The Wormhole of Inis Mór (Poll na bPéist) is one of Ireland’s hidden gems.
Although it looks like it was cut by some enormous machine, it is in-fact naturally-formed and folklore tells that it’s actually a serpent’s lair!
You can get to the Aran Islands Wormhole by bike and foot, but the journey comes with warnings, as you’ll discover below.
Some need-to-knows about Poll na bPeist: The Wormhole of Inis Mór
Right – let’s get you up-to-speed nice and quickly about the Aran Islands Wormhole. Take 20 seconds to read the following points:
Poll na bPéist can be found on Inis Mór – the largest of the three Aran Islands ((Inis Oirr and Inis Meain are the other two). It’s located near Gort na gCapall, just down the coast from Dún Aonghasa Fort.
2. Getting to it
If you take the ferry from Galway to the Aran Islands or the ferry from Doolin to the Aran Islands, you’ll be left at the pier on Inis Mór. You can then either walk or cycle to Poll na bPéist (more info below).
3. Never swim here
Despite what some travel sites say, the Wormhole of Inis Mór is 100% not somewhere you should swim. The currents here are strong and unpredictable and you could easily find yourself in a treacherous situation. Please keep your toes on dry land.
4. Good footwear needed
If you plan on walking to the Aran Islands Wormhole, or to Dún Aonghasa, you’ll need a decent pair of walking shoes. Both attractions require you to walk on uneven ground and good grip and ankle support is necessary.
5. Warning: Tide times
Many people want to get down to the lower level of the Wormhole. However, while it looks great in pictures, it should only be visited if you understand tide times. As many people don’t, we can only recommend visiting the upper section that gives you an aerial view of Poll na bPéist.
About Poll na bPéist
Although you’ll often hear it referred to as ‘the Serpent’s Lair’ and ‘the Wormhole of Inis Mór’, the official name for one of the Aran Islands most unique attractions is ‘Poll na bPéist’.
You’ll find Poll na bPeist around 1.6km south of the magnificent cliffside fort of Dun Aonghasa, on the west side of Inis Mór Island.
Although the finely-cut edges would lead you to believe that this is a man-made swimming pool, it was in fact formed naturally… which is a little bit mental to think, when you look at the photo above!
Poll na bPeist has a number of underground channels which connect to the ocean. When the tide is in, water rushes into the hole via an underground cave and forces the water over the edges, filling the hole from above.
A visit here is one of the more popular things to do on the Aran Islands and the area can get busy during the summer. The fact that the Banshees of Inisherin was shot close by will only increase its popularity.
How to get to the Wormhole
On the map above you’ll find rough outlines of the routes to the Wormhole. There are signs in place (faded red arrows…) that can be hard to follow, but keep an eye out for them.
Please do keep in mind that these are rough outlines and should only be used as a guide and never an exact trail to follow. Use caution when getting to the Wormhole as the cliffs are unfenced and the ground uneven.
Option 1: Cycle and walk
We’d always recommend renting a bike to explore the Aran Islands, if your mobility allows. You can rent a bike right at Inis Mór Pier and then set off for Gort na gCapall.
If you look at the map above, you’ll see the route that follows the lower road. This isn’t as smooth as the higher road, but it’s the ‘tourist track’ and a handier cycle.
It’ll take around 20 minutes to cycle to Gort na gCapall. You can leave your bike at point ‘B’ on the map. And it’s then a 20-minute walk to Poll na bPéist across very uneven and often slippery ground.
Option 2: From Dún Aonghasa
You can also walk to the Wormhole of Inis Mór from Dún Aonghasa. It’s just over a 1km walk and it takes 20-30 minutes each way, depending on pace.
You’ll find faded red markers on rocks here indicating the way. Note that you’ll need to climb over stone walls and walk along very uneven ground. Always stay well clear of the cliffs.
Yes, this is where the Red Bull Diving Series took place
If you’re looking at the pictures above and thinking that you’ve seen the Wormhole on Inis Mór before, the chances are you saw some of the videos from the Red Bull Diving Series that went viral in 2017.
Inis Mór was the first stop on the 2017 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Divers gracefully hopped into a sinking and swelling blowhole. Bricks would be shat…
Divers jumped from a diving board on the cliffs above down into the chilly waters below. Bash the play button above and feel your stomach twitch.
Things to do near Poll na bPéist
In recent months, we’ve looked at many of Ireland’s ‘hidden’ gems, like the secret waterfall in Donegal
It turns out there’s many a ‘hidden’ gem on Inis Mór. Hop into our guide on things to do on Inis Mór to discover loads of places to visit.
FAQs about the Wormhole on the Aran Islands
Since mentioning Poll na bPéist in a guide to the best things to do in Galway, we’ve had endless emails about the Aran Islands Wormhole.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
Can you swim in the Wormhole of Inishmore?
Although you’ll see pictures online of people doing so, it’s highly advised that you never enter the water here due to treacherous currents. It is a remote location with no lifeguards and poses a real risk to safety.
How deep is the Wormhole in Ireland?
You’ll see conflicting information online about this with many saying that it ranges between 150m (492 ft) and 300m (984 ft) in depth.
Is the Wormhole safe?
It is not safe to swim at the Wormhole on Inis Mor due to dangerous undercurrents that pose a real risk to safety. It’s widely advised that you avoid entering the water here.
Tom R Philadelphia
Thursday 7th of July 2022
The ranger at the fort pointed out the area of the worm hole to us from the cliff and we biked to the housing section and walked from there. There weren't any signs, just red arrows painted on rocks that we followed. My husband and I were the ONLY ones there and it felt like being the only people left on Earth. Was actually a very spiritual experience
John and Dee Smith, ex South Africa
Thursday 17th of March 2022
Enjoyed this walk down memory lane. When anyone gets to Inis Mor, please give our very best to Bride at The Pub. We were there in Oct 2016. It was a Fabulous trip!!
Monday 25th of May 2020
I have always wanted to travel back to where my family originated. But I cannot physically travel. Your site helps me look at places only mentioned by other family members. Keep it up I'm loving everything you do.
Monday 20th of April 2020
Hello Keith, improvisors from around the globe were supposed to be traveling to Ireland this week for an improv retreat with workshops, shows, Guinness and Jameson drinking. Many of us were going to be touring the island before and after the retreat. That all came crashing down. We are trying to salvage what we can (we are improvisors after all) and are taking a virtual trip to Ireland. I just found your site, and it will be a nice addition to our exploratory guides.
Monday 20th of April 2020
Ah, I know the feeling Joe! I was on a trip that had been planned for a long time and had to cut it short. We'll both be able to resume our adventures some time some.
Thanks for the kind words.
Wednesday 4th of March 2020
Hi. Love your site and have been reading up a bunch before my trip in July 2020. What is the best way to find the worm hole? I plan on renting bikes on Inishmore and was thinking of biking to Dun Aonghasa. Then I read another blog about getting to the Worm Hole and it looked like this person went the the little group of houses where on Google Earth it has "Liam O'Flaherty Commemorative Garden" and from there they found arrows directing to the worm hole? Others seem to say to walk from Dun Aonghasa. Thanks!
Friday 6th of March 2020
Cheers for the kind words!
If you nip into our guide to the Aran Islands, you'll find some directions on how to get there from the fort.
To be honest, I'm not familiar with the route from the house you mentioned (it could still be a perfect route to follow).
If in doubt, just ask the person that's renting out the bike to you - they'll be able to advise on the best route to take!
Have a brilliant trip!