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Tour of Inis Oir with Michael O'Flaherty


Tour of Inis Oir with Michael O'Flaherty

Jarvey, Michael O'Flaherty provides a tour around Inis Oirr.

Inis Oírr or Inisheer is the smallest and most eastern of the three Aran Islands in Galway Bay, Ireland. With about 260 permanent residents (2016 census), it is more populous than Inishmaan but less than Inishmore. Caomhán of Inis Oírr is the island's patron saint. There are five primary settlements on Inis Oírr, including Baile Thiar, Baile an tSéipéil (Chapeltown), Baile an Chaisleáin (Castle Village), Baile an Fhormna and Baile an Lorgain (Town of the shin-shaped hill).

The official name, Inis Oírr, was brought into usage by the Ordnance Survey Ireland. It may be a compromise between the traditional local name Inis Thiar and the previous official name Inis Oirthir.[1] There is no Irish word corresponding to the second element in the official name. It seems from the annals that the island's name always contained the element iarthar or thiar in the sense of "rear" or "back" island and not "west" as is the usual sense of this word. The form Inis Oirthir, used by the 17th century scholar Ruaidhrí Ó Flaithbheartaigh, seems to have arisen out of his own misreading of the annals.

The island is geologically an extension of The Burren. The terrain of the island is composed of limestone pavements with crisscrossing cracks known as "grikes", leaving isolated rocks called "clints".

The limestones date from the Viséan period (Lower Carboniferous), formed as sediments in a tropical sea approximately 350 million years ago, and compressed into horizontal strata with fossil corals, crinoids, sea urchins and ammonites.

Glaciation following the Namurian phase facilitated greater denudation. The result is that Inisheer is one of the finest examples of a Glacio-Karst landscape in the world.[citation needed] The effects of the last glacial period (the Midlandian) are most in evidence, with the island overrun by ice during this glaciation. The impact of earlier Karstification (solutional erosion) has been eliminated by the last glacial period, so any Karstification now seen dates from approximately 10,000 years ago and the island Karst is thus recent.[citation needed]

Solutional processes have widened and deepened the grykes of the limestone pavement. Pre-existing lines of weakness in the rock (vertical joints) contribute to the formation of extensive fissures separated by clints (flat pavement like slabs). The rock karstification facilitates the formation of sub-terrainean drainage.

The island is reached by ferry from Rossaveal in Connemara and Doolin in County Clare as well as from the other Aran Islands. There is also a regional airport on each island which is served from Connemara Regional Airport by AerArann. A pier was opened in Doolin in June 2015 for commercial ferries serving the island. Islanders travel by foot or car around the island. Tourists can avail of tours/taxi trips by horse and trap. Members of An Garda Síochána patrol on bike.



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