Atlantic Seaboard (Part 4) Ireland (Aran Islands to Ballycastle)

My rules for this trip did not mean that I had to religiously follow the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW). Any route by bike or ferry that kept to the Atlantic Coast was acceptable. I also wanted to visit the Aran Islands again, after a 25 year absence, to see what has changed.

I could catch the ferry to Inisheer, then later to Inishmore and stay at the campsite. Question was which ferry to catch, the competition being fierce between the MV Happy Hooker and Bill O’Brien’s Doolin Ferry.  The latter won out, giving an opportunity to see one of the smaller Aran Islands.

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I had been cycling with a strong westerly wind that morning and the sea state was rough. This didn’t seem to worry the Doolin Express which coped easily with the swell as we left the harbour, much to the excitement of the passengers aboard.  You certainly needed your sea legs for this journey.

Safely deposited on Caherard Pier, Inisheer, I set about exploring the island before the later ferry to Inishmore.  It didn’t take long, so I settled on the beach to absorb the peace and tranquility of the island.  The upturned Currach’s waited patiently to be put to some use, but needed experienced rowers, who perhaps now had turned their attention to providing horse and trap trips for visitors.

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It was nice to just sit and reflect for a while, but soon I was ushered aboard the Doolin Express for Inishmore.  I was the only passenger, the ferry really making the journey to collect day trippers for return to Doolin.  Inishmore has changed significantly in the 25 years since I last stepped ashore.  Kilronan harbour has been enlarged and more commercial activities predominate, not least huge fleets of hire bicycles.

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