a VirtualTourist member from Newport
I'm off to County Clare in august and spending several days in Doolin, I know there are two or three ferry companies serving the Aran Islands but I am unsure as to how far in advance I'd need to book a ferry for a day trip to any of the islands. Is it possible to just turn up on the day or is advance booking required?
I'm just back from the Aran Islands myself and had a blast. They really are beautiful islands. I would highly recommend prebooking the tickets on line. August can be a very busy time on the islands and prebooked tickets would ensure your travel. Plus the tickets purchased on line can be 50% cheaper than down at the pier.
Aran Doolin Ferries, O’Brien Line Ferries and Doolin 2 Aran Ferries all provide services to the islands. For timetables check the following websites or contact them directly through the phone numbers below.
Aran Doolin Ferries – www.doolinferries.com ( +353 (0)65 7074 455 )
O’Brien Line – www.obrienline.com (+353 (0)65 707 5555 )
Doolin 2 Aran Ferries - www.aran-island-ferry.com ( +353 (0)65 7075949 )
All companies offer web booking and it is considerably cheaper to do this rather than buying direct from the company kiosks in Doolin. Prices can very considerably and it is good to shop around on line for the best deal. The different companies also offer different packages some including trips by boat to the Cliffs of Moher. We used O’Brien Lined who offer a Multi-Trip ticket which allows unlimited travel between the three islands and back to Doolin. The ticket remains valid until you return to Doolin and so is a great option for people who want to hop between the islands over several days (or even weeks!) The ticket is great value at €28.
The down side to the ferry travel is the erratic time keeping of the vessels and ports of call. Sometimes they may not stop at Inis Meain if the boat is too full for a pick up so make sure you have the company number to ring if you want to be sure that your boat is coming to pick you up or if you will have to wait for another. Not a problem if you have lots of time but can scupper your plans if you tight on time.
All the best and hope you enjoy the islands.
BTW I'm currently working on pages on the Aran Islands and they should be posted in the next week or two if you want to check them out later.
Many thanks, I'll be booking my trips online as suggested, thanks again!
All boats from Clare to Aran Islands leave from Doolin.
This page on the Doolin Tourism website shows all options :