An Idyll on Inis Meáin
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It’s no wonder that artists, writers, and naturalists have been drawn to the Aran Islands for centuries; the dramatic landscape—with its craggy shores, rich cultural life, and bird-watching opportunities—keeps them coming back. Just three miles long, Inis Meáin is the middle of the three Aran Islands, located off the coast of west Ireland. Native son Ruairí de Blacam (a chef), joined by wife Marie-Thérèse (a fashion designer from Cork), created Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites as a way to share their love of the island’s natural beauty and sturdy local food. Ruairí's uncle Shane (of Dublin-based architecture firm de Blacam & Meagher ) designed the low-slung, stacked-stone building, and Ruairí and Marie-Thérèse took charge of the interiors. The restaurant is adjoined by four rooms and an apartment suite. The season starts March 28 and runs through September 30; to book, visit Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites . Above: Fishing poles and bicycles are on hand for guests to use. Above: The building was inspired by the island's landscape of terraced limestone. Above: Locally sourced ingredients, including lobster and crab from local fishermen, are served in the dining room. Above: The rooms are simply furnished. In the off-season (October through March), the apartment suite is available as a self-service rental, with a fridge full of meals prepared by chef Ruairí. Above: The restaurant at dusk. Above: A long narrow window provides a panoramic view of the bay and the mainland.