_A316802Welcome to The Aran Artisan–writings and photographs that document life on our family homefarm on Inis Mor, one of the Aran Islands in County Galway, located off the west coast of mainland Ireland.

We moved here in February 2007 from my home state of Maine in the U.S. as my husband Johnny always wanted to return to his homeland and I always dreamed of living on an island.  It felt like an ideal opportunity and has turned out to be a decision that has brought us much joy.

Our idealism is expressed in the tagline “Making a living by creating every aspect and ingredient of daily life.” These are the words of a friend who used them to describe our family. Yes, it’s a bit of an exaggeration, but we like it.

We combine traditional skills with modern techniques and tools while working our farm & gardens, preparing food for storage & the table, foraging the island & surrounding ocean, as well as crafting & other projects.


We’ve chosen this way of living because we love gardening, eating our own fresh food, and what we don’t grow ourselves, we want to be sourced as close to home as possible. We also get great satisfaction from diy, crafting, and creating with our hands. But mostly, we live this way because we really enjoy working together. It feels a lot less like work when you love it so much!

Our five children know that real food doesn’t come from a box and are accustomed to sitting around a table and eating together as a family.  We also teach them that manners matter, the importance of being attentive beyond their own selves, and that keeping the peace is more important than being right.

I hope you enjoy your visit, Melissa Xx

p.s. More about how I met Johnny and came to move to Ireland are in my post ‘I Live in Aran’.

*credit for above photos goes to http://www.melissamannion.com/

I took this photo on self timer:



  1. Maggie Beck says:

    Good morning! I look forward to perusing your site, and hope that someday I have the opportunity to wander your tide lines. I have not visited Ireland (and family in Mullingar) since 1983. I am due, don’t you think? Best (and Happy Thanksgiving), Maggie

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ireland will always be here. Feel free to pop in if ever on the island. We’re pretty easy to find and our beaches are beautiful (aren’t they all!) Your photos are stunning. The beach is my special place too. Happy Thanksgiving to you also, we are five hours ahead of you so dinner is in half an hour here. Take care now. Melissa

    Liked by 1 person

  3. BellyBytes says:

    Thanks for dropping by and following my site. You’re right about people in different places having more things in common than we imagine. My husband actually has a nephew living in Ireland and who was born in Galway so who would have imagined someone in Bombay actually having an Irish connection?

    Liked by 2 people

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  6. Serendipitously found your blog. Love your photo – is that your cottage? I’ve been coming to Ireland since I was 4 and am now bringing guests – but have yet to visit the Aran Islands. They are one of two places on my “must see” list. I was on my way there a few years ago, but woke to lashing rain and wind whipping the sea into a white froth that made me say “no” to the ferry. Hopefully next summer. Am following and enjoying your blog. Best regards.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You did good to trust your instincts regarding that ferry trip on such a day! Yes, it is our home pictured, my husband’s mum grew up in it. We have renovated it as it was desperately needed. You won’t regret a visit here on a fine day. It’s just heaven. Melissa Xx

      Liked by 1 person

    • Life is good and I take none of it for granted. Your science blog is great! Really unique and colorful 🙂 . Amazing jellyfish– I am an ocean swimmer and every time I see one I get a bit of a panic, an uncontrollable response!

      Liked by 1 person

    • So disappointed that I could not get many of your pages to translate, couldn’t get your About therefore didn’t understand your connection to Ireland. Irish has been a real challenge for me to learn; I actually know very little sadly, but the islanders all know English so I get by 🙂 Nice to connect with a fellow Aran-er from not too far away. Melissa Xx


      • adhmad58 says:

        I lived in Ireland for three years, while studying Early Irish Lang. & Lite. I hiked a lot of hills, islands, old ruins an some pubs 😉 Mainly, I love Ireland and its History, people and landscape. Not as brave as you to venture in another country, but quite near. Thanks for your photos.

        Liked by 1 person

    • You have such variety! A real peak into your mind. I felt like I had been on your blog before, ? Your poetry is lovely, as is your choice in pizza–loved them both 🙂 . I like the way you look at the world and interpret it through your words. Xx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Anonymous says:

    I love your blog. I am half Highlander and half Yorkshireman. I can connect with you and where you live, so I am very much looking forward to reading your posts.


  8. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    Hi. Just wanted to email you to say I have nominated your blog for a Liebster Award! The nomination comes as a way to foster connections and bring new readers to sites like yours. There are a few ‘things to do’ which I have outlined on my post:
    It is totally up to you if you want to take this on – I will admit that I have thought about it for a while. But if you do, I hope you have some fun with it.
    I really enjoy your blog and this is my way of saying well done to you.
    Murtagh’s Meadow

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a great compliment it is that you featured my blog on this weeks ‘Roaming Around’ 🙂 . Such a dedication you have to recognizing other writers you enjoy. Thank you for all your kind words. I hope you enjoy the orzo salad. I have found some interesting and delicious recipes from fellow bloggers myself and am chuffed you chose to try one of mine. Enjoy the rest of this Sunday. Xx


  9. Donna George says:

    It looks like you have all the stuff that makes a happy content life. My family migrated from Ireland and I want so deeply to visit there. I traveled so much with my career I haven’t drummed up the energy to remotely get close to the airport, but soon. Great blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I mentioned the ACORN catalogue: all kinds of stuff–about TV/BBC/PBS, gifts, AND real Aran sweaters, made in the village of Monasterevin, County Kildare. Others come from Westport, County Mayo. They run from $119-$139.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JoHanna, I read this message this morning and didn’t have time to reply, being St. Paddy’s Day and all, rushing off to the parade. But it made my day! Your welcome and a huge thanks right back at you for taking the time to make this comment. Little things mean so much and your encouragement is huge for me. Melissa

      Liked by 1 person

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  12. tjparis says:

    Just discovered your blog. As a father of 5 too I am very much looking forward to reading about your adventures and already love what you are trying to do from your description above. Best wishes from Western Australia! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t meet many with five children, so it is quite a pleasure to become acquainted with you and have that in common. Thank you for your lovely words about our life adventure. I would hope to visit Australia some day, on the bucket list!

      Liked by 1 person

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      • Irish blood runs to every corner of the world, I’m just continuing the tradition.
        Speaking of, I’m going to be moving to Bangladesh in a month so it will be awhile until I get the opportunity to see the islands for myself. I’ll have to experience them vicariously through you and your family for a little longer.
        Thank you so much for the offer of a visit and if you find yourself in Dhaka you know who to call!

        Liked by 1 person

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  16. I’ve been on your island three times. My father’s side of the family hails from Inis Mor. The ideal place, in my heart, for life. I’m thrilled to see a blogger from there. We have cousins who live there still. I look forward to seeing a little bit of my soul in your posts. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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  18. Susanne says:

    How nice that you live at Inis Mór! Ireland is our second home (although now it should be our third, since we go more often to Italy these days), we used to live in West Cork. We went to Inis Mór once when my husband’s parents were visiting. Nice to find your blog!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Susanne! Apologies for not responding sooner to your lovely note. Not sure how I missed it but am certainly appreciative for the lovely surprise. I have a sister-in-law from Clonakilty and have really enjoyed my visits there. I look forward to exploring Europe, Italy being top of my list, so I am equally pleased to make your acquaintance. Cheers, Melissa


  19. Hi Melissa, I’ve really enjoyed reading through your blog and your photographs brought back a lot of good memories for me. We moved to Clare from Dublin with a young family (we also have five children) way back in the ’80’s to get away from the rat-race. Everyone thought we were mad at the time, especially when we bought an old cottage with no toilet, proper electrics or hot water. We spent lots of time together, as a family, growing our own food, and keeping hens, with fields and stone walls stretching for miles around us – sheer bliss. After decades of moving to various parts of Ireland-Spain-Back to Ireland, we’ve come full circle and bought another old house that needs lots of TLC. It’s likely to be our last move as we’ll be retiring in a few years so we decided on a small town rather than being too isolated, but it’s still close to water (on the Erne river) with lots of forest trails and green pastures and stone walls close-by. I’m looking forward to more of your lovely posts and photographs. Many thanks for reminding me of a very special time in my own life – I’m gone all nostalgic now, must hunt out the old photo albums. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jean,

      Thanks for all your kind words! There are not too many families of seven these days and it’s a nice thing to have in common with you, hence also the reason my responses are so delayed! My office needs a revolving door for the amount of aged twelve and under traffic it gets, seriously. I know you get it. 🙂

      Your story is very interesting. And that is two comments in a row mentioning places I really desire to travel to, Italy and now Spain. I’ve put European travel on my ‘leave it to the universe to provide opportunity’ list, and don’t believe in coincidence…so now our paths have crossed, and if it doesn’t lead me to Spain that’s okay; it certainly has me paying attention! I look forward to developing a writing friendship with you. Other Irish based bloggers are very special to me so I’m delighted that you found me here in the blogosphere.

      p.s. Your name is familiar to me…we must have writing friends in common and I came across you in some of their comments.


      Liked by 1 person

  20. My wife and I were looking at some over priced sweaters in a magazine last night. The style reminded me of the wonderful (warm) sweaters we saw when we visited Inish Mor. I was wondering if you make sweaters or sell them? If not, can you recommend someone on the island that might and could ship them to the states? Thank you Melissa!

    Liked by 1 person

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    • Hiya James! What an incredible combo for the preserves…very obvious that we live in different climates when that is the fresh fruit that you have on hand! I hope you and she are doing well and looking forward with wonder and glee to the upcoming holidays. Hugs, Melissa

      Liked by 1 person

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  23. thinkinkadia says:

    Lovely site, family, and island! It’s what I try to here in the city: create our own. Admire you for going ahead and doing the dream. It’s so good for the children to know where things come from and also for entertainment, just move, walk, explore, create!


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