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Ireland's islands – how do I go exploring off the coast?

Ireland's islands – how do I go exploring off the coast?

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Ireland
Posts: 55
Group: Community Moderator Last Active: Yesterday @ 12:35 PM Visits: 437
Wander out from our island's shores and you’ll find it was well worth the journey! Scattered around the coast of Ireland lies hidden adventure, with monastic marvels, myths and legend, and wildlife up close and personal.

Many of our islands are steeped in myth and legend: take a trip from Howth harbour to Ireland’s Eye, which is home to a murder cave – or did she fall? Your ferryman will regale you with the tale of a trial that divides the people to this very day. Or step on to Boa Island – an inland island in County Fermanagh’s Lough Erne – and visit the Janus figure, a 2,000-year-old two-faced stone carving, thought to represent a Celtic Deity.

If you’re looking to get up close and personal with wildlife, head to Rathlin Island off Antrim’s coast or the Great Saltees of Wexford for some bird-watching, or Lambay Island in County Dublin to meet Ireland's resident wallabies!

History buffs will not want to miss out on the curious tales from our islands. A walk around the monastic site at Devenish Island will take you on a journey back through time, and a visit to Spike Island, now dominated by a star-shaped fortress, will take you through a tour of the history of ‘Ireland’s hell’.

Of course, those who want to experience ‘wild Ireland’ at its wildest must head west to the islands sitting off the coast of the Wild Atlantic Way. The Blasket Island will give you a glimpse into Ireland of old, where life on these islands was for the toughest of the tough. To get a traditional Irish experience head for the Aran Islands, known for their iconic knitted jumpers, pretty thatched cottages and the serene feeling of time standing still.

To get to these amazing islands, there are plenty of ferry companies operating daily from nearby ports and harbours, waiting to take you on your island adventure!

There are so many incredible islands around Ireland – too many to count, really! Community members, do you have more suggestions you’d like to share?

Spike Island 3
Posted Wed 24 Oct 2018 11:05 AM
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Ireland
Posts: 97
Group: Approved Community Member Last Active: Mon 2 Dec 2019 8:03 PM Visits: 789
Hi Ellie
Great article - Ireland's islands are such special places - they're like a highly concentrated version of the mainland :) 
Our ferry from Doolin runs 7 months of the year, from March to October, and allows visitors to savor the culture, lifestyle and outstandingly beautiful landscapes of the 3 islands. Each island has its own personality, and the islanders are fiercely proud of their heritage and only too willing to share their stories with visitors from around the globe.

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/13-11-2018/d2bcd0a0-ae9f-4873-8b30-a788.jpg
There are 7 stone age forts between the 3 islands, the largest is Dun Aengus on Inis Mor, an iconic semi-circular fort perched on top of 300 foot sea cliffs - hardy folks, our ancestors!

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/13-11-2018/092757d8-e997-4166-ad67-6114.jpg
More recent history is also evident on Inis Oirr, with the Plassey - a shipwreck from 1960 now a famous part of its landscape.
The Garrihy brothers run Doolin2Aran Ferries, they started as fishermen below the Cliffs of Moher back in the day :) 

https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/16-11-2018/554801ed-5387-4762-8f57-9827.jpg



We hope you enjoy this glimpse into life on the Aran Islands, and we would be delighted to take you there!

Happy sailing from Joan and all at Garrihys Doolin2Aran Ferries


Posted Tue 13 Nov 2018 11:01 AM
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Northern Ireland
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Group: Approved Community Member Last Active: Yesterday @ 10:32 AM Visits: 1.6K

Hi Ellie,

Thank you for mentioning Rathlin Island, located in the Causeway Coast and Glens region.  The island is the only inhabited one in Northern Ireland and is just a 25 minute ferry ride from Ballycastle on the north eastern coast.  Rathlin is famed for its beauty and wildlife and from mid-May to mid-August it is the home of thousands of seabirds raising their chicks precariously perched on the cliff edges at the West Light Seabird centre.  The RSPB are on hand at the centre with binoculars and expertise to inform about the great array of birds there including puffins, razorbills, fulmars, guillemots and kittiwakes. The island is also home to a seal colony, Irish hares, buzzards choughs and skylarks.  You can also visit the lighthouse there.

During spring and summertime the heath is carpeted with colourful wild flowers including beautiful spotted-orchids.  The roads are very quiet as cars are few and far between which makes it a pleasant place to explore by foot or bicycle. 

Near the harbour at Church Bay there is a small museum, a visitor centre (both seasonal) and places to get a cup of coffee or something to eat. The island has an interesting and varied history with a lot of archaeological sites.  There were Viking raids, battles and visits from famous historic characters, Robert the Bruce and St. Columba.

Rathlin Island is a great place for both a day trip or overnight stay in one of the accommodation establishments there.  It is waiting to be explored!

Anne


Posted Thu 15 Nov 2018 1:03 PM
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