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AITO Tour Operator of The Year 2016 - Gold AwardThe Telegraph Travel Awards Winner 2017

Car-free Aran Islands

Discover Galway city, Inis Mór and Inis Meáin in the Aran Islands.

This carefully planned self-guided tour by train and public transport, enables you to experience a segment of Western Ireland in depth including a stay in the colourful city of Galway followed by an escape into the Atlantic with a stay on Inis Mór (Big Island) and a day trip to Inis Meáin (Middle  Island), set in the mouth of Galway Bay.

Famous for their geological formation, historical monuments and their linguistic and cultural heritage – with Irish (Gaelic) still widely spoken here – step back in time and experience a slower pace of life.

With return rail travel from Dublin included and an exciting combination of flight and ferry travel between the islands, the West of Ireland has never been more accessible for the car-less voyager: a genuinely different Irish island holiday!

At A Glance

Best Time To Go

Apr - Oct

Why not...

add on a couple of nights in Dublin?

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Day One – To Galway

From Dublin catch a train to Galway, Europe’s most westerly city.

Your Hotel in Galway

Your guest house in Galway city is a family owned, recently refurbished grand Georgian townhouse featuring a charming tearoom which is open to the public for breakfast, brunch and lunch. Set directly at the dramatic river Corrib salmon weir, most of the house’s five sumptuously appointed rooms feature superb views across the water and beyond. Despite the house’s location just moments’ walk from the city centre, you’ll feel detached from city bustle in this peaceful pocket of Galway.

Day Two – Exploring Galway

This thriving city enjoys a strong artistic heritage and a flourishing arts, music, theatre and film scene. Enjoy the atmospheric pubs and restaurants, the pretty medieval streets and lively weekend markets.  Make sure you try the renowned local oysters too -they slip down very easily with a pint of Guinness!

Day Three – Fly to Inis Mór

After breakfast, and perhaps a final stroll around the cobbled streets before catching a shuttle service to Connemara airport, a tiny airport dedicated for flights to Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands. From here it’s a short ten minute flight – with unbelievable views of the coast – and you’ll arrive in a truly special place.

Your Hotel on Inis Mór

This eighteenth century stone-built house, reminiscent of Father Ted’s, is situated halfway along the island of Inís Mór between Kilronan and the western village of Bun Gowla. Once the family home of the “Ferocious O’Flahertys” – and now home to a much more welcoming local family – it has been recently renovated to the highest standards while keeping the old style charm of the house.  An ideal base for exploring this unique island,  as nowhere is more than a comfortable one hour’s walking distance. Indeed, the remarkable ancient fort of Dun Aengus is just a few minutes’ walk up the hill behind the hotel.

Day Four – Discovering Inis Mór

The island of Inis Mór is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland, mostly for day-trippers. Staying overnight allows you to experience the island at a less hurried pace. It is steeped in history and resembles an outdoor museum with over 50 different monuments of Christian, pre Christian and Celtic mythological heritage. There isn’t far you can go before being somewhere of historical interest and little reason to question its importance in modern Irish culture. You’ll still hear plenty of Gaelic/Irish spoken, though the locals are bilingual, so you will be able to enjoy some of their stories. Of course you can also browse the locally made Aran jumpers – you’ll never see so much quality knitwear in one place – and end the day with some “craic” and live music in a traditional bar.

Day Five – Day trip to Inis Meáin

Today cross by ferry in the late morning to Inish Meáin, the lesser developed but perhaps the most authentic of the three Aran islands.

Playing host to less than 3,000 visitors a year this is the ultimate opportunity to ‘See Ireland Differently.’ At just 5km by 3km, Inis Meáin is easily explored by foot and bicycle. Pre-christian stone forts, beehive huts and ancient burial grounds will satisfy the historically inclined while the Karst limestone landscapes and circumference of coastline are a photographer’s dream. The island’s only pub is the place to mingle with the island’s community and a chance to understand their unique heritage of Irish language and culture.

Return to Inis Mór late afternoon by ferry, and enjoy your final evening on this enchanting island.

Day Six – Return to Dublin

This morning say a final goodbye from above to the islands as you fly over the sea to the mainland and take a shuttle back to Galway. From the city head East by train back to the Irish capital, arriving in the late afternoon/early evening for your onward journey connections. Alternatively we can offer an excellent selection of guesthouse and hotel accommodation should you wish to extend your holiday in the city.


Map Car Free Aran Islands

This two centre holiday is based in Galway city and Inis Mór with a day trip to Inis Meáin in the Aran Islands.


£445 per person for April & October, £510 per person for May, June & September or £565 per person for July & August.

Prices based on two adults sharing a double ensuite room for five nights on a bed and breakfast basis. The price includes return rail travel between Dublin and Galway, return flights from Connemara to Inis Mór with return shuttle service between the airport and Galway and return ferry from Inis Mór to Inis Meáin.

This holiday works well if you wish to combine your western exploration with a stay in the Irish capital of Dublin. We can offer a range of properties from four star guesthouses to five star hotels.

Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions, recommended routes, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.

Travel to Ireland

We would be delighted to book your travel to Ireland for this holiday.

All Ireland itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.

The McKinlay Kidd Guarantee

All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.

We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.

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Check availability for Car-free Aran Islands

This holiday can be arranged from April to early October.

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