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 speak Irish to each other exclusively. Children usually leave the island for college and few return.
Inishmaan's scenery is breathtaking, with a jagged coastline of startling cliffs, empty beaches and fields where the main crop seems to be stone.The island 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. Inishmaan's down-to-earth islanders are largely unconcerned with the prospect of attracting tourists' euros, so facilities are few.