The oceans and seas around the island of Ireland can be unpredictable during autumn and winter, making it difficult to plan a ferry crossing even a day in advance. Luckily, there are quite a few islands that are connected to the mainland.
By crossing a bridge or causeway, you can visit small islands such as Cruit Island in County Donegal.
It’s a wild, beautiful place and even has some self-catering accommodation if you’d like to stay longer. You can also access small uninhabited pedestrian islands such as Gibbs Island on Strangford Lough in County Down.
It’s largely wooded, it’s popular with walkers and offers a view of the Mourne Mountains from the south side of the island. There are also accessible Wild Atlantic Way
islands such as Achill Island, with scenery so incredible that it was chosen as a filming location for The Banshees of Inisherin…
and there are islands that are reachable even if you don’t want to venture too far from the city, such as Bull Island in County Dublin.
But one of the most special accessible islands is Valentia Island in County Kerry.
Valentia Island is connected to the southwest coast of Ireland’s mainland by the Maurice O’Neill Memorial Bridge, and it’s a bit of a hidden gem.
On Valentia Island, a top spot to visit is Valentia Lighthouse. It’s the most westerly lighthouse in Ireland and its light (which first shone in 1841) guides ships into Valentia Harbour. The Lighthouse Experience
isn’t open during the winter months but it’s still worth a visit for the incredible scenery!
At the southwest tip of the island, you can see tetrapod footprints that are thought to be around 383 – 388 million years old. These footprints are best seen during sunrise or sunset when shadows are cast making the rock indents more easily visible.
The village of Knightstown is the largest inhabited area on Valentia Island. It was built in the early 1840s in a satisfying grid style, and a big attraction is the bright red clock tower by the harbour. There are a few foodie locations here too, including The Watch House
and Knightstown Coffee House,
but always make sure you check opening hours in winter.
And finally, walk or drive to Geokaun Mountain and Cliffs (the highest point on Valentia Island), and you’ll be greeted with breathtaking views of the Skelligs, Dingle Bay and the Kerry Mountains.
Have our Community visited any islands which are connected to the mainland via a bridge or causeway?