Inisheer (Inis Oírr), the smallest of the Aran Islands at roughly 4km wide by 2km long, has a palpable sense of enchantment, enhanced by the island's windflower-strewn landscapes, deep-rooted mythology and enduring traditional culture.
The wheels of change turn very slowly here. Electricity wasn't fully reliable until 1997. Given that there's at best 15cm of topsoil to eke out a living farming, the slow conversion of the economy to tourism has been welcome. Day-trippers from Doolin (as many as 1000 on a balmy summer weekend), 8km across the water, enliven the hiking paths all summer long. Facilities are still limited, however, so visitors need to come prepared.