Arranmore Island: This Wild Chunk Of Donegal Is Arguably Ireland’s Most Underrated Island

A very hidden gem

Arranmore island ireland

Welcome to Arranmore Island – one of the most frequently missed places to visit in Ireland.

And yes, Arranmore is the island in Ireland looking for residents.

But more on that in a second.

Arranmore Island is one of Ireland’s true hidden gems.

And I say true because people tend to skip visiting it when they’re exploring Donegal, even though it’s just a stone’s throw from the mainland.

This mighty island boasts:

  • An unmissable wild and rugged landscape
  • Magnificent cliffs
  • Dramatic sea caves
  • And lovely golden sandy beaches.

Just LOOK at it…

arranmore island cliffs
Photo by ‎Sebastian Sebo

Stuck for time? Hit play on the video below!

 


You’ll find Arranmore Island around 5 km off the Donegal coast.

Why you should add it to your Wild Atlantic Way itinerary:

  • You can explore the island by day
  • And then kick-back by an open turf fire and listen to some traditional Irish music in one of the islands lively pubs by night.

Hungry for more?

About Arranmore Island

At around seven square miles in size, Arranmore island is the second largest of Ireland’s inhabited islands, and it’s the biggest of Donegal’s islands.

For those looking to explore, the island has many marked trails that’ll take you past an ever-changing tapestry of natural beauty, from sandy beaches to craggy cliffs.

arranmore island walks
Photo by ‎Sebastian Sebo

The island, which has been inhabited since prehistoric times, has a rich and vibrant heritage and culture, and many Gaelic traditions still thrive here.

Here’s a little gander at what the island has to offer from the eyes of Arranmore Hostel’s Sebastian Sebo.

You can nearly hear the crash as wave after powerful wave clatters against the jagged cliff face.

arranmore island donegal ireland
Photo by ‎Sebastian Sebo

Who needs a gym…

These steps remind me a little of the ones found on Skellig Michael in Kerry.

arrandmore island donegal
Photo by ‎Sebastian Sebo
arranmore island cliffs
Photo by ‎Sebastian Sebo

Arranmore Island things to do

From marked walks that offer spectacular views in every direction, to scuba diving and more, there are an endless number of ways that you can fill a day on Arranmore.

Hit play on the video below for a look at some of the many things there are to do on the island.

  • Dabble in a bit of deep-sea diving (info here)
  • Head off on the Sea Safari & Marine Heritage Guided Tours (more info here)
  • Try your hand at a bit of sea angling (more info here)
  • Give water sports a crack (find out more)
  • Try your hand at rock climbing (there’s a pun in there somewhere – info here)
arranmore island views
Photo by ‎Sebastian Sebo

Fancy a walk?

If the above doesn’t keep you occupied, there are plenty more things to do on Arranmore Island.

You can head off on a walk around the island (it’s signposted as ‘Sli Arainn Mhor’) that begins and ends at the islands ferry port.

When you’ve finished, nip into one of the local shops that sell ample amounts of local craftwork (and yes, you’ll be able to grab some Aran knitwear, too).

Related Read: check out our guide to the best things to do in Donegal

Arranmore Island Ferry

If you’ve been overcome by a wave of wanderlust and fancy taking a trip to the island, here’s some info on how to get there and where to stay.

arranmore island ferry
Photo via Donegal Cottage Holidays

Whether your exploring Donegal by car, bicycle or foot, you can hop on one of two ferries that leave for Arranmore:

It’s recommended that you check the Arranmore Ferry timetable in advance of your trip. You can book a ticket on either of the sites below (note: we’ve zero affiliation with either company).

Ferries leave every hour during the summer months and take just 15 minutes

Where to eat, sleep and drink

Since publishing this guide last year, I’ve been getting 5 or 6 emails per week asking for recommendations on where to stay, where to eat and which pubs to visit.

Let’s try and tackle all three below!

Arranmore Island accommodation

For those of you planning on visiting Arranmore, there are a number of highly recommended places to stay on the island.

Here’s some of the places for you to rest your head on the island;

  • Spend a night or two in Muldowney’s B&B
  • Rest your noggin in Arranmore Hostel
  • Kick-back after a day of diving and exploring in Claire’s B&B
  • Grab a bit of kip in Killeen’s of Arranmore
  • Eat, drink and be merry at The Glen Hotel
  • Chill for a bit in Early’s B&B
  • Sleep somewhere unique in Arranmore lighthouse 
  • Looking to stay for longer? Check out Arranmore Holiday Village

Where to eat

For those of you hankering for a post-walk feed, here’s some options to keep your belly happy.

  • The Arranmore Bistro (newly opened in 2019)
  • Culture Centre Café
  • Bonners Restaurant & B&B
  • Early’s Bar & Lounge

Arranmore Island Pods

arranmore island pods for glamping

A friend mentioned the Arranmore Island Pods to me recently – they’re perfect for those of you in search of a unique place to spend the night.

Each pod sleeps 4 grown-ups and comes equipped with lighting, heating and are beautifully furnished.

Arranmore island pubs

cross-eyes Guinness

If you fancy a pint, there are plenty of pubs on Arranmore.

Here’s a handful to keep you occupied:

  • Early’s Bar
  • Phil Bans Pub
  • Neilys Bar
  • The Glen Hotel

Arranmore Island Map

This is a map of the island to give you a general sense of the lay of the land.

If you plan on visiting and exploring, make sure and pick up a map online or locally.

arranmore island map
Photo via Trailbadger

Have you been to Arranmore Island? Are you mad to check it out? Is there something you’d like me to add to the guide above?

Discover Arranmore have an excellent page on Facebook here and Instagram here (they show off the island on a daily basis). 

The island in Ireland looking for residents

Arranmore island ireland

You may have seen a story about Arranmore Island going viral earlier this year.

The island put out a call for US residents that may be open to relocating to Ireland, as it wants to build up its population, which has dropped to 469 people.

The island sent open letters to people from the US and Australia, in the hopes that they might consider moving there.

Or was it all just a very clever tourism campaign?

Either way, it got the attention of millions around the world (we received 324 emails from people who read this article and that were interested in moving to Arranmore).

Arranmore Real Estate

Arranmore Real Estate

That leads us to our next point – living on Arranmore.

I’ve received a CRAZY number of emails from Americans asking about Arranmore real estate since the open letter went viral.

There’s a number of different properties listed on Arranmore real estate websites at the time of writing.

If you’re debating moving, check out daft.ie to see what’s currently on sale!

Have a question about Arranmore Island in Donegal? Pop a comment in the comments section below!

Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!) You'll find everything from things to do in Ireland to where to stay in Ireland (unique and unusual places) if you have a nosey around!

7 COMMENTS

  1. Would Love information. I am a lawyer in Chicago Illinois named Brian McManus I am contemplating moving and working remotely, I would love information on the island as well as suggestions on residency

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