Galway B&B Salthill, Ireland.
Sea Breeze Lodge B&B ****
Overlooking beautiful Galway Bay !

9 Cashelmara, Salthill, Galway, Ireland.
Tel: 00 353 91 529581
Aran Islands.
Aran Islands.
The Aran Islands (Irish: Oileoin Arann, Aran Islands are
a group of three islands located at the mouth of Galway Bay,
on the west coast of Ireland. The largest island is Inishmore
(Irish: Arainn (Mhor) or Inis Mor, Aran Islands the middle and
second-largest is Inishmaan (Inis Meain / Inis Meadhain and
the smallest and most eastern is Inisheer (Inis Thiar or
Inis Oarr / Inis Oirthir. Irish is the main spoken language
on all three islands, and is the language used naming
the islands and their villages and townlands.

The approaches to the bay between the Aran Islands
and the mainland are as follows:

* North Sound / lies between Aran and Lettermullen,
County Galway.
* Gregory's Sound , formerly known as Bealach na h-oite,
lies between Aran and Inishmaan.
* Foul Sound / formerly known as Bealach na Fearbhaighe, lies between Inishmaan and Inisheer.
* South Sound, formerly known as Bealach na Fonnise, lies between Inisheer and County Clare.

Today, the islands are administratively part of County Galway.


Geology
A view over the karst landscape on Inishmore, from Dun Aengus, an ancient stone fort.

The islands' geology is mainly karst limestone and is thus more closely related to The Burren in Co. Clare (to the south) than to the granites of Connemara to the north.

Huge boulders up to 25 m above the sea at parts of the west facing cliffs have been shown not to be glacial erratics as originally believed, but rather as an extreme form of storm beach, cast there by giant waves that occur on average once per century.
Traditional life

Since the islands were first populated in larger numbers, probably at the time of the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in the mid 17th century, when the Catholic population of Ireland had the choice of going "to hell or to Connacht", many fled to the numerous islands off the west coast of Ireland. There they adapted themselves to the raw climatic conditions, developing a survival system of total self-sufficiency. Their methods included mixing layers of sand and seaweed on top of rocks to create fertile soil, a technique used to grow potatoes and other vegetables. The same seaweed method also provided grazing grass within stone-wall enclosures for cattle and sheep, which in turn provided wool and yarn to make handwoven trousers, skirts and jackets, hand-knitted sweaters, shawls, caps, and hide shoes. The islanders also constructed unique boats for fishing, building their thatched cottages from the materials available or trading with the mainland.

Many blame the decline of Irish speaking among young members of the island community on English-language television, available since the 1960s; furthermore, many younger islanders leave for the mainland when they come of age, they can take their leaving cert examination at 18 on the islands and then most leave for third level education. Irish is spoken less by the younger generation, although a casual visit to the island will reveal people of all ages conversing fluently in the language. Most jobs on the island are in fishing or in the tourist industry. Islanders differ in their attitude towards visitors; generally speaking, however, islanders are friendly but also sometimes desirous of preserving their own cultural traditions and therefore occasionally distant. Such a visitor-visited dynamic arises in many situations elsewhere in the world where a small, closed culture becomes an object of fascination for a much larger group.

Tourism

There are several Iron Age forts on Inishmore, including Dun Aengus (Dun Aonghasa, Aran Islands Dialect: dun a?g?s) and the Black Fort (Dun Dochathair). Visitors come in large numbers, particularly in the summer time. There is one company operating a year round ferry service from Rossaveal in County Galway {http://www.aranislandferries.com Island Ferries}, An air service (Aer Arann) is available from Inverin, both of which have connecting buses from Galway city. There is also Aran Island Ferry services from Doolin, Cliffs and Aran Cruises, in County Clare (near the Cliffs of Moher) to Inisheer (30 minute direct sailing). There is currently no direct ferry service from Galway city.



Aran Island sweater:

The islands are the home of the Aran sweater, which has gained worldwide appeal during the course of the 20th century. Much of its popularity can be attributed to the enthusiasm and engagement of Padraig S'ochain, who deeply cherished the islands, their people and their native traditions after he first arrived there in the fifties, recording life as it was then on endless reels of film.[citation needed]

Aran knitting is often falsely associated with the Scottish Isle of Arran.
Aran Islands.
Aran Islands.
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