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 a ferry, that accommodates up to 128 foot passengers and all sizes of vehicles, runs daily all year. The trip to the island affords spectacular views and takes between 25-30 minutes passing a number of small islands before crossing a stretch of open Atlantic water.
The proximity of Carrickfin International Airport (15 minutes by car to Burtonport pier) and there is accessibility provided by private coaches from Galway/Dublin/Belfast.
Driving in Arannmore, while possible, is not recommended. The quality of road surfacing is very poor in many areas, and many vehicles are uninsured or driven by unlicensed drivers. Walking is usually sufficient for travel to any destination on the island, and if neccessary, there is a local taxi service and occasional community bus available, details of which can be obtained locally.
- The coastguard station and the lighthouse, whose predecessor has warned seafarers from the islands shores since 1798, are situated on Rinrawros Point at the Northwest of the island providing a focal point for exploration of the surrounding area.
- The island has a unique collection of wildlife inhabitants. The three miles of open Atlantic ocean prevents access to and from the mainland for land based animals. As a result Arranmore lacks a large number of land animals which might be familiar to anyone living on the Irish mainland. Birdlife is not restricted by the sea and the absence of many of their natural predators means they can live and breed with relative ease on the island. This is reflected in the large number and variety of birds seen every year.
- Fishing Árainn Mhór boasts excellent lake and sea angling. There are two freshwater lakes which contain Brown trout and one, Loch Shore, is the only lake in Europe where Rainbow trout breed naturally. The rich waters around the island provide numerous Cod, Ling, Conger eel, Pollock, Wrasse, Skate, Turbot and Plaice. Boats for sea angling can be arranged locally by phoning Mickey "Eddie" Gallagher 00353(0)749520522 & Neily Boyle 00353(0)749520745. Another service which has just begun caters for tours and island hopping.
- Diving There are many small, secluded beaches on the island as well as the main beaches at Aphort & Leabgarrow. The crystal clear waters, shipwrecks, drift dives and varied marine life provide excellent snorkeling and Scuba diving. There are dedicated visitor moorings for yachts and cruisers on the island
- Walking Excellent views of the mainland from Glen Head to Tory Island are to be found while walking the islands 7 square miles. There is also a walking trail marked as "Arranmore Way" (Slí Árainn Mhóir).
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.
With no less than seven pubs, Arranmore is a pub crawler's dream. Given that there is no permanent Garda Siochana presence on the island, the pubs are usually lax in adhering to closing times, if at all.
- Phil Bán's A traditional-style Irish pub right near the ferry, and only metres away from the hostel door, Phil Bán's serves a good variety of drinks with a smoking area which leads directly onto the beach.
- Early's Bar Home to a group of devout Celtic FC supporters, Early's hosts occasional entertainment. The staff also serve pizza during certain hours.
- Smuggler's This venue is split in two. One part serves as a normal bar; the other is occasionally open as a nightclub area, usually at weekends and more often during the summer months.
- Neily's Run by a charming couple, this bar adjoins to the general shop next door. The staff are usually more than willing to fetch grocery itmes from next door if required, and even to sell beer for 'take-out'.
- Arranmore House Hotel Phone: +353(0)749520918
- Glen Hotel Phone +353(0)749520505
- Brú Árainn Mhór. Phone +353(0)749520014
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