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What a fantastic way to see Galway Bay and the sights of the Aran Islands from a small plane. This is a very unique tour and now I can check it off my bucket list -- traveling in a very small aircraft where the pilot was so close that you could watch as he flew the plane. The Island itself is very small and the food at the cafe was outstanding. The locals were very friendly and helpful.
Kim L Australia
My recommendation is based on the history and beauty of the island only. I wouldn't go by rail as we were escorted all the way from Dublin to Galway on the train, which was not needed. It was just Mum and I and another couple of ladies who were doing another tour. This also happened on our return journey to Dublin. My recommendation during the winter months is not to provide the escort, as we are all adults and can find our seats, as per the package provided to us in Dublin for our day trip. Once in Galway we were offloaded to a transfer bus to the airport for the Aran Islands scenic flight. This was an amazing way to see the islands, in a little 8 seater plane with the locals and a pet dog, which was interesting... Once we got to the island, we were not greeted by a tour guide, which is what we thought we had paid for! No we were given to a local bus transfer driver on the island, where they do local stops for the people from the plane and we get a spiel on the island while he did his bus stop rounds. Very weird and not a pleasant experience, as he did not introduce himself or tell us about our day tour plan. We proceeded to the ruins, where we were told to get off, do our thing and then he'd meet us again in an hour. The ruins were spectacular, but I was imagining them bigger than they were due to the photos I had seen and you were not allowed to climb on the ruins, so it really was a quick visit to see such an amazing place. Once back aboard our local bus, we were taken to the seven churches which was an interesting site, but I would like to have seen more of the other ruins and history of the island, but we just seemed to be an inconvenience and shuffled from one place to another. We did get to visit the Aran Wool Mill, which was a highlight for my Mum. The experience on the island wasn't great for us and this needs to be explored by the tour company further. On our return to Galway, we did get a couple of hours to explore Galway further, which was great fun.
Our trip to Aran Islands (Inis Mor) was very different. The actual travel time is quite lengthy, but that is because we left from Dublin. Next time we will leave from Galway, The flight was exciting, and the views from the air amazing. Our tour bus driver was a local, and his bus very old. It actually broke down and we had to wait for another bus to come get us. It was all part of the adventure! Beautiful scenery!
This trip is really three one day tours, with a hotel in Galway. You wait until the other people coming on the tour take the train from Dublin, so you get a late start and see less than you might. Still, the Cliffs of Moher and Connemara days were good. They were spent on one bus, with one guide all day.
The Aran Islands day should be the highlight, but Railtours totally mishandles that one. They keep passing you off from person or operator to the next. Leaving you someplace with instructions that someone will pick you up in 10 minutes or some other time. They are late, then once they get there, they make you wait until others from some other tour come or they look for more customers.
There was no continuity and so much time was wasted that we saw less and were rushed at what we did see. Frankly, we started worrying that no one would show up at all. And all that time spent waiting, was time that we could have been enjoying the Island.
The hotel in Galway is probably fine in the winter, but having no air conditioning was a real problem The window opens out a tiny bit at the bottom, not enough to let air flow. There is no fan.
But noises from outside do get in. Young people screaming until late at night, what sounded like thousands of birds calling when the dawn starts to brake and then the city vehicles picking up trash and doing other things. We had two straight nights of hardly any sleep.
While the overall tour was quite good, we felt that things could have been organised a bit better - right from sharing some more information about the full itinerary, hand-offs to local tour guides (which wasn't exactly done too well), managing the time overall (for e.g. we were left off at Galway Rail station by the bus driver who drove us from Connemara but there was no one there to guide us further). We completed the tour at Galway much earlier than the scheduled time (dont know why, was something omitted?) and then had to ring up Railtours to check whether we could board the earlier train to Dublin instead of waiting for 2 hours for the planned one. The person on Railtours was nice and promised to ring back but never did. So I called up again whereupon he told me that we could take the earlier train back. The place by itself (Aran islands) are nothing to rave about (in fact a pretty big disappointment) with the only highlight being the 8-minute flight from Connemara to the islands (was quite exciting and organised well). Overall, Not bad is the best rating we can garner for this particular tour.
I really didn't get a lot of sleep as I was up late with friends in Temple Bar the night before my tour of the Aran Islands, but I'm so happy that I choose this tour!! The drive around Galway, especially around Conamara is stunning! The Galway airport is very small, but perfect for my flight out to the Islands. The plane was tiny, about 8 people plus the pilot total on the flight out. There are three Islands, but I only went to the biggest one, Inis Mor, and it was amazing to see a whole different way of life. The residents of the Island are so sweet and really proud of their home. There is so much rural beauty to take in throughout the whole area. My advise is to go and explore and don't forget to climb and take lots of pictures of the very famous Dun Aonghasa!!
We had a great trip for three day tour and wish that we had time for the four day tour.The whole thing was Wow! We were given friendly knowledgable tour guides who were ever courteous and brilliant at thier jobs and professions,We were escorted by rail and bus and saw magnificent castles which had been restored to thier original pristine grandeur and estates and of course the amazing Cliffs of Moher which was truly magnificent.On the third day we were taken by plane to the largest of the Aran Islands where we saw the magnificent ancient settlements from the Bronze Age.We love the whole tour and were sad when it came to an end.Please do experience this beautiful tour!
Fabulous tour of the beautiful Aran Islands.........long train from Dublin but well worth the trip to see the magnificent sights on this Island.....One of the highlights of my trip to Dublin.....thanks Mike and crew....Karen and Kevin
Joyce S USA
This was a fantastic trip in parts. First, our train to Galway was late so everything ran behind schedule. The plane to the Aran Islands was absolutely beautiful. You are transported by van to the small airport. Here you view a safety video and are weighed. The purpose of this is so they know where to seat passengers in the plane. The whole ride took about 15 minutes. The Aran Islands are indescribably beautiful-that part of the trip is a five star. You have ample time for a snack and to look at/purchase jewelry, woolen items, etc. that are made on the islands. Because of our late train, we ran behind schedule and had NO time at all in Galway-that was the minus part. However, the trains cannot be controlled, but it is something to keep in mind.
HEATHER B United Kingdom
This trip was simply the best - lovely scenery, well planned , and everything or more than we could of wished for. The Aran Islands are worth a vist - even if I am scared of little planes! This was a lovely train journey, a lovely tour in Connamara and flight to Inis Mor.
Although a long day with the train, airplane, and van ride once at the Aran Islands, it was well worth the effort. The train ride both ways was scenic and we had very good guides. The airplane ride was short but fun, always thrilling to ride in a small plane! THe Aran Islands were beautiful and interesting. We liked that our group was small making it not feel like a big tourist outing.
We had never been to Ireland before. When we first booked this trip we were concerned about how the tour would be handled. We were delighted with the way the Rail Tours of Ireland handled everything. It was by far the best tour we went on, in Ireland. The train was very comfortable with Wifi on board. Very quiet and lots of drinks and snacks if you wanted them. The transfer to the bus was quick and easy and the bus was very comfortable. They stopped midway for breaks and snacks. At the airport they handled everything just like any airport. You had to weigh in and then you boarded the plane. It was a twin engine 6 passenger plane and the flight was really great and what a view! Aran islands is a very unique place. We have visited lots of Islands but this one was worth the trip. You get a great tour of the island and stop at a great little PUB. Great Guiness! Also you must see the fort it is amazing. A real trip into the ancient past. I give these folks an A+ for this tour. A must do if you go to Ireland!
This was the best tour I have ever been on. The people who worked for Viator were friendly and very accomidating. You will not be disappointed with this company.
I would like to share a personal experience. My tour took a short flight to the Aran Islands. By the end of the day the fog had rolled in and we could not fly off the island. The tour group booked us passage on the ferry back to Galway. We missed the train leaving Galway returning to Dublin becasue the ferry was slower, however once again there were no worries for us because the tour group put us directly on the correct bus back to Dublin.
You cannot control Mother Nature, however Viator took control of the cards that were dealt and ensured we arrived back to our original destination completely safe.
I will always use this company in the future.
The trip to Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran Islands was wonderful. The tour guide on the island, Bernie, was great, very knowledgeable, funny. He must have kissed the Blarney Stones many times.
The Aran Islands are amazing. We were met at the train station in Dublin, and our guide traveled to Galway with us, making sure we were in the proper railroad car. We were walked over to our shuttle to the Galway airport. After getting to the airport 40 minutes later, we took a 7 minute flight to the big island. The scenery was amazing. We were blessed with a sunny day, and although it was cool, the island was fantastic and the service we received from our guides was great. We didn't get any time at all in Galway to shop, or this would have been a 5 star rating.
Malcolm H USA
The guide did not have us on the roster for the second day, and as a result we almost were excluded from the Aran Island part. The tour service on the Aran Islands simply took us to the bronze age fort, dropped us off and then returned two hours later and dropped us off in town again, with no real tour of the island. That was unsatisfactory. Otherwise the guides were excellent first and third day, especially Connemara.
The trip to the Aran Islands was more than we expected. It was perfectly executed. We met our guide who took care of us on the train and got us to the bus. The bus trip and flight were all done very well. It was a wonderful experience. When the trip in Galway was over, we had a guide who got us back on the train. It was perfect.
Joseph P USA
The Aran Islands were beautiful. Such a small, quaint, cool place to visit. The main fort was really scenic, it sits on top of a huge cliff with crashing waves and beautiful scenery. The tour guide was funny and very knowledgeable. I even enjoyed the train ride from Dublin to Galway because I got to see a good portion of the Irish countryside.
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