The smallest of the three Aran Islands, Inisheer Island (Inis Oírr in Gaelic) is a popular day trip from the mainland and packed with things to see and do. While not as well known as the larger Inishmore island, Inisheer is our favorite of the three islands. Its compact size and variety of things to do make it the perfect place for a day trip from the mainland.
We spent an amazing day on the island and have put together this list of the best things to do in Inisheer. Whether you’re looking to explore the island’s history and culture or just relax on the beach, Inisheer has something for everyone.
Things to do on Inisheer
Inisheer (or Inis Oírr in Gaelic) is a really fun island to explore and due to its size visitors can comfortably take in the entire island in a single day. The ferry trip from Doolin is only 20 minutes long so you’ll have lots of time to explore the island.
How to Get to Inisheer Island
In order to get to Inisheer, you’ll need to take a ferry from Doolin. The ferry leaves six times a day, and the journey takes about 20 minutes.
The Inisheer ferry terminal is a short walk from the village of Inisheer, and nearly every activity on the island can be reached from here. You can reserve your ferry tickets in advance which will save you time queuing- check prices now!
Buy your Inisheer ferry tickets now
It’s small enough that you can navigate the entire island on foot, however the best way to get around the island is by renting a bike.
Map of Things to do on Inisheer
We’ve put together this map to help you plan your time on the island.
How to Use This Google Map: Click on the grey star at the top of the map and this map will be added to your Google Maps account. You can then view it on your phone or computer in Google Maps by clicking on the menu button, going to “Your Places” and selecting this map. We use these maps all the time as you can set out your itinerary ahead of time and quickly reference the saved maps
1 | Rent A Bicycle
Once your step off the boat on Inisheer our first recommended stop is Inisheer Bike Rental. The best way to explore Inisheer is by bikeVisitors can rent bicycles and explore the island on their own. The roads are mostly flat, making this a very easy way to travel around the island’s perimeter.
They also offer trailers for carrying kids and extra bags which is really great for families.
2 | Enjoy the view from O’Brien’s Castle
O’Brien’s Castle is a 15th-century castle located on Inisheer and overlooks the main beach. The castle was built by the O’Brien clan and is now open to the public as a tourist attraction. It’s a short walk/cycle from the beach and offers some of the best views on the island.
3 | Plassey Shipwreck
The Plassey Shipwreck is one of the most popuar things to see on in the island. Located on the southern tip of the island, the shipwreck is said to be the most photographed shipwreck in the world, and for good reason! It is incredibly picturesque, with its rusting hull sitting atop a white sand beach. Visitors can climb up to the wreck to get a closer look or take a walk down rock shore.
The MV Plassey was a cargo ship that ran onto the Inisheer rocks during a storm in March 1960 and has lain on the rocks ever since.
Things to do in Inisheer tip: Fans of the popular Irish tv show, Father Ted, will recognise the shipwreck as it features in the intro to the show.
4 | Explore the island in a Pony and Trap
If cycling isn’t your thing then the next best way to see the island is by the pony and trap rides. The ponies that are used for the rides are all bred on Inisheer, and are well-adapted to the steep and narrow tracks that wind their way around the island.
It’s a great way to see the island as the drivers will guide you around the island and answer any questions.
5 | Inisheer Beach, An Tra
An Tra (meaning The Beach in Gaelic) is one of the best beaches in Clare and draws many people to the island o long summer days. The beach is a short walk from the ferry pier. It’s a great place for swimming, sunbathing and relaxing. The sand is white and the water is crystal clear – it’s the perfect place to spend a summer day!
Things to do in Inisheer Tip: There is a second unnamed beach on the north east of the island at the end of the airport runway. Although much smaller this beach is beautiful with white sands and less people on busy days.
6 | St Caomhan’s Church
The ruins of St. Caomhan (St. Kevin’s) church are one of the most unique things to see on Inisheer. The church was built in the 12th century, however, over time it was buried by the moving sands of the nearby beach. The islanders have kept the sand from completely covering it over the years and today the church sits in an opening in the ground.
It’s easy to miss the church as you make your way around the island (it’s not signposted very well) so make sure to check it out.
7 | Sacred Well of Enda (Tobar Einne)
Make sure not to miss Tobar Einne (The Sacred Well of Enda) as you cycle around the island. This ancient well is said to have This sacred well is said to have healing properties. It is said to be the well from which St. Enda drew his water while living on the island. The well is also said to bring good luck, so make sure to stop by and give it a try!
8 | Inisheer Lighthouse
The Inisheer lighthouse (also known as Fardurris Point Lighthouse) is an active lighthouse located on the southwest of the island. First built in 1857 the lighthouse has remained in operation ever since.
Things to do in Inisheer tip: The lighthouse is a fun bike ride from the Plassey Shipwreck, but you will need to cycle back up the same road to continue the route around the island
9 | Seal Colony
Inisheer is also home to a small but growing colony of grey seals. The seals can be seen during the summer months sunbathing at low tide on the north of the island (see the map).
Although hunted to near extinction in the 18 and 19th centuries the seal population along the coast of Ireland has been growing steadily over the recent decades
Things to do in Inisheer tip: you are lucky enough to spot some you should be sure to keep their distance, as they are wild animals and should not be approached.
10 | An Loch Mor
Inisheer has a freshwater lake, known as An Loch Mor (the big lake) on the south of the island near the Plassey wreck. A popular spot for locals to fish, you will see the lake if you walk or cycle to the Plassey Shipwreck.
11 | Inisheer Fishermans Memorial
The memorial was erected in honor of the fishermen who lost their lives while fishing in the bay. The memorial is made of granite and depicts a small boat being enveloped in a huge wave. The memorial is located just off the cycling route on the north of the island. It is a beautiful and solemn tribute to the fishermen who lost their lives while pursuing their livelihood.