>  Blog!   >  Aer Arann Islands Review – Connemara to Inis Mor, Return
Aer Arann Islands review

Not since my very rough, terribly hungover intra-island flight between Honolulu and Maui a few years ago have I set foot on a small aircraft, but with the same friend visiting me as from that stoic trip, I thought there was no better time than to book a flight out to the Aran Islands and finally have the chance to write up an Aer Arann Islands review.

As they say, history repeats itself, and so it was with a deep sense of regret and nerves that we set off from the house in Limerick early on a Saturday morning nursing – guess what – a hangover worthy of an entire pack of paracetamol and a breakfast grill.

But no time for either of those, because our first unfortunate discovery was that Aer Arann Islands flies from Connemara Airport, as opposed to whatever airport is on the outskirts of Galway and visible from the motorway from the Limerick – which I had very mistakenly just assumed was the right one. Not off to a great start.

Thankfully, one phone call to Aer Arann Islands later and we were assured that they’d do their best to accommodate us on the later morning flight, at 11:30am, very helpfully.

Connemara Airport is functional and somewhat barebones, but I can’t express enough how little time you need to actually spend here – there’s free parking, a (clean) set of toilets, a sitting area, a check-in counter and what, I presume, is occasionally either a shop or bar, but was closed during our brief visit.

Aer Arann Islands - Connemara Airport

Check-in was an incredibly speedy, and personalised, process – we declared who we were, got weighed one by one, provided with boarding cards for outbound and inbound, and then assured we’d be called when the time came for boarding; you’d be surprised how busy this little airport seemed to get.

We waited, availing of whatever came closest to electrolyte supplements from the vending machine in a shoddy effort to stave off continuing sore heads, while gazing out over the apron – and the incredible speed the aircraft taxied in, unloaded, reloaded, and headed back out again.

Aer Arann Islands - Connemara Airport

Before long, we were called forward and given our seat assignments, by row, as we walked out to our aircraft.

Once on-board, our pilot briefly checked we were all comfy and ready to go, before taxiing straight out onto the runway and down to the end, to make a full 180 turn to give us the full stretch for take-off.

After a brief pause while the captain checked over the instruments and controls, the plane roared (it’s pretty loud in there!) to life and we went catapulting down the runway – with a horizon occupied entirely by views of the sea in the very near distance slowly causing me increasing concern.

In reality, we got airborne very quickly and before long were looking down over the coastline as we climbed to a level that both significantly reduced my fear of an imminent encounter with the water, while still permitting amazing views of the ocean, the mainland landscape, and forward out towards the Aran Islands themselves.

Aer Arann Islands - Take-Off

The flight is amazingly short – we were aloft for not much more than about 7 minutes, before a sharp right turn brought us very unexpectedly in line with the runway at Inis Mor and we very quickly descended down towards the threshold.

For those of us used to large commercial aircraft and relatively mega airports, landing at Inis Mor is just such a novelty – the plane really angles down towards the runway as you cut height on final approach, while the runway looks far too short and undulating to be of much help in bringing you to a stop.

However, stop we did, and only about halfway down the runway – with a very short, high-speed taxi to the apron at Inis Mor Airport, disembarking and finding ourselves ‘landside’ again within moments.

We were offered the ‘airport bus’ into town, and with neither cash nor any idea of cost between all three of us, we just hopped in. Absolutely everything seasoned travellers probably aren’t supposed to do, but how and ever. For those who need to know however, the driver did inform us before departing that (as of May 2024), it’s 7 euro return and cards as well as cash are indeed accepted.

Briefly, to cover our return journey – we were dropped right at the airport by airport bus once again, which is a few km’s away from ‘town’, and quickly checked in. Inis Mor Airport is even more spartan than Connemara Airport, but again, more than does what it needs to do; once again, a clean set of toilets, and a check-in desk. There’s also some interesting reading material about the history of air connectivity for those keen to know more, adorning the walls.

Aer Arann Islands - Inis Mor Airport

Once again, we were quickly called forward for boarding, and provided our seat rows on the way out to the plane. Boarding was wrapped up within moments and we were, once again, quickly taxiing back down to the end of the runway to afford ourselves the full length for take-over.

Aer Arann Islands - Aircraft

Take-off was punctuated by a lovely low fly-over of Inis Mor before heading back out over the ocean for our short jaunt back to Connemara.

Aer Arann Islands - Inis Mor

Overall, while this is a pricey way to get out to the Aran Islands and presumably is more intended as essential air connectivity for islanders, this is a definite once-in-a-blue-moon must-do experience for tourists visiting the islands, and offers wonderful scenery and views over the course of the short journey. And, having missed our original flight, which I would absolutely not advocate doing, the whole team at Aer Arann Islands really couldn’t have been friendlier and more accommodating. Definitely an experience to be tried!

Reformed backpacker & former ultra-cheap traveller, Andy now atones for his past by overspending on premium travel experiences and failing at making the most of the miles & points game. Former expat now returned to Ireland, he is a product manager by day, and travel aficionado by evening and weekend.

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