean. So popular, in fact, that it's become a venue for the Red Bull Cliff Diving series.

4. Visit a beach

Kilmurvey Beach on Inis Mor
Kilmurvey Beach

While it might be too cold and blustery to contemplate swimming on Inis Mor, the island nevertheless has some pretty beaches!

Kilmurvey Beach is the most popular beach on Inishmore, and is sandy and safe for swimming (should you dare). It's close to Dún Aonghasa, and is lovely for a stroll any time of year.

5. Go seal-spotting

Seal on Inis Mor
Can you spot the seal?

Inishmore is home to a seal colony of Grey Seals, and at low tide you can often see them gathered on the beach and rocks on the northern coast of the island. (The “Seal Colony Viewpoint” is marked on Google Maps.)

6. Shop for wool

Wool shop on Inis Mor shop
Wool shop on Inis Mor
Shop with a thatched roof on Inis Mor
Thatched cafe

The Aran Islands are renowned for their wool products, so you'll want to allow some time to shop on Inishmore. And pay attention to the patterns, too – on the Aran Islands (and throughout Ireland), the unique patterns/stitches you see on sweaters often identifies an Irish family/clan.

There are a handful of wool shops (including the Aran Sweater Market) in Kilronan, as well as a few charming shops with thatched roofs at the visitor center for Dún Aonghasa. You can shop for everything from wool sweaters to scarves to mittens.

7. Cozy up in a pub

Joe Watty's Pub on Inis Mor
Live music at Joe Watty's Bar

What would an Irish destination be without a few good pubs? Inishmore of course has several pubs to choose from, mostly within walking distance to the ferry port in Kilronan. My pick is Joe Watty's Bar, which has traditional Irish music every day and serves up delicious local seafood.

8. Go for a hike

Grooves on Inishemore
If you make your own hiking trail, just watch out for uneven ground like this!

Have some more time on Inis Mór? Consider going for a hike (or, walk, really, since the island isn't super hilly). Some marked trails exist, but you can also head off along the coast by yourself.

One popular hike is from Kilronan Village to the Black Fort, which is similar to Dún Aengus, but much less-visited. The hike is only about 30 minutes one-way, so you could easily tack this on to your visit if you have an extra couple of hours (or maybe a second day!).

Can I stay on Inishmore?

Multiple daily ferry sailings to/from Inis Mór mean you can easily visit as a day trip from Galway. But if you'd like the true Aran Islands experience, you absolutely can stay overnight at one of the many B&Bs on Inishmore.

Check out bed and breakfasts on Inishmore here.

Amanda looking out over the Inis Mor cliffs
Once you see these views, you might not want to leave!

Inis Mór tours

Don't want to sort out a day trip to Inishmore on your own? That's okay! You can book a day trip from Galway, too. Here are a few options:

Who's ready to book a day trip to Inis Mór?

Pin it for later:

Things to do on the island of Inis Mór in Ireland

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

Join the ADB Community!
Sign up here to get exclusive travel tips, deals, and other inspiring goodies delivered to your inbox.

18 Comments on “A Magical Inis Mor Day Trip: 8 Awesome Things to Do on Inismore in Ireland

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. What a fantastic place its just like a magical world.

    What a fantastic place its just like a magical world.

    Three friends & I did this trip 10 years ago & loved it. We booked our tickets on the ferry in Galway & although the weather wasn’t kind to us we had a fantastic time. We took the bus tour around Inishmore & still had plenty of time to walk around the little village. I was particularly interested as my paternal grandmother was born on the island in 1894, so I also visited the parish priest in search of baptism records. It’s still very primitive but also very charming!

      Wow, what an interesting connection you have to the island! Even when the weather is bad, it’s still such a fascinating place to visit.

    Visiting Ireland this May. Help! Traveling with a 68 y/o, a 76 y/o and I am 72. We will visit Inis Mor for certain! Can you help me plan a day trip from Galway please? We are not hikers but want to explore some. Want to end up at that famous Pub there. I am planning this leg. Help?

      Hi Patricia! I don’t offer any travel planning services, I’m afraid – I only offer the free advice you can find on this website. If you want to do the trip independently, I would recommend booking your ferry tickets in advance, and then going on one of the mini-bus tours of the island once you get there; I mentioned in this post that you can join one of these tours when you arrive on the island, so the only thing you really need to book in advance are the ferry tickets!

    My paternal grandmother was born on Inishmore and I visited there in 2010. I found it totally charming and very primitive and felt like I was in another world! I only went over for a day visit and the weather wasn’t good but I wish I had’ve had more time to do a bit of family research!

      It’s definitely one of those places that’s sort of been frozen in time!

    ‘Love your piece!

    I’ve been to Inis Mór and actually spent a night there!

    The locals were lovely as we couldn’t find our B & B and ended up taking the long country road walk instead of through-the-gate-and-across-the-field, but we found it in the end after knocking on the door of a random local!

    We hired a horse and carriage, and as our son was about 5 years old then and needed a nap, they waited until he woke up, and didn’t charge us extra for it!

    The best part – being awoke by a cow who pointed her head through the window!

    p.s. Our son also forgot his teddy bear on the ferry to the Aran Islands and was distraught without it. The staff remembered him, found it, and kept it for us in Galway!

      Irish hospitality is the best, and the Irish are some of the friendliest people anywhere! Glad to hear you had such a good experience on Inis Mor.

    Great, Amanda! This sounds like a magical place – I love knowing that there are some places that still preserve traditional cultures and languages. More people need to explore Ireland – its an incredible country, with great surf spots too.

      I don’t know much about surfing in Ireland, but it definitely is a great country to travel in! I plan to be back again next year.

    I adore the Gaelic culture. It keeps pulling me back to Scotland, because I haven’t really experienced it much in Ireland but I see that Inis Mor would be much more to my taste than the places I visited in Ireland before

      I totally understand! I think I’ve spent more time in Scotland than Ireland, too, but Ireland is uniquely awesome in its own way!

    You’re right, I knew nothing about Inis More! I don’t think I even knew it existed lol. It sounds like an awesome place to visit, and I would love to hear people speaking Irish Gaelic! I’ve never heard that language aloud. Also those cliffs are just as impressive as the Cliffs of Moher, I wouldn’t even be bothered skipping the latter in favor of the former

      The cliffs on Inis Mor have far fewer tourists, too. 😉

    What a gorgeous, gorgeous place! It just looks like magic, with all the green hills and the old stone. I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland, and now I know I need to add this spot to my list!

      It’s such a cool part of Ireland – I love that everyone still speaks Irish; even though it’s become a bit touristy, it still feels like a pretty authentic Irish place!

As Seen On

As Seen OnAs Seen OnAs Seen OnAs Seen OnAs Seen OnAs Seen OnAs Seen OnAs Seen On