The least-visited of the islands, with the smallest population, Inishmaan (Inis Meáin) is a rocky respite. Early Christian monks seeking solitude were drawn to Inishmaan, as was the author JM Synge, who spent five summers here over a century ago. The island they knew largely survives today: stoic cows and placid sheep, impressive old forts, and warm-hearted locals, who may tell you with a glint in their eye that they had a hard night on the whiskey the previous evening (there are no gardaí on the island to enforce last orders at the one pub). Inishmaan's scenery is breathtaking, with a jagged coastline of startling cliffs, empty beaches, and fields where the main crop seems to be stone.
Inishmaan is roughly 5km long by 3km wide. Most of its buildings are spread out along the road that runs east–west across the centre of the island. The principal boat landing is on the eastern side of the island, while the airstrip is in the northeastern corner. Inishmaan's down-to-earth islanders are largely unconcerned with the prospect of attracting tourists' euros, so facilities are few and far between.