Yoga, bike rides, and nature walks are all excellent choices to get your body and mind feeling great. You can also head out to sea with us, throw a line into the ocean, and hook your supper. Take in some history and culture with visits to Inis Meáin’s megalithic forts, Synge’s Cottage, and the knitwear factory, or sign up for lessons and try your hand at a bit of Gaelic. There also are some great venues for fine dining and festivity, besides our own of course. If food’s your thing, why not sign up one of Tig Congaile’s cooking demonstrations. Or, curl up, grab a book from our library, and lose yourself. What do you want to do during your stay?
What better way to start your day than with a yoga class with our resident instructor? We offer a blend of Hatha Flow and Vinyasa yoga for practitioners of a variety of abilities. Get centred and energized so you can appreciate every moment of your island getaway!
We also have a limited stock of yoga mat bags for sale. These handcrafted protective covers are made with vibrantly coloured Guatemala textiles. Each one is unique.
Love food? Why not get up close and personal with all those yummy flavours, and learn some of the methods of a professional kitchen? We reveal (some of) our recipes and show you what goes into getting the right ingredients from source to plate. Upcoming demonstrations are announced on our Facebook page, or contact us to find out more!
Fancy a day out on the sea? We run fishing trips on our very own boat. When you get back to dry land, you can send your catch to our kitchen, and then have it served to you, with accompaniments, for lunch or dinner. Please give us a little bit of notice if you’d like to take part in a fishing trip so we can prepare the boat.
A cycle around the island is a lovely, leisurely way to take it all in, whether you’re aiming for solitude or to visit some of the island’s attractions. We can have a bike or two (or even three) ready and waiting for you at the B&B.
Nature walks / Rambling:
Stretch your legs and take in some fresh air as you take a stroll around the island. The Aran Islands have a surprising variety of flora due to their unique climate and geological characteristics. Inis Meáin boasts over 300 species of plants – and there is fauna to match. Bird watchers will be delighted with the variety of birds found on the islands; everything from kestrels to plovers to puffins. The Aran Islands also have an endemic species of bumblebee. Wander aimlessly or follow one of the three loop walks on the island.
There are two stone forts (dúns) on Inis Meáin, built on opposite ends of the same ridge. No one can say with certainty who built the dúns nor what their significance was, although they feature in mythic record as forts of the Fir Bolgs.
Dún Chonchúir (Conor’s Fort) is the larger structure. It has a D shape and several terraces in the inner enclosure, which measures approximately 70m x 40m. Some consider it the best preserved of the larger Aran Island dúns. It has not been accurately dated and is thought to have been constructed in either the bronze or iron age.
Dún Fearbhaí (also known as Dún Mur) is smaller and was built in between 700 and 900 AD. It has a square plan, which is unique amongst the Aran Island dúns, and is thought to have been built as a harbour defence.
Teach Synge and Cathaoir Synge
John Millington Synge, the writer best known for plays such as “Riders To The Sea” and “Playboy Of The Western World”, was undoubtably influenced by the time he spent on Inis Meáin. He wrote, “Every article on these islands has an almost personal character, which gives this simple life, where all art is unknown, something of the artistic beauty of medieval life.” He spent five summers on the Aran Islands which resulted in a non-fiction work, “The Aran Islands”, and proved to be seminal for his fiction.
The cottage that he stayed in during his time on Inis Meáin, Teach Synge, has been converted into a museum in which an important slice of Synge’s life may be glimpsed.
Synge was a contemplative soul and he had a favourite quiet spot on the island. He constructed a small barrier of stones in a ring around this spot, presumably to provide shelter from the wind, and the little structure is now known as Synge’s Chair or Cathaoir Synge. There you may sit and contemplate, as Synge once did, as you look out towards Galway Bay.
Inis Meáin Knitting Co.
Knitwear on the Aran Islands provided the islanders with warm, well fashioned garments for a cold, challenging environment. The garments are distinctive because of their use of a variety of stitch patterns, often featuring cabling on the chest. As many people do, the islanders drew inspiration from their environment and some of the patterns tell a story of island life. For example, the basket stitch represents a fisherman’s basket, and the typically-featured cabling is representative of the ropes and lines of a fisherman’s daily life. Other patterns express a wish that the wearer will be endowed with certain qualities or receive good fortune. The honeycomb stitch expresses the hope that the wearer will manifest some of the industriousness of the bee, and diamond stitches are meant to attract wealth. And, while unconfirmed, some people believe that individual patterns are also clan markers, in much the same way that Scottish tartans are indicative of lineage.
The Inis Meáin Knitting Co. has built on the tradition of the Aran jumper and produces high-fashion knitwear using the world’s finest yarns.
Fine Dining and Festivity
As proud as we are of our own restaurant, we know that a little bit of variety never hurt anyone. For an excellent fine dining alternative, we would recommend our friends at the Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites. An Dún also whips up some worthy fare.
To catch a bit of the island’s social life the best place to head to would be the pub, which still stands in the same place as it did over a century ago. We’ll gladly give you directions. It’s not too hard as it is a short 5-10 min walk around the corner from Tig Congaile B&B.
Another local hangout is the bar at the Inis Meáin Hotel (or Ostan Inis Meáin), where there is sure to be some craic to be found.