JWU Student Blogs

Patience is a Virtue: A Day Trip to the Aran Island of Inis Mór

Samantha Riley has learned the art of patience while dealing with the unpredictable weather in Ireland. For her latest adventure, a ferry trip to the island of Inis Mór, her patience is rewarded with absolute beauty.

After a lifetime of waiting for ideal conditions to depart on a ferry trip to the Aran Island of Inis Mór, the stars aligned: the sky opened to illuminate the world below, brightening every particle of color to the maximum. The normally translucent blue bay water was now an ombre of rich sea green fading away into indigo with hints of heather when reflected a certain way. The waves lapped aggressively at the ferry, a mere pin drop to the force of nature, causing it to steadily rise and fall. Staring deeply at the surface of the waves, it was as if watching a time lapse of the formation of a mountain range.

The stretch of ocean on the east side of Inis Mor. Credit: Samantha Riley

Eventually, the ferry docked and we passengers were released from the vessel, the only link between the island and the mainland. Following the heeding of a friend who had previously visited Inis Mór, I immediately visited the bike shop to rent a charming city bike complete with a metal basket and hand-stitched leather handle grips. Once the bike was adjusted, the day officially began. From there, the world was at my feet.

A glimpse at the bike that was Sam's main mean of transport throughout the day. Credit: Samantha Riley


The vastness of the island was sprawled in front of me in all its entirety. Being the type of person who tends to opt for the path less trodden, I followed the road along the water. Besides it being less populated, the scenery was incomparable. At one point, a small inlet presented the perfect place for a picnic with view, the only sound being the occasional whirring of fellow cyclists. After eating, I continued on and paused a few kilometers down the road to spot a seal situated near the edge of a cliff. The seals blended into the rocks and would have been unnoticeable had it not been for the occasional fluttering of fins and splashing about.

Dún Aonghasa from the bottom of the trail. Credit: Samantha Riley

At the end was a crossroads and bearing that led me to the famous prehistoric fort and heritage, Dún Aonghasa. Before reaching it though, I paused to savor a salted caramel ice cream, a telltale foreshadowing of the rapidly approaching endless summers days. A brisk fifteen-minute walk from there led to the fort which was built on the top of a mountain with a stunning 360 ° vantage point for miles around. Between this adventure and previous ones the days before, the sandy shores beckoned me closer until I found myself stretched out on them after the hike. Refreshed, back to the bike it was, for the final stretch of the journey to the port for embarking on the ferry. Despite being exhausted, I managed to return with enough time for a jaunt to the seashell studded beach to collect pieces of Inis Mór to bring home as mementos.


Topics: Study Abroad