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student trip advice: bus, ferry, biking on Inis Mor

Chicago, Illinois
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student trip advice: bus, ferry, biking on Inis Mor

I'll be leading a student trip to Inis Mor soon, and I've never been there before! I've organized everything from afar, but I need your advice on some details. Note: We'll be traveling in August.

1. What's the best way to get to Inis Mor from Shannon Airport? Do I need to book bus tickets for 7 people in advance? If yes, can I do it online?

2. Can I book ferry tickets online?

3. I was told I can't book bikes on the island online, but I should call 24 hours ahead. I'll have to call a little earlier than that because we'll be in transit for more than 24 hours before our arrival. Does anyone know if we can also get bike locks with bikes? Should I even worry about locks? We'll be biking around the island, but I assume we'll hop off the bikes often and do some sightseeing. Is it safe to leave these bikes behind?

4. Is this itinerary doable at all? If not, why not? What changes would you suggest?

day 1 (weekday)

(This part of the itinerary depends entirely on whether or not our flight arrives on time.)

Arrive in Shannon at 7:35 a.m.

8:50 a.m. bus to Galway

11:06 arrive in Galway; shuttle from Queen Street

1 p.m. Ferry from Ros a’ Mhil to Inis Mor

1:45 Land on the island. Send luggage to hotel in a van. Pick up bikes and bike to the hotel.

2:30 Check-in at the hotel. Relax.

4:00 p.m. Bike to the village for dinner, discussion of “The Dead,” and sightseeing.

day 2 (weekday)

7:30 a.m. breakfast and get luggage ready to check out

8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. biking on the island

10:30 check-out

11:00 return bikes; early lunch in the village

12-2:30 horse and buggy sightseeing of Inis Mor

2:45 Pick up luggage at the pier from the van.

3:00 check-in at the pier

4 p.m. ferry to Galway

6:00 p.m. check in at the hotel

6:30 free time in Galway

Thanks!

Arlington, Virginia
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1. Re: student trip advice: bus, ferry, biking on Inis Mor

We did an overnight trip to Inishmore a couple years ago. We had a rental car, so I can't help with the plans of getting from Shannon Airport to Galway (where you pick up the shuttle bus to Rossaveel), but it looks like you have that planned out already. Here is some info that I hope you will useful:

1. Yes, you can book your ferry tickets to Inishmore online. See Aran Island Ferries: http://www.aranislandferries.com/

2. Yes, you can get locks with your bicycles. Here's a company that offers both helmets and locks: http://www.bikehirearanislands.com/index.html The bikes we rented from the company located near the Tourist Information office had locks, but no helmets.

3. The best way to sightsee around Inishmore is by bicycle--especially if you have a group of students who I assume are young and energetic. On Day 1, I would recommend biking to the hotel (where are you staying?), check in and do a quick re-fresh. You could be ready to be on the bikes and on the road by 3 or 3:30 pm. Head straight to Dun Aengus, which is open unitl 6pm. The crowds should be light at that time of day since most of the day trippers will already have left. Your group will have plenty of time to see the exhibits in the small visitor's center and really experience Dun Aengus without the crowds. It will be a much better experience at that time of day than waiting until Day 2. (There's really not much to see in the town of Kilronan anyway, so I don't see much reason to "sightsee" there beginning at 4pm on Day 1). Bike to dinner after visiting Dun Aengus.

5. On Day 2, skip the horse-and buggy sightseeing trip. I think the students would much prefer riding bicycles around the island and you really need a bigger chunk of time than a mere two hours (8:30 to 10:30) to get anywhere by bicycle for sightseeing. Check out some of the ring forts that are seldom visited. (We were the only people in the ring fort we visited by bike.) Ride down to the Seven Churches and explore the ruins. Ride to Seal Beach and view the seals. Ride through the small villages and take side roads that look interesting. We did this and got stuck behind a herd of cattle for awhile--you don't encounter that too often in Chicago, I'll bet! You'll have plenty of time from 8:30 am to 3pm to get down to the Seven Churches and back (including stops), especially if you first make a stop in the Spar supermarket for picnic supplies and eat a picnic lunch on the road. (We had a great picnic by the water not far from the Seven Churches.)

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: student trip advice: bus, ferry, biking on Inis Mor

Thank you! This is very helpful! What dinner place would you (or anyone else) recommend after we visit Dun Aengus?

I thought I'd book the horse-and-buggy guy just in case the weather is awful and we can't do sightseeing on our bikes. I don't mind riding a bike in the rain for an hour or so, but if the weather is nasty all day, it would be nice to be a little bit protected. But I didn't know that 2 hours will not be enough to do any substantial sightseeing by bike. I'll have to rethink this part of the trip. (I haven't booked the horse yet, so I don't have to cancel anything.)

Dublin, Ireland
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3. Re: student trip advice: bus, ferry, biking on Inis Mor

I'm actually heading to Inis Mór next week so super excited about everything!

Just a few things to add:

Dinner - try Joe Watty's or Pier House to see if either would suit. The American Bar might be an option too, but mainly fried food.

Horse and trap - this is an open air ride so if it's raining you will get wet, just like on the bike. I can't imagine it would be possible to book ... I stand corrected on this though! There always seem to be plenty of them though.

Do like like longhorn 74 suggested and visit some of the lesser known ring forts of Dun Ducathair, Dun Eocla and Dun Eoghnachta or if you are feeling adventurous the worm hole!

Arlington, Virginia
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4. Re: student trip advice: bus, ferry, biking on Inis Mor

I'll "second" Lollymcd's recommendation of Joe Watty's for dinner. When we ate there, we happened to be the only non-locals! (Most folks come to Inishmore as day-trippers, so there's aren't lots of visitors in the evenings.)

Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: student trip advice: bus, ferry, biking on Inis Mor

Are there places near Dun Aengus to chain 7 bikes to?

Arlington, Virginia
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6. Re: student trip advice: bus, ferry, biking on Inis Mor

There are bike racks at Dun Aengus for the bikes.

Chicago, Illinois
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7. Re: student trip advice: bus, ferry, biking on Inis Mor

Great! Thanks!

Dublin, Ireland
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8. Re: student trip advice: bus, ferry, biking on Inis Mor

Just back!

Regarding the bikes we were told by the rental company (who had oodles of bikes even at 12.30pm) not to bother locking the bikes during the day, just at night. That's what we did and had no problems! I'm sure I seen at least 4 bike rental places, you won't have a problem getting bikes!

About the horse and carriage rides. I came across a business card with some contact details, here they are: Christopher +353 (0) 87 272 4994 and Thomas +353 (0) 85 285 9777 email : seacrestaran@gmail.com web: www.aranponytrap.com

9. Re: student trip advice: bus, ferry, biking on Inis Mor

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