Easily one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland has to be the isle of Aran. They lie off the west coast of the country. In County Galway, Ireland, they constitute the barony of Aran. The islands are: Inishmore, the largest; Inishmaan, the second largest; and Inisheer, the smallest, from west to east. The 1,200 inhabitants speak mainly Irish one of the last strongholds of the language, and it is used in local place names. In English, most islanders are fluent as well. The islands are owned by the Gaeltacht.
Information on The first settlers to cross over to the islands are little established, but they presumably met in search of a safe haven from attack. The islands consist of Carboniferous limestone and do not have topsoil that naturally occurs. The soil was augmented by early colonists with seaweed and sand from the shore. Drystone walls have been designed to protect the soil. The islands host seven prehistoric stone forts. Inishmore, Dún Aonghasa which dates back to 1100 BC.
In Inishmore, AD 490, the Killeany monastery was founded by Enda of Aran. It became a centre of learning, piety, and asceticism. Tempull Breccain, the church of Saint Brecan in the fifth century, is also on Inishmore. A ringfort on Inisheer, called Dún Formna, became the site of a castle constructed around the 14th century by the O’Briens. The castle and all but two of the seven churches built by Brecan were destroyed by Cromwell’s soldiers.
It is also known for its famous Aran Sweaters. Look to Shamrock Gift to see about getting one.