How did ten exhausted volunteers from the Space Studies Program (SSP) pull over the most epic of all weekends to the Aran Island? With creativity of course!
“Unique” was on the cards for this adventure so it was a no brainer when we decided to head to the gorgeous Aran Islands. These islands are kinda like a step back in time for a few reasons: It’s hard to get to, and a lot of the houses and fences are made out of stones that are found on the island. Time was not on our side for this adventure and nor was the weather, but we were still to make a day of it to Inishmore.
We left our ten bed hostel in Lisdoonvarna (yes, where the world famous matchmaking festival is held every year) at some kind of crazy o’clock. A fine mist made for a moody horror film feel. We didn’t want to miss our ferry, so we made sure to head to the docks as quickly as possible.
As we arrived to the car park, the heavens opened and unleashed a godly amount of heavy rain. We donned our “once dry” and stylish rain jackets and pants set with layers upon layers of clothes under them just to keep us warm.
One by one, we stepped onto the plank as we boarded the Doolin Ferry to the Aran Islands. Next up for us, Inishmore. The deck hands pulled back the ropes and we were now sailing in the rain! What the ferry company didn’t disclose was our awesome adventure would be rough and tough! We didn’t care; we welcomed it! The waves were meters high and we floated in the ocean like a fishing bobber! Up and down.. up and down… we coasted along. A lot of the other passengers started to drop like flies. Multiple breakfasts went overboard as ferry goers found a good railing to hold onto whilst they attempted to make themselves feel better.
But the ten of us… well, we are hardcore. We watched the poor sick passengers one by one empty their stomachs. Up and down, the boat went as the waves lapped the deck of the boat. We actually asked the deck hand if it was going to get any better. He misunderstood our question for ‘is the ocean gonna get any flatter’, but it was the bigger waves that we wanted.
After our ferry stoped off at the other island to drop off passengers, we finally made it to the Inishmore. As we disembarked, we traded in our sea leg for land legs. We entered some firm negotiations with a local and then he took us to the other end of the island to see what else was on offer.
Food makes everyone happy so instead of dealing with 10 different hangry personalities, we decided that lunch was on the cards. We warmed up with bowls of soup and multiple cups of coffee. This is when we realised that we were ready to embark on an exploratory journey of Inishmore.
We headed up the rock lined hill – walking, walking… climbing and more walking. And then, we finally arrived to The Worm Hole. We were miles from civilisation surrounded by limestone walls. Below us was this beautiful rectangular pool. Could this be a portal to another dimension? We wanted to find out.
After navigating the rocky and rugged terrain, we were at the lip of the pool. We felt as if we were days away from modern life. Then, a few of my brave (or crazy) friends took upon themselves to go for a swim. I decided to sit out on this because i’m Australian and anything under 30 degrees is frickin cold.
There wasn’t much time left for us on this island as the ferry journey is a good 90 minutes, so we headed back to the docks boarded the boat and sailed back to civilisation. We took over the top deck like a bunch of castaways.
The ferry ride back to land was moderately flat and when we arrived back, we were all present and accounted for but, incredibly sad that our adventure was over. Would we do it again? Most definitely, but we would probably spend more time on the island. Defo… There’s actually loads to do that we weren’t able to experience.
A girl gone walkabout in the great big world!