Ireland, Day 11: Hiking, Seafood Chowder-ing, and Sweater-Buying on Lovely Inishmore

951-Dun Aonghasa

For more on Ireland, see my posts from Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, and Day 10.

On Day 11, we took the ferry to Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands, which are located off the coast of western Ireland. Inishmore, with its stark, rocky landscape and island charm, made for a wonderful – and easy – day trip from Galway

Upon arrival, we hiked up to Dun Aonghasa, a stone fortress right on a cliff’s edge. The climb up wasn’t too strenuous, but coming down – with the uneven and crumbly rocks – was a bit precarious. As we walked up, we were treated with some lovely views:

939-Dun Aonghasa

933 -Dun Aonghasa

934 -Dun Aonghasa

959-Dun Aonghasa

964-Dun Aonghasa

And upon our arrival at the top, the scenery was even more spectacular, as we were able to look out onto the Atlantic Ocean. There’s no fence on the fortress’s edge, so you can literally go right to the edge and peak over the cliffs. The idea of this freaked me out, but we saw plenty of stupid brave people do just that.

940 -Dun Aonghasa

941 -Dun Aonghasa

945-Dun Aonghasa

946-Dun Aonghasa

949-Dun Aonghasa

950 -Dun Aonghasa

952-Dun Aonghasa

After braving the treacherous downward climb, we headed on to our next site, the Seven Churches. This gathering of ruined churches from the 8th to 11th centuries was interesting to explore but, predictably, my favorite aspect was the gigantic sunflowers in the graveyard.

975-The Seven Churches

973-The Seven Churches

979-The Seven Churches

980-The Seven Churches

Next, we headed to lunch at Joe Watty’s, where we had – in our guide’s opinion – the best seafood chowder in Ireland. I wouldn’t go nearly that far, but it was a tasty lunch!

983 - Joe Watty's

The rest of our afternoon on Inishmore was spent shopping at the Aran Sweater Market, where we stocked up on cozy, super thick Aran sweaters. The variety in the shop was incredible, and I absolutely adored the deep emerald green sweater I purchased – I can’t wait to wear it this winter!

Loaded up with shopping bags, we got back on the ferry and headed to mainland, making our way back to Galway. There, we had dinner at Martine’s Wine Bar. While the restaurant seemed a bit overwhelmed by our group (leading to some service issues), the food itself was tasty. I had a goat cheese salad (but of course!) to start, plaice with tomato and basil risotto for my main, and creme brulee to finish. While my creme brulee was nice, I must admit that I looked at my dining companions’ banoffee pies with just a bit of envy!

985-Martine's Wine Bar

986-Martine's Wine Bar

987-Martine's Wine Bar

After dinner, we walked back through town to our hotel, happy to rest a bit after all our hiking around Inishmore. The next morning, we would head on to one of the most magical experiences of our trip…a visit to the very fancy Ashford Castle!

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