When the sun is shining, Ireland’s islands are incredibly gorgeous.
The islands of Ireland are always worth exploring! Even on rainy, foggy days, the rugged landscape and the exciting stories keep things interesting. Hundreds of islands around the Irish coast each have something unique to offer. You may even spot wild wallabies or find a tropical lagoon! The nine most mystical islands can grant you a one-of-a-kind experience as you hear tales of pirate queens and one-eyed warrior kings.
Achill Island was used for filming the movie called “Banshees of Inisherin”.
Explore Ireland’s Western Islands and Enjoy Surfing, Hiking, and Even See Sharks!
This is an amazing place to enjoy movies and activities in nature. You might even see sharks while you’re here!
The Aran island of Inis Mór and the island of Achill were chosen as the setting for the movie, “The Banshees of Inisherin”. This movie was even nominated for an Oscar! The director wanted to show off how beautiful Ireland’s western islands look on screen. With its tall sea cliffs, high mountains, peaceful bays, and hidden beaches, it is a place that will take your breath away!
Achill Island has lots to do! There’s great hiking, cycling, rock climbing and canoeing available. Plus, Dooagh Strand is a great spot for surfing and its Blue Flag beaches are perfect for swimming. An especially good one is Keem Bay – you may even get to see basking sharks! Cliffs of Croaghaun are great for a hike or sign up for an interesting tour that will walk you through the island’s history such as the Colony Tour or the Deserted Village Tour.
Reach the island: You can easily plan a day trip from Mayo to the island because there is a bridge connecting it to the mainland. or, if you don’t have your own bike, you can take Westport Bike Hire’s twice-daily shuttles between Westport and Achill on the Great Western Greenway trail that starts in Westport and is 26 miles long.
Explore the Myths and Mysteries of Tory Island
Tory Island is a remote place located in Ireland and it’s full of really cool stuff. There are only about 150 people living there, one hotel and few B&Bs so you won’t hear the noise of the cities. People here mainly speak Irish but also know English. This island is perfect if you’re looking for an adventure since you can explore its many dive sites, its myths and stories, as well as discover what made previous kings choose it over other places.
Tory is a paradise for swimmers and divers. You can either take a dip at the harbor or book an underwater exploration session with Mevagh Dive Centre to find out more about HMS Wasp, a boat that belonged to the Royal Navy. It was travelling while trying to kick people off their homes in 1884 when it crashed due to a Neolithic “cursing stone” called Cloch na Mallacht.
Tory Island is known for its myths and legends, with the powerful one-eyed Balor as its mythical king. The ruins of his fort (Dún Balor) face the Atlantic Ocean. There’s a long point that protrudes from the peninsula called An Eochair Mhór (the big key). Close by is An Tor Mór (the big rock), which is where Balor kept his daughter locked up so she couldn’t have kids. Also on Tory Island, they select their own king to represent themselves – sadly, their last King of Tory died in October 2018.
You can get to Tory Island from Magheraroarty Pier in County Donegal by taking the ferry. The whole trip will take around 45 minutes, and you can buy the tickets online.
Uncover the Unique Island Life of Inis Meáin!
Inis Meáin is the least crowded of the three Aran Islands, with just 200 inhabitants. It’s where you can experience traditional Irish life and be surrounded by breathtaking scenery! You can try swimming in its beaches, explore ancient ruins, do some deep-sea diving, and even join musical events at the Teach Ósta pub. There are plenty of things to do here so don’t miss out on this unique experience!
This island is really small, so you can easily explore it by going for a walk, admiring wildflowers or even swimming at the old port. But if you’re looking to quickly learn more about this place, you might want to rent a bike and cycle around! 20 minutes away from the ancient stone fortress ‘Dún Chonchúir’ is JM Synge’s holiday cottage. The 300-year-old cottage is now open as a museum and a library open to visitors. Synge was known to often write in his beloved chair that overlooked these ‘puffing holes’, which are natural rock formations where salt water rushes in through cracks creating misty sprays – hence its popularity amongst writers!
On Aran Island you can check out amazing art pieces like the stained glass windows made by Harry Clarke in the Mary Immaculate Church. You can also buy some traditional Aran sweaters from Inis Meain Knitwear.
You can get there either by plane with Aer Arann which fits up to 10 people or take the ferry ride. It will take 45 minutes if you go with either Aran Island Ferries from Ros a’ Mhil or Doolin Ferry from Doolin.
Explore the Stunning 365 Islands of Clew Bay, Ireland!
In the beautiful Mayo’s Clew Bay, you’ll find an impressive 365 islands! But don’t be fooled – while it may seem like it has a lot of islands, it actually only has 117. The biggest one is called Clare Island and there are loads of fun outdoor activities to do here. You can explore the hills and mountains to learn about its history, or even go for some pirate adventures or take a relaxing stroll on its stunning Blue Flag beach!
Macalla Farm is a special and unique holiday getaway where you can experience yoga, horseback riding, delicious food, and calming activities. The food served there is mostly grown right on the farm and offers vegetarian choices for all of its guests. Visitors of Macalla Farm also have plenty of walking opportunities to choose from such as Clew Bay Archaeological Trail with ancient constructions like abbeys and court temples, or Knocknaveena Loop following the path of Knocknaveen Mountain.
Once upon a time, Clare Island was home to the super famous Pirate Queen called Gráinne Mhaoil. People knew her for causing trouble in the 16th century with her castle that overlooked Clew Bay. Visit it if you want!
Nowadays, there’s always something fun to do after dark here like traditional music nights put on by two pubs–it creates a perfect balance between chill vibes and great tunes.
It’s easy to get to Clare Island. Just hop on a ferry at Roonagh Pier, County Mayo, and you’ll be there in 25 minutes. You can buy your tickets from either Clare Island Ferry Co or O’Malley Ferries. Have fun exploring one of the clearest beaches in Ireland!
Immerse Yourself in a Captivating Visit to Inishbofin, Ireland!
Inishbofin is a really amazing island to visit in Ireland. It has a long history and it’s also the first spot in Ireland where you can use “Leave No Trace” principles when it comes to tourist activities like going on food festivals or sightseeing with historical walking tours! Its gorgeous beaches – like East End and Dumhach– have even been awarded special awards for being so environmentally friendly, so you can enjoy them without any worry!
Visitors who come here can go on special walks along three trails. During the walk, they can see amazing cliffs, colonies of seals, a really old chapel and amazing views of the mountains and other islands. If people want to know more about the island’s history, then they contact Cultúr na nOileáin Tour’s local historians and archaeologists. They provide information about the island that even includes links to a famous Pirate Queen!
Gráinne Mhaol, who had ownership of the island, built a castle for herself called Dún Gráinne. Her friend Alonzo Bosco also built a castle opposite hers. To stop any ships from entering the island without permission, they connected both castles with an iron chain so they could loot and take their cargo if they got stuck.
Inishbofin is known for its organic food which is celebrated every October during the Bia Bó Finne festival. To reach Inishbofin, you need to take a ferry from Cleggan Harbour, located about an hour and a half away from Galway City. It’s only about 30 minutes travel time by boat; you can book your tickets online.
Explore and Taste the Best of Inishturk Island!
Want to feel like a local and experience world-class crab? Visit Inishturk Island! It’s not the most popular island getaway, but with just 54 people living there it’s easy to blend in. The community center is the middle of activity on this island – you can buy food, have drinks and lots of seafood such as lobster, pollock, and mackerel. Not to mention some of the best crabs you will ever find!
The hills in this island are begging to be explored. The 5 Kilometer long ring road is a great spot for runners. Then there’s the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) sports pitch which is located very far away and offers breathtaking views of the landscape. Another gorgeous spot to see is Port Dún, a lagoon harbor that people say contains Grand Mhaol’s gold. It’s also an ideal place for going for a swim!
If you love fishing, then visiting Inishturk Island is a must-do! You can even arrange private fishing trips. However, if you want to see professionals at work, then don’t forget the annual Seafest event. It’s a great way to spend a weekend as it offers a range of activities such as beach yoga, learning Irish traditional dance and songs, foraging, and fish filleting.
Getting there is easy too – jump on a ferry from Roonagh Pier near Westport. Tickets for your journey can be booked online here.
Sherkin Island Road by Maeve O’Neill.
Explore 15th Century Churches and Unique Beaches of Sherkin Island!
Sherkin Island in West Cork is a gorgeous place that only has 111 people living there. When you’re approaching the island by ferry, you’ll spot an old friary (a church) built during the 15th century known as Mainster Inis Arcain. And if you’re up for it, hiking up its hills can give you amazing views!
Take a drive to North Shore! On the way you can check out all sorts of different sights, like lush green forests and stunningly beautiful beaches. With four paths on the island, no matter your walking ability, you can explore everything this place has to offer. Plus, if you are looking for souvenirs, there are tons of cool knitted items and unique decorations available to buy. This is also a great spot for any artists, writers or musicians out there – it’s teeming with creativity! After you walk around for a bit, take your time and grab a beer at The Jolly Roger!
Sherkin Island is located very close to the bottom of Ireland, and its people are proud of their warm weather. During summertime, there’s lots of fun stuff going on like boat races and a music festival featuring modern art styles and unique sounds. In winter, the island slows down but it’s still an ideal place to get away from the hustle and bustle.
You can get to the Saltee Islands by taking a ferry from Baltimore, County Cork. It only takes 10 minutes and you can book your trip online. Plus, if you go there, you might even see some fluffy puffins!
Visit the ‘Graveyard of a Thousand Ships
Have you ever wanted to go on a nature-filled day trip? Well, Great Saltee Island off the coast of County Wexford is a bird watcher’s paradise! Day visits are allowed by the island residents, The Neale family. Unfortunately, Little Saltee Island is too dangerous to visit because it’s surrounded by dangerous currents.
The Saltees are a really special place! Here, you can spot birds from countries all over the world during their migration. It’s also one of the only places in eastern Ireland where grey seals make their home. If you come to visit the Saltees, remember to take your rubbish with you when you go and don’t step onto the Neale family’s property.
Great Saltee is an awesome place for having picnics and enjoying great walks, but don’t forget that it has a rich past! The island has earned the nickname of “Graveyard of a Thousand Ships,” which alludes to how many battleships were sunk off its shore during WWI and WWII. Additionally, in 1943, a man named Michael Neale purchased the island and declared himself as the King, hence becoming known as ‘Prince Michael of the Saltees’. A really peculiar thing he did was to build a throne and even honor himself by erecting an obelisk in his likeness. Also, he learned to fly an airplane – and legend says that one time he flew 46 cats on board aiming to take care of the rat problem over there. But now these cats are not present anymore, so that’s probably fortunate for all the birds!
You can get to the island by taking a ferry from Kilmore Quay or Wexford Town. But, if the family living there is in residence, only day-trippers will be allowed between 11:30am and 4:30pm. Visitors that try to land their boat outside of those designated times will have to leave. However, camping overnight is definitely not allowed.
Discover a Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience at Lambay Island!
Lambay Island is a really special place! It’s found four kilometers away from Dublin, and it’s completely private. On the island there are only seven human people living there but also around 100 wallabies with red necks, about 200 deer, and thousands of seabirds. The Barings family have owned the Lambay Island since 1904, making it feel like super-special vacation spot – you can stay on the island throughout the year if you’re lucky enough to get a reservation!
Lambay Island has 23 rooms in total and only people who already know someone living on the island can stay in either the old castle or the White House. Other visitors can request to sleep at O’Connell’s Cottage which is located next to six other cottages from 18th century. If you don’t get a bed, day tours are possible too – allowing you to take guided historical walks, have lunch or just explore the place.
During the year, there are lots of retreats you can go to. These include activities like yoga, writing, foraging and cooking. The natural spring water on the island is used for drinking, washing, cooking and taking baths. It’s also used to make a special kind of whiskey called Lambay Whiskey!
To get to the island from Malahide, you have to take a ferry – it takes around 15-30 minutes. You can buy tickets from Skerries Sea Tours or find out more about staying on the island by looking here.