The most beautiful islands in Ireland

Sherkin Island

Ireland, the emerald isle, is actually more than one isle: in addition to the main island of Ireland, which is shared between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, there are many other satellite islands and islets scattered along Ireland’s coastline. Many of these islands hold some of the most significant historical and cultural heritage of the island, and as a general rule, they all have amazing natural sights, even if human settlements are rather scarce. If you want to see what lies beyond Ireland as you know it, here’s a list of some of the most beautiful islands in Ireland.

Sherkin Island, County Cork

If you need to take a break from urban life (not that urban life is very stressful in Ireland), Sherkin island with its dramatic beauty might just be what you’re looking for. The island is the ancestral home of the O’Driscoll clan, whose ancient castle, covered in ivy, looms above the pier. The settlement has a school, a church, a hotel, a couple of pubs and about 100 people, plus loads of holiday houses owned by foreigners.

Inishturk, County Mayo

photo by Bert Kaufman

The small island of Inishturk with its impressive cliffs is one stunning sight as it rises from the waters of the Atlantic off the coast of Mayo. Only about 70 people live on the island, which means that you can often find yourself on your own, enjoying the natural sights or the archaeological/historical treasures lying on the island, like a martello tower dating back to the Napoleonic Wars.

Tory, County Donegal

The island of Tory is so secluded that its 130 inhabitants often speak of ‘going to Ireland’ if they need to go to the shore. The people of the island speak mainly Irish (English is understood as well). There’s a large number of historical and mythical sites on the island: Balor’s Fort, a rock that was supposedly the fort of the legendary giant king Balor, a wishing stone, a lighthouse, and even a WWII torpedo.

Inishbofin, County Galway

photo by Bert Kaufman

Inishbofin is naturally beautiful, but what makes it unique is the large number of Christian relics like chapels and holy wells. For those interested in outdoor activities, the island has some superb walking trails, it is a sailing base, and lots of bird species. The traditional music scene in Inishbofin is one of the best in Ireland.

Clare Island, County Mayo

The famous pirate queen Grace O’Malley has supposedly lived on Clare island, but nowadays the island is much more peaceful. If you like walking, you will find many interesting walking trails that will take you along a couple of very intriguing historical sites (Bronze Age cooking sites, the ruins of a Cistercian Abbey).

Leave a Reply