TOP 10: Islands off the coast of Ireland

Ireland is a beautiful island located in the North Atlantic. It is the third biggest island in Europe but there are many amazing islands just off the coast of Ireland that few know about. This article will explore the 10 best islands youprobably haven’t heard of.

10. Great Blasket Island

Blasket Island

The Blasket Islands lie three miles beyond the most westerly tip of the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry. The largest of the islands, Great Blasket, was abandoned in 1953 when the last twenty two inhabitants moved to the mainland after suffering from famine and emigration.

Despite dwindling into non-existence, no other island community of comparable size played such a significant role in the development of Irish literature, producing world renowned writers, such as Peig Sayers, who documented island life in the Irish language and whose work has been translated into many languages.

Great Blasket remains uninhabited but the island is open to visitors – catch the ferry from Ventry Harbour.

Travellers and visitors can explore this historical island by travelling through the hilly tracks and grassy paths. Get to experience and see the seals that made the Great Blasket their home.

9. The Clare Island

Credit: www.wildlifeweekend.ie
Credit: www.wildlifeweekend.ie

The Clare Island is located in Clew Bay, Mayo. The spectacular cliffs that are located here are a home to the many various nesting birds (seabirds). The hills and the woodlands and even the bogs make the island an ideal type for walking and hiking activities.

One of the highlights of this island is the peak of the mountain of the Knockmore.  Meeting with the pirate queen “Grace O’Malley” that is buried on the grounds of the castle is also an excellent experience.

The island also has its adventure, equestrian and yoga centres. The island is also known for its nightlife, regular summer festivals and lively music at night.

8. Spike Island

Spike Island
Credit: filmincork.com

Spike Island can be easily accessed by riding on a ferry from the Cobh. The island has its own fortress, monastery and prison. Thus, this lets you experience the most out of a travel for you to experience the nice and beautiful views.

7. Inishmore

Inishmore_cliffs_at_Dun_Aengus

This island is the largest of the Aran Islands. And, this has become the extension of milestone rocks of Burren. Orchids can be seen in between the limestone pavements.

Inishmore is home to Dún Aonghasa which is the most famous of several prehistoric forts on the Aran Islands, lying at the edge of a 100-metre high cliff.

This popular tourist attraction is an important archaeological site that also offers a spectacular view.

6. Bere Island

Credit: bereislandheritage.com
Credit: bereislandheritage.com

This island is voted for being the tidiest island all over Ireland for 5 years. Positioned at the entrance of the Bantry Bay, it can also be accessed by riding on a ferry from the Castketownbere. The Bere Island is rich in archaeological sites dating from the Bronze Age to the Medieval Period.

These also include the wedge tombs, the burial sites, the ring forts and the standing stones. Visitors may also likely experience the military barracks and the Martello towers.

5. Dursey Island

The only cable car in Ireland is here
The only cable car in Ireland is here

The Dursey Island can be accessed through the cable cars of Ireland that run up to 250m. These are the only cable cars in all of Ireland and this as a result, this can seem a frightening journey for travellers who are afraid of heights.

This island has numerous walking routes including the trail of the Beara Way which is beautiful for anyone interested in hiking that complements their fitness. With no pubs, restaurants or shops, the Dursey Island is still the best place for day trippers. Even the views to look around are spectacular and are wonderful.

4. Skellig Michael

Little Skellig from Skellig Michael (irs10-TM)

This island is also known as the Skellig Island and can be reached by boat from the mainland. On arrival, tourists will be met with five hundred steps on the old stone stairway.

Movie lovers may remember this island from the final scene of the 2015 film Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The stone huts that are shaped as a beehive are exactly where the monks once lived and prayed. Alongside is the holy wells and the St. Michael Church for pilgrimage.

3. Sherkin Island

sherkin-island

This island is historically called as the Inisherkin and this lies within the southwest part of the Country Cork.

The island is known for its sailing regatta and approximately 100 people live here. The good thing about this island is that it is accessible among the islands in Ireland.

In addition, the island offers amazing views of natural beauty from the hilltops while some of the beaches are composed of the finest sand. The Sherkin Island’s botanical richness is second in place to the Burren in the Country Clare.

It offers different kinds and breeds of birds while the visitors may spot the rarest migrants. There is also a good spot in fishing that visitors around may spot otters, seals, porpoises and dolphins. If you want, you may also enjoy the whale watching experience.

2. Cape Clear Island

ASI103c01

This island is the southernmost island inhabited by people who can speak the Irish language in Ireland. On this island, you can expect to see the romantic scenery, busting harbours, bogs, beautiful cliffs and unique views in the hilltop.

The Cape Clear Island International Storytelling is a famous festival that is held early in the month of September. This mainly offers a unique opportunity for visitors to witness the ancient form of arts. They can also hear some of the talented tale tellers or spinners of some countries.

1. Rathlin Island

040211scotlandRathlin-BBC

Rathlin is the most northern significant island the whole island of Ireland. This island has an abundance of wildlife, beauty and culture. The island is known for having Ireland’s largest colony of seabirds and a deserted and rural feel that will make you feel far away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

If you do want to socialise on the island, there is an excellent pub called McCuaig’s Barr on the island where you can have a few pints of Guinness and meet a lot of interesting characters.

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