Deserted 80–acre Irish island with an old monastery up for sale

Ever dream of escaping the rat race and living in perfect peace, at one with nature? Well, now is your chance!

High Island, an 80-acre piece of land off the coast of Connemara in the West of Ireland is up for grabs and at a substantial price of €1.25 million, it could be yours. Also known as Ardoileán, the island is located around 3.5km from the coastal town of Cilfden and stretches 1.2km long and 0.4km wide.

The island is currently void of all human life but with a septic tank installed and a high point of more than 63 meters above sea level it has potential to become home to anyone brave enough to brace a life on the Atlantic. You would not be alone, however. High Island is a haven for birds, with a number of species enjoying the lush green landscape.

But the winged residents haven’t always been the only sign of life on this hidden treasure. Ruins of an ancient monastery sit in a sheltered part of the island. Found to the South West of the plot and North of the larger of two freshwater lakes, it is thought to have been home to around 70 residents in the seventh century.

It is believed the monastery was founded by Saint Féichín, more widely known as the founder of the Fore monastery in Co. Westmeath. Saint Féichín is thought to have died during the yellow plague in 665 BC and is remembered on January 20.

But Saint Féichín’s trail is only part of the rich archaeological history of this beautiful find. Artefacts suggest signs of habitation as far back as 300 BC while pollen samples from the island’s stone beehive hut offer clues to occupants after 1,000 BC.

So what would it take to live on High Island today? The icy spray of the Atlantic Ocean not to mention biting winds and lots of rain would make it no easy feat. Despite this, there has been interest, according to estate agent Luke Spencer of Spencer Auctioneers in Oughterard.

In a statement to RTE news, he said they would allow anyone with financial means to view the island, “be they Government, entrepreneurs or someone famous,” while hinting that a number of enquires have already come from overseas. He added, regular crossings by boat are not recommended and suggested a helicopter as the best mode of transport to and from the mainland.

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht refused to confirm any interest in buying the island but revealed law protects the monastery. Any plans to develop on the Island must be agreed by the Minister under the National Monuments Act.

It added that any of Ireland’s sites in State Care “command considerable resource commitments,” meaning the upkeep of High Island would require a strong personal and financial commitment from an investor.

Feichin Mulkerrin bought Ardoileán 30 years ago from the poet Richard Murphy. Despite inspiring many of Murphy’s works he avoided long periods of time on the island later being described as “neither a hermit or a saint.”