Recently in Aranmore Category

Pádraic Connolly becomes a YouTube star

 Filming Pádraic Connolly a tPoll na Peist,  aka the Serpent's Cave or the Worm Hole on Inis Mór, for Tourism Ireland's online film highlighting the 'hidden gems' of County Galway

Galwayman Pádraic Connolly is doing his bit for tourism this year by presenting a short film on the 'hidden gems' of Co Galway on Tourism Ireland's website.  It is one of a series of ten short films or 'webisodes' which have already been viewed by almost 400,000 potential visitors around the world - see here for the video on

Pádraic Connolly takes a trip to the Aran islands

Tourism Ireland recently launched the series of films which feature real local characters from around the island of Ireland introducing their favourite 'hidden gems'.  Galwayman Pádraic Connolly was selected from the 1,000+ people across the island who applied to take part, to tell viewers and potential holidaymakers around the world about some of his favourite places in his home county. 

In the film, Pádraic takes the viewer on a journey around Connemara - highlighting the spectacular scenery and beautiful coastline.  He begins in Roundstone Harbour where he meets some of the local fishermen.  He continues to the beautiful Coral Strand at Carraroe and then it is on to his own birthplace, Rossaveal, and from there to Inis Mór.  Throughout the film, he regales the viewer with his many tales and legends - including a story about the local man who disappeared at the Worm Hole on Inis Mór!  He finishes his journey on Inis Oírr with its cluster of ancient ruins.

"Visitors repeatedly tell us that what distinguishes the island of Ireland from other destinations - what sets us apart from our competitors - is our people and our scenery", said Laughlin Rigby, eMarketing Manager, Tourism Ireland.  "This online movie, presented by Pádraic, provides an added dimension of information on the many attractions on offer in Co Galway, in a novel and entertaining way". 

"Customers are not just searching for the lowest fare any more; they are seeking information and recommendations on the perfect holiday experience - where to go, what to see and do and where to eat.  These movies complement our new global advertising campaign 'Go Where Ireland Takes You'.  The campaign has been designed to capture the spontaneity and fun of holidaying here and to show that some of the most wonderful and memorable experiences you are likely to have here will be stumbled on by chance", Rigby added.

The ten films or 'webisodes', which have been translated into five European languages, feature on Tourism Ireland's suite of 41 websites and are also being promoted in its main overseas markets on Yahoo.  The films will also feature on a new promotional DVD, which will be distributed to potential holidaymakers in the all-important GB market during August.  To see the films, visit

Inishmore - Signal Tower

A CONTROVERSIAL plan to turn a historic 19th century Lighthouse at the highest point of Inis Mór in the Aran Islands into a teahouse has been approved, despite seriolus concerns about the plans.

The lighthouse is one of the dominant landmarks of Aran, beside Dun Eochla, a major prehistoric monument of the island. Eochaill ( Oughill ) derives its name from Dún Eochla, a late Bronze Age ring fort. The name means Yew wood "Eo Choill".

This fort commands some of Aran's most spectacular views. From here, on a clear day 5 counties can be seen, Kerry, Limerick , Clare, Galway and Mayo.

To the west is the old signal tower; built in 1799 after the 1789 rebellion to protect Ireland's west coast from Spanish or French invasion. Similar buildings can be seen on Golam Island and Inis Oirr. Signals were sent by light and semaphores - flags.

Lighthouse and Signal Tower Beside this is the island's first lighthouse which began its short working life on a May Day 1818. Unfortunately the lighthouse was ill positioned and was blind to ships in the Gregory Sound and when rounding Earrach Island to the west. It was decommissioned when new lighthouses were constructed in Killeaney Bay and on Earrach Island to the west, though it was manned during both world wars. Hat tip Aran Pony & trap Tours

Dun Arann Lighthouse & Signal Tower

An appeal against the development by An Taisce, the national trust for Ireland has failed, and An Bord Pleanála has given the project the go-ahead.  A report by the planning inspector Louise Kiernan on 9 April last said "the proposed development would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area."

Lighthouse and Signal Tower

As often happens in Ireland, political pressure led to Galway county council granting permission for the controversial plan last yea. An Taisce then appealed the decision only to be overruled by An Bord Pleanála last week.

 Dun Arann Signal Tower and Lighthouse, both of which are National Monuments and Protected Structures are close to the development which is located in a designated Natural Heritage area and Special Area of Conservation. The archaeological fort of Dun Eochla, which is also a National Monument is close by. There is also a wedge tomb located between the subject site and Dun Eochla Fort. 

Inishmore - On The Road

An Bord Pleanála  previously ruled that "'The introduction of a modern house on the site of the Lighthouse and located in close proximity to Oghil Fort which is a National Monument, would be out of character with and seriously detract from the historical importance of the
Lighthouse and from the archaeological significance, natural setting and
tourism potential of Oghill Fort. "

It went on to say it would "would seriously injure the visual
amenities of the area and be contrary to the proper planning and development."

In her report Ms Kernan noted that the "Aran Islands by their nature are rich in archaeological finds. As such it is a very sensitive archaeological site.

Arranmore island's road-map for the future


Aranmore Island Donegal
Beautiful Ficker image of Aranmore from Maghery outside Dungloe, by Conal Houston of the Rosses in Co Donegal

By Eileen Magnier
The people of Arranmore Island off the coast of Donegal have launched a new development plan for the island. Residents of Ireland's second most populated island after Inis Mor, biggest of the Aran Islands, have warned that co-ordinated action is needed for a sustainable future.

The plan highlights the island's natural beauty but it also highlights a number of serious problems including its declining population, high unemployment and a decline in the Irish language.

There has been a steady fall in the population which now stands at 522 with most young people leaving as soon as they can for further education and better job opportunities. A quarter of islanders are unemployed and there is 56% male unemployment. Traditional fishing and agriculture have declined significantly. The age profile of islanders is increasing and there is a high dependency on social welfare and other state supports.

The level of fluency in the Irish language has dropped to 55% but the island's Co-op says there is great interest in the community in making Irish the main language of the island once again and they hope to employ an Irish officer to progress that.

The plan launched today, is described as a road-map for the future of the island which islanders themselves want to be part of implementing but they say they also need State support to make the plan a reality. They have identified nine areas to be addressed including the development of tourism and renewable energy projects and support for fishing and agriculture. Islanders say support is needed from State agencies to achieve their plan and Údaras na Gaeltachta Chairman Liam O'Cuinneagáin said he is optimistic the government will give its support. He said it is particularly important at times like this that we focus on creating employment and encouraging entrepreneurship.