lnishmaan (Inis Meáin – the Middle Island)
Inishmaan is – as the name suggests – the middle island which is the least visited and the most laid-back island of the Aran island a good bit of sea either side separating it from the other two islands. It has a population of approximately 160 people, and is three miles long by two miles wide.
Inis Meáin offers the most peaceful and genuine experience of this unique landscape and culture. It is unusual to encounter anyone on scenic cliff walks to the south of the island, even in July or August. There is just one pub on the island where locals and visitors gather. This tranquillity and simple way of living are what make Inis Meáin special.
There are beaches on the eastern and northern part of the island. For those taking an interest in history and archaeology, there is the well preserved ringfort of Dún Chonchúir, the largest of two forts on the island. It sits on top of the highest hill and has an unusual oval shape with strong and high walls. These walls are 5m thick in places and hence thicker than those of Dún Aonghasa on Inishmore. It was built during either bronze or iron age and wasoccupied until Early Medieval times. The other fort on the island is called Dún Fearbhaí. Again this is one of unusal, almost rectangular shape, and it is located on the south-eastern side of the island, near the pier.
This island was a retreat for Synge, one of the most famous playrights to emerge from Ireland. More recently it has become a popular focus for the diving community with its beautiful marine life and clear waters.