Top 5 Must See Attractions on Inis Meain
Inis Meain is the middle island of the Aran Islands. It has so much to offer, with beautiful scenery, numerous attractions and strong cultural heritage. Sailing from Doolin to Inis Meain is like traveling back in time. Soak up the rich and unique culture that Inis Meáin has to offer. We have the main attractions on Inis Meain for you to discover.
The Inis Meain Way
The Inis Meain Way stretches for 8km (5 miles) and lasts up to 2 and a half hours. You can rent bikes or walk this trail.
1. Synge Chair (Cathaoir)
This was John M. Synge’s favorite spot, It has amazing views of Inis Mor and the entire island and sea.
In the distance you may see great pillars of spray sprouting up well inland out of “puffing holes”. There are still a few traditional thatched cottages to be seen; the thatch is made from rye grass which grows on the island.
2. Churches of Inis Meain
- Harry-Clarke Teampeall na Seacht Mac Ri
Very little remains of this early church. By the south door is the Atharla Chinndeirge, grave of this saint, whose holy well, Tobar Chinndeirge is close by. This used to be a famous place for pilgrimage for all Connacht.
- Eaglais Naomh Muire gan Smal
This is quite a modern church, dedicated in 1939, which is worth visiting for the altar by James Pearse (father of Padraic Pearse) and the amazing stained glass windows from the studio of Harry Clarke.
3. Inis Meain Knitwear Factory
Inis Meain Knitting Company was founded on the island in 1976 by Tarlach de Blácam and Áine Ní Chonghaile, inspired by the unique spirit, environment and heritage of the place.
The Knitwear Factory is one of the main sources of employment on the island. The factory produces high quality men’s fashion knitwear mainly for export to the most exclusive stores in Europe, Japan and Northern America.
4. Stone Forts
There are two spectacular Stone Forts on the island dating back between the 1st-7th centuries AD. Dun Fearbhai and Dun Chonchuir or “Conor’s Fort” (also known as “The Black Fort”).
- Dun Fearbhai has terraces along the inside of the walls which may have been for defenders to look over or for some ceremonial purpose. It is easy to climb onto the top of the wall, and worth it for the fine view of the low lying northern part of the island. ‘The Black Fort’ it is much larger than Dun Fearbhai. The view here is magnificent, across the North West corner of the island to the open bay.
- Dun Conchuir is approached by a path over stiles, leading off the road just beyond Synge’s cottage. John M. Synge was a famous Irish playwright (1971-1909). He stayed on the Island every summer between the years (1898-1902). He based some of his plays ‘Riders to the sea’ and’ playboy of the Western World’.
5. Leaba Dhiarmada ‘is Ghrainne and Diarmuid”
This translates to the ‘Bed of Diarmuid and Grainne’.
This is a wedge gallery grave of Neolithic or Early Bronze Age (4,000 BC). It was thought that it may be a place of ritual and a burial ground.
The name is a reference to the young couple who mythology tells us slept at these sites such as this wedge shaped tomb on Inis Meain, on their journey around Ireland, trying to escape from Fionn MacCool and the Fianna.