Arranmore Island is an island in The Rosses, County Donegal.It is the largest inhabited island in County Donegal, and the second largest in all of Ireland, with a population of 528 in 2006, down from 543 in 2002, and over 600 in 1996.
The island lies 3 miles off Burtonport and can be accessed by ferry boats that run daily all year. There are two larger ferries that can accommodate vehicles up to 128 feet long in addition to foot passengers, as well as a smaller "fast ferry" which can accommodate only foot passengers. Travel time on the larger ferries is around 15-20 minutes, while the fast ferry travels from port to port in about 5 minutes. The two larger ferries are owned by separate companies and as such, if you travel to the island on one boat, you must return to the mainland on the same vessel or you will be charged twice. As of Summer 2009, the current rate per person is €15 and can be paid either at the ticket office in Burtonport or while on the ferry in-transit. However, if you travel to the island during after hours, the price will likely be higher and can cost €50. www.arranmorefastferry.com 00353(0)87 3171810
If you leave your vehicle behind at the Burtonport pier, parking is limited, but free. On a particularly busy day, it is possible that you may be "boxed-in" by other parked cars if they do not leave you enough room, so plan accordingly. While no official security for parked cars is provided, the parking area is within close view of both ferries when they are docked and locals and ferry operators alike will not allow suspicious behavior to go unquestioned.
The trip to the island affords spectacular views, passing a number of small islands before crossing a stretch of open Atlantic water. Carrickfin International Airport is about 25 minutes by car from the Burtonport pier and there is accessibility provided by private coaches from Galway/Dublin/Belfast.
Walking is usually sufficient for travel to any destination on the island, and if necessary, there is a local community bus available, details of which can be obtained locally.
Árainn Mhór is an Irish-speaking area of the country, though the inhabitants often choose to speak English for convenience. However, any Irish speaker is most likely to find a willing conversation partner in any of the local public houses.
Arranmore is certainly no shopper's paradise! There is a grocery shop that serves the immediate needs of the inhabitants and visitors. Otherwise, serious shopping has to be done on the mainland, in Dungloe or even Letterkenny.
The island has a hotel and restaurant near the ferry landing, and Phil Bán's shop nearby stocks groceries for the self-catering hostel. There is also sometimes a portable 'chip-van' outside popular venues, most often at weekends and holidays, and more often during the summer months.
The public house "Early's", also near the ferry, serves pizza made on the premises on request.