The service originally set up by the semi-state gealtacht development authority is now run by a private company based at Leabgarrow, Arranmore. The route was founded in 1978 by Maoin-na-Farraige with the now loading four car vessel Misneach, which was custom built for the service. She was later sold to Bere Island ferries after the acquiring of Kilbrannan from Caledonian MacBrayne in 1992 , and renamed Arainn Mhor.
Soon after the new vessel was acquired, the operations were transferred to the private company Arranmore Island Ferry Services. The new company went on to purchase Morvern in 1995 and Rhum and Coll in 1998 (all from Cal Mac) which are the two main vessels with Arainn Mhor as a relief ship.