Oileán Árainn Mhór or ‘Great ridge’
Length: 5.5 miles
Width: 3 miles
Coastline: 17 miles
Distance from the coast: 3 miles (4 km)
Population: 522, rising to over 1000 in summer months
Arranmore Island, Oileán Árainn Mhór, is in the Donegal Gaeltacht (Irish speaking region), although the inhabitants are mostly bilingual. Arranmore Island is three miles from the Donegal mainland coast and has been inhabited since the early Iron Age (800 BC) - a prehistoric triangular fort can still be seen on the southern side. The western and northern parts are wild and rugged, scenery characteristic of the Rosses area of Donegal with hills, rocks, small lakes and spectacular cliff scenery. There has been a lighthouse on Rinrawros Point since 1798. A walking path, the Arranmore Way, circles the island and off the southwestern tip is Green Island, a bird sanctuary for corncrakes, snipes and a variety of seabirds . It is an ideal holiday location for walking, learning irish, hearing traditional Irish music, diving, bird-watching, cycling, pubs and nightlife and sea and lake angling. The clear waters and numerous marine life make it ideal for snorkeling and SCUBA diving. Two lakes have brown trout and one has Rainbow trout breeding naturally. Boats for sea angling can be hired and there are abundant cod, ling, conger eel, pollock, wrasse, skate, turbot and plaice. There are also many small secluded beaches in addition to the main beaches at Aphort and Leabgarrow. Arranmore is twinned with Beaver Island, Michigan since October 2000. The initial connection came about when Charlie O'Donnell, his wife and their three young children emigrated to Beaver Island after being evicted from their Arranmore home in 1851, at the height of the Irish famine. The Beaver Island memorial was constructed on Arranmore to commemorate the islands' joint history. The set of statues consist of a beaver (representing Beaver Island) and otter (representing Arranmore Island) and a fish representing the links between the two.
Learn more about the conditions on Arranmore during the famine by visiting Library Ireland were William Bennett writes of his unplanned visit to the island during the late 1840's.
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