Owned by the O’Briens of Connemara, this family has an enduring relationship with the Aran Islands since they began to trade turf there in the early 1900s.
Aran Island Ferries co-founder, Paddy O’Brien, worked as a helper on his father Michael’s, Galway Hooker, ‘An Tónaí,’ carrying passengers (along with turf!) to the Aran Islands when the turf trade started to decline. Paddy remembers the 4 a.m. departures when arrival time was unknown. It could take 12 hours (or longer) to reach the islands. However, travel time to the island shortened when Michael installed the boat’s first engine in 1969 for £830 (Irish Pounds).
Our grandfather, Mike O'Brien, bringing turf to the Aran Islands in his Galway Hooker, 'An Tónaí', with his son in 1966.
Inspired by his father’s work, Paddy and his wife Sally, bought the ‘Dún Aengus,’ a 48-seater in 1983, and the first domestic ferry with a passenger license on the west coast.
Today, the O’Brien family: Susan, Sharon, Cian and Niall, run the business, expanding ferry capacity throughout the years to ensure a safe, comfortable journey for passengers. ‘An Tonaí’ is long retired but still takes part in the Galway Hooker regattas, keeping the tradition alive.
Saoirse na Farraige - Freedom of the Sea - Passenger capacity 394 - 40 metre monohull
Ceol na Farraige - Music of the Sea - Passenger capacity 294 - 37 metre Wavemaster monohull
Draíocht na Farraige - Magic of the Sea - Passenger capacity 294 - 37 metre Wavemaster monohull
Glór na Farraige - Voice of the Sea - Passenger capacity 244 - build by Alfa Naval, France
Banríon na Farraige - Queen of the Sea - Passenger capacity 188 - build by Societe Francaise de Constructions Navales, France.
Prepare for a warm Irish welcome as you board the luxury Aran Island Ferries vessels (including a full bar and refreshment service) from the sheltered fishing harbour of Rossaveel in Connemara, Galway.
The ferries are available for private charter as well as their regular scheduled sailings.
The department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media subsidizes life-line transport services for inhabited offshore islands. Transport services for 19 islands are subsidized by the department under various agreements covering passenger ferry (including road transport in some cases), cargo ferry and air transport services.