Emerald Heritage | 8 Irish Islands to Visit
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8 Irish Islands to Visit

The Emerald Isle is famed for her rugged, wild landscapes and the many islands dotted around the coastline are no different.

Whilst there are countless islands, each containing its own secrets and stories, we have picked out a few of the most interesting, and worth of a visit during your travels.

Skellig Michael

Skellig Michael

Skellig Michael, located approximately 12km from the coast of County Kerry, might be Ireland’s most famous island…although those on the Aran Islands might disagree.

The Skelligs are made up of two, Skellig Michael and Little Skellig, and once were home to early Christian monks who settled there sometime between the 6-8th centuries!

The islands are breathtaking in natural beauty and were recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996.

Rathlin Island

Rathlin Island can be found just 10km from Ballycastle, in County Antrim, and is home to approximately 140 locals.

It can be accessed by ferry on a daily basis, has a visitor centre, pub and lighthouse, and is famous for its Puffin season, generally from April to July every year.

Coney Island

Coney Island is the largest of the 3 islands off the Coolera Peninsula along Sligo Bay. It’s famous for being inundated with rabbits!

If you’re not enjoying the furry locals you can also check out the remaining Famine era structures, the beautiful beaches and McGowan’s pub!

Achill Island

Achill Island is Ireland’s largest island and is home to over 2700 inhabitants.

You will find Achill just off County Mayo, along the west coast, and it can be accessed via the Michael Davitt Bridge, which connects it to the mainland and was named after the 19th century social campaigner.

Tory Island

Tory Island is arguably Ireland’s most remote island as it sits approximately 15km off the mainland coast of County Donegal.

Tory, which derives from the Irish for “bandit”, is a largely Irish speaking island of 130 locals and interestingly it is home to the King of Tory.

The King of Tory is an elected representative and spokesperson for the island. The king doesn’t hold any legal power but is a symbolic figure and the most recent was artist Patsy Dan Rodgers, who held the post from the 1990s until his death in late 2018.

Dalkey Island

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Dalkey Island, also known as St Begnet’s Isle, can be found just south of Dublin city centre and approximately 300m from the mainland beside Dun Laoghaire harbour.

It’s famous for great fishing and bird watching and has been home to human activity since at least the Neolithic era!

Sherkin Island

County Cork’s Sherkin Island can be found just 10 minutes from the port of Baltimore. It’s home to approximately 100 locals and, amongst other things, features the Jolly Roger pub, a local art studio and a perfectly preserved Franciscan Abbey dating back to 1460!

Aran Islands

Finally, the Aran Islands.

The Aran Islands, located just off Galway Bay, have been called “One of the world’s top island destinations” by National Geographic and feature 3 islands known as Inishmore, Inishmaan and Inisheer.

The islands are home to approximately 1200 locals, all largely fluent in both Irish and English, and are famous for an abundance of flora and fauna riches.

Incredibly, due to the landscape, you can find plants from the Artic, Mediterranean and Alpine regions, all side by side!


Which island is first on your bucket list? Let us know!

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