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Cycling the suprisingly beautiful Aran Islands

What an amazing Irish cycling adventure this was! Expansive rocky lunar landscapes, Wormhole searching, quiet and desolate village streets, and unexpected beauties around each corner. We had no idea what to expect, and this tiny remote island was so surprising in many ways.

We hopped aboard the boat from Rossaveel, and it turned out to be a very stormy day, turbulent waves and very nervous visitors aboard the vessels heading for the islands. What seemed like the worst day to plan a cycling trip. We slowed as we approached the shore, and suddenly the clouds began to part, the sun started shining and the rain stopped, we had made it, we landed at Lower Kilronan.

Stepping off the boat it felt great to be on solid land again, with a characterful village sat in front us from the port we headed inland to the bike rental building, picked two comfortable, sturdy looking bikes, secured our backpacks and off we went. Checking the map to agree on a route, although it seemed to besimplyone main road across the island.

Heading along the northern road through the small quiet town, heading towards what was labelled as the seal colony. This was a very hilarious stop on our route, expecting to see a full seal colony relaxing on the ocean edges, but instead what we found was quite different! One seal happily sunbathing on a rock and none other in site, we guessed it must be the wrong time for seal watching, or they had stopped gathering here, such an exciting attraction!

We carried on our journey across the wide open landscape, expanses of rocks, greenery and dots of colour popping out of wall crevices, and every now and then a happy looking horse or donkeywould pop it’s head over the rocky wall to watch the visitors pass by. We then ended up at Kilmurvey beach, a rather unexpected sight after the harsh rocky environment was a white sandy beach, blue turquoise water with a cute black building perched on the rocks to one side. The water was freezing cold as I dipped my toe it. which made sense as to why no one was swimming then!

By discovering nature and testing your limits you discover yourself

From the beach we then followed the main road up a slight hill to the attraction of the seven churches, an interesting historic site with ruins from historic old churches, still standing but are now wrecks within a graveyard, and quite creepy an a grey gloomy day, especially with no one else around.

We decided to go off route and follow a path along the coast edge instead of the road route. This was a great and terrible choice, the scenery was stunning winding though rocky farmland, but that also meant it was definitely not a comfortable ride for the bum! This was definitely a difficult route but we 100% did not regret it, the landscape was so lunar like, harsh and uneven (this is why you buy padded cycling shorts).

It was such an unbelievable ride, surround by flat grey rocks which had been split into many different pieces lengthways, which had then been used to build all the surrounding walls dividing farmland walls. Eventually we came across other life on this remote planet, few adorable cows, a couple of horses and 2 people, the first we had seen since leaving the bike rental place. We were guessing the cold gloomy weather kept everyone indoors, and this made the island seem quite like a ghost town.

We made it to the end of the island, Ballydavock, and headed down as far as we could to the waters edge, to what looked light it might have been an old boating loading area. This was a great spot to sit, take a break, snack on apples and nuts, listening to the waves tumbling and crashes over the large rocks, the wind howling past our faces, and hair flying everywhere, but it was extremely peaceful just the two for us.

Back on the bikes to continue our journey, heading back across the island through the small eerie silent towns in the direction of Kilmurvey beach. We took a small detour off the main road to find a very unique café called Teach Nan Phaidi and local wool shops. We stopped and happily left the bikes against the wall outside, no need for locks on this friendly island and finding a warm cosy table inside, to take a break from the chilly winds. A couple of hot drinks, delicious local vegetable soup and fresh thick brown bread was exactly what we needed.

Finally warmed up we carried on our way, just around the corner to the main attraction of the island, the Dún Aonghasa, a short walk up a hill to a prehistoric clifftop fort, boasting stunning views across the eastern edge of the island and a terrifying, extremely high drop straight down to the water below. Lying flat on my stomach I was able to peek over the edge to watch the beautiful blue and turquoise waters mixed with white foam swirling far below the cliff edges.

We then set off on what was the most confusing part of the journey, to find the Wormhole! Heading down a small unknown path, winding through random landscapes and farmland, between low rock walls heading in the direction of what was meant to be the Wormhole, although there were no obvious signs or directions, all we could see was the name on the map of Poll Na Bpeist. Scrambling over large rocs along the islands rocky edges, following red painted arrows, we finally found it!

The wormhole was quite impressive, but at the same time a little boring, as it was an extremely large rectangular natural pool filling with water from the oceans currents and the white foam splashing up vigorously against the rocky cliff edge. Although standing on the edge watching this scene, feeling the power of the sea against the land, surrounded by pools of green algae, and ancient cliffs towering above us, the realisation of how small we really are was very obvious in this moment.

After this exploration we headed back towards the harbour and then realised the road carried on right towards the east of the island, so we thought why not? We still had about 2 hours before the ship planned to leave for the mainland, so off we went, and found ourselves among the peaceful corner of the island, undulating sand dunes, small colourful flowers, and grass billowing in the wind. Heading around in a loop back towards the harbour we stopped in at the only supermae=rket, bout some fresh juice, salad boxes, whole grain bread and dark chocolate, ready for a delicious feast and headed towards to ship, home we went.

Once a year, choose to go somewhere new, somewhere you have never been before, see, explore and love

- Hyper Health Nut



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Lots of love,

Bridgette from Hyper Health Nut,

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