Inis Mór is the largest of the three Aran Islands that lie in the mouth of Galway Bay. It is 14 km long and no more than 4km wide, with an area of 31 km2. Irish is still the native tongue, and it is a Gaeltacht area. The island is a beautiful landscape of karst limestone, spectacular sheer cliffs of 100m height along the south, and shallow bays fringed by wonderful dunes and machair habitat in the east. Sixteen habitats of European conservation value have been described for the island, making it an extremely diverse and valuable conservation area.
The landscape is a myriad of small fields enclosed by miles of fabulously constructed dry stone walls. These are testament to the centuries of hard work by farmers clearing the fields of stones and by adding seaweed, slowly building up the organic content of the sandy soil. It is both a cultural and natural landscape of inordinate conservation value, consequently almost 75% of the island is designated as a Special Area of Conservation.
In 2014, the Aran LIFE Farming Project was established to develop and demonstrate the best conservation management practices of local farmers on the designated land of the island (and its two sister islands Inis Meáin & Inis Oírr). The project focuses on farming activities, harnessing local farming knowledge and experience with the scientific expertise of other project partners to overcome some of the challenges of island farming and to improve the conservation status of the designated sites.
The offshore area is equally diverse with submerged reef communities supporting many rare and threatened biological communities, and many species found here are rare or elsewhere.
A total of 580 species have already been listed for Inis Mór. A list of the species can be downloaded here: Inis Mór species list.
The National Biodiversity Data Centre is delighted to partner the Aran LIFE Farming Project in hosting the Island BioBlitz on Inis Mór.
If you would like to help with the recording on Inis Mór contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information and to book accommodation see http://www.visitaranislands.com/