The Aran Islands are a cluster of three islands in the Atlantic ocean, before the coast of Galway in the west of Ireland. Most people will visit only for a daytrip, take the ferry out in the morning and return to the 'mainland' (if you can call Ireland that) in the afternoon.
But it is when the last ferry has left, the jaunting cars and mini-vans have returned home, and the rental bikes have been parked indoors that you can get a taste of how desolate life must have been here for the fishermen in the past.
Inishmore, the biggest of the three, offers accommodations as well as several restaurants where overnight visitors can sleep and eat. During the day, one can take tours in a jaunting car or mini-van with a guide, or, for the more actively inclined, rent a mountain bike to explore the islands on wheels.
Aside from magnificent cliff views, the island offers wildlife viewing (among other things, seals) or the ancient monument of Dun Aongasha, one of the oldest ring forts. And of course a visit to the Aran Islands is not complete without bringing home a hand-knitted wool sweater patterned after local family designs.