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Island News
The Aran Island Ferry Naomh Éanna has been broken up for scrap but its bow is en route to Galway
The bow of the former Aran island ferry Naomh Éanna, which has been broken up for scrap, is en route to Galway. As The Irish Independent reports, Port of Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan hopes to take delivery of the…
Arranmore RNLI towed a fishing vessel to safety in harsh weather conditions. The vessel faced swells of up to 5.5 metres and winds of 60kph, making the operation particularly challenging
Lifeboat crew from Arranmore RNLI finally got to their beds at 1.20 am this morning (Tuesday, 6 February) after spending over 26 hours at sea to bring a fishing vessel, with five people onboard, to safety. The Coast Guard requested…
Patrick McDonnell who played Eoin McLove with (from left to right) Carmel Condon, Ann Clarke, Linda Lynch all from Sligo, pictured at TedFest at Inis Mór on the Aran Islands. TedFest 2024 takes place on Thursday March 7th to Sunday March 10th 2024 as Inis Mór in the Aran Islands becomes the legendary ‘Craggy Island’ once more for a weekend of high-jinx
The legendary “Craggy Island” will once again be recreated on the Aran island of Inis Mór when it hosts the annual TedFest in March. The festival, inspired by the television series Father Ted with the late Dermot Morgan, has become…
Bere Island in West Cork was without electrical power as a result of a fishing vessel accidentally coming into contact with a submarine cable
ESB Networks has appealed for vigilance at sea in relation to submarine cables after a fishing vessel cut power to West Cork’s Bere Island last week. ESB Networks restored power to some 280 affected islanders at 11 pm on Friday…
Maritime lawyer Michael Kingston
The Attorney General’s office has been in contact with relatives of the 50 victims of the 1979 Whiddy Island Betelgeuse tanker explosion amid calls for a new inquest. As The Irish Independent reports, the Attorney General’s office has written to…
West Cork’s Bere island
West Cork’s Bere island has been left without power for over 24 hours after an undersea electricity cable was damaged. ESB Networks said a total of 281 customers remain affected by the power outage, which also affected the Castletownbere area…
Idir Dhá Linn - the television documentary is due to be broadcast on TG4 on Thursday (Dec 28)
A photographer’s depiction of the passage of time on an Irish offshore island is captured in a television documentary due to be broadcast on TG4 on Thursday (Dec 28) Fifty years ago, photographer Chris Rodmell “captured the soul” of the…
Patsy Lydon bringing his Christmas tree and bicycle in a currach to his Inis Treabhair home in December 1991
The tough realities of Irish island life are depicted in a new memoir of the Connemara island of Inis Treabhair. The last years of an Irish-speaking community are recorded by Micheál Ó Conghaile in his book, An Island Christmas. The…
Geminid Meteor - This shower is named after the constellation Gemini, from which the meteors appear to come from in the sky
Cloud cover permitting, coastal and island residents should enjoy all-night views of the Geminid meteor showers over Ireland this week. Astronomy Ireland is asking observers to count the meteors or shooting stars seen, with the best viewing on the nights…
Aran Islands RNLI coxswain Aonghus Ó hIarnáin with fiancée Treasa and baby Eibhlín
As the RNLI launches its annual Christmas fundraising appeal, with a focus on the generations of families who have volunteered their time and commitment to ensure the charity’s lifesaving service has continued for nearly 200 years, there will be a…
Alexandra Van Tuyll receiving her RNLI Certificate of Thanks from head of region Anna Classon
A long-standing volunteer fundraiser for Achill Island RNLI has been honoured by the charity’s chief executive for her generous support of the Co Mayo lifeboat station and its work in saving lives at sea. Alexandra Van Tuyll, who has been…
Inisheer, one of the aran_islands off the coast of County Galway
The Aran islands have linked up with a new energy agency which has been established for west Galway. Gníomhaireacht Fuinnimh an Iarthar (GFI), as it is called, is one of three local energy agencies established to support homeowners, communities and…
Naval Service vessel LÉ Róisín at Rockall conducting routine maritime security patrols in October 2012
The Scottish government was keen to do a deal on Rockall if it voted for independence and rejoined the EU, according to confidential documents. As The Guardian reports, confidential letters and other heavily redacted documents about the crisis several years…
Representatives of the ‘Healthy Islands’ project team receiving their award at the National Age Friendly Awards 2023 in Clayton Whites Hotel, Co. Wexford; left to right – Helen McGrath, Galway County Council; Alan Farrell, Director of Services, Galway County Council; Dr. Anne Cassidy, Senior Manager, Galway Rural Development’s SICAP team; Councillor Liam Carroll, Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council; Mary Cronin of Galway County Older People's Council; and Andrew McBride, Healthy County Galway Coordinator
A community-based initiative hosted on County Galway’s offshore communities has been named winner at the National Age Friendly Awards 2023 held last evening (Thursday) in Clayton Whites Hotel, Co. Wexford. The ‘Healthy Islands’ project picked up the Age Friendly Active…
Achill Island Sea Salt
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., today announced that the application for a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for “Achill Island Sea Salt” has been successful. The European Commission Regulation advising of the registration of…
Artist Maria Simonds Gooding with An File - Blasket islander Micheál O Gaoithín
Imagine being on your own on a Blasket island, dependent on several divers to come and collect you – and then their dinghy runs out of fuel. If a fishing vessel hadn’t spotted the reflection of a mirror they had…

Ireland's offshore islands

Around 30 of Ireland's offshore islands are inhabited and hold a wealth of cultural heritage.

A central Government objective is to ensure that sustainable vibrant communities continue to live on the islands.

Irish offshore islands FAQs

Technically, it is Ireland itself, as the third largest island in Europe.

Ireland is surrounded by approximately 80 islands of significant size, of which only about 20 are inhabited.

Achill island is the largest of the Irish isles with a coastline of almost 80 miles and has a population of 2,569.

The smallest inhabited offshore island is Inishfree, off Donegal.

The total voting population in the Republic's inhabited islands is just over 2,600 people, according to the Department of Housing.

Starting with west Cork, and giving voting register numbers as of 2020, here you go - Bere island (177), Cape Clear island (131),Dursey island (6), Hare island (29), Whiddy island (26), Long island, Schull (16), Sherkin island (95). The Galway islands are Inis Mór (675), Inis Meáin (148), Inis Oírr (210), Inishbofin (183). The Donegal islands are Arranmore (513), Gola (30), Inishboffin (63), Inishfree (4), Tory (140). The Mayo islands, apart from Achill which is connected by a bridge, are Clare island (116), Inishbiggle (25) and Inishturk (52).

No, the Gaeltacht islands are the Donegal islands, three of the four Galway islands (Inishbofin, like Clifden, is English-speaking primarily), and Cape Clear or Oileán Chléire in west Cork.

Lack of a pier was one of the main factors in the evacuation of a number of islands, the best known being the Blasket islands off Kerry, which were evacuated in November 1953. There are now three cottages available to rent on the Great Blasket island.

In the early 20th century, scholars visited the Great Blasket to learn Irish and to collect folklore and they encouraged the islanders to record their life stories in their native tongue. The three best known island books are An tOileánach (The Islandman) by Tomás Ó Criomhthain, Peig by Peig Sayers, and Fiche Blian ag Fás (Twenty Years A-Growing) by Muiris Ó Súilleabháin. Former taoiseach Charles J Haughey also kept a residence on his island, Inishvickillaune, which is one of the smaller and less accessible Blasket islands.

Charles J Haughey, as above, or late Beatle musician, John Lennon. Lennon bought Dorinish island in Clew Bay, south Mayo, in 1967 for a reported £1,700 sterling. Vendor was Westport Harbour Board which had used it for marine pilots. Lennon reportedly planned to spend his retirement there, and The Guardian newspaper quoted local estate agent Andrew Crowley as saying he was "besotted with the place by all accounts". He did lodge a planning application for a house, but never built on the 19 acres. He offered it to Sid Rawle, founder of the Digger Action Movement and known as the "King of the Hippies". Rawle and 30 others lived there until 1972 when their tents were burned by an oil lamp. Lennon and Yoko Ono visited it once more before his death in 1980. Ono sold the island for £30,000 in 1984, and it is widely reported that she donated the proceeds of the sale to an Irish orphanage

 

Yes, Rathlin island, off Co Antrim's Causeway Coast, is Ireland's most northerly inhabited island. As a special area of conservation, it is home to tens of thousands of sea birds, including puffins, kittiwakes, razorbills and guillemots. It is known for its Rathlin golden hare. It is almost famous for the fact that Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, retreated after being defeated by the English at Perth and hid in a sea cave where he was so inspired by a spider's tenacity that he returned to defeat his enemy.

No. The Aran islands have a regular ferry and plane service, with ferries from Ros-a-Mhíl, south Connemara all year round and from Doolin, Co Clare in the tourist season. The plane service flies from Indreabhán to all three islands. Inishbofin is connected by ferry from Cleggan, Co Galway, while Clare island and Inishturk are connected from Roonagh pier, outside Louisburgh. The Donegal islands of Arranmore and Tory island also have ferry services, as has Bere island, Cape Clear and Sherkin off Cork. How are the island transport services financed? The Government subsidises transport services to and from the islands. The Irish Coast Guard carries out medical evacuations, as to the RNLI lifeboats. Former Fianna Fáíl minister Éamon Ó Cuív is widely credited with improving transport services to and from offshore islands, earning his department the nickname "Craggy island".

Craggy Island is an bleak, isolated community located of the west coast, inhabited by Irish, a Chinese community and one Maori. Three priests and housekeeper Mrs Doyle live in a parochial house There is a pub, a very small golf course, a McDonald's fast food restaurant and a Chinatown... Actually, that is all fiction. Craggy island is a figment of the imagination of the Father Ted series writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews, for the highly successful Channel 4 television series, and the Georgian style parochial house on the "island" is actually Glenquin House in Co Clare.

Yes, that is of the Plassey, a freighter which was washed up on Inis Oírr in bad weather in 1960.

There are some small privately owned islands,and islands like Inishlyre in Co Mayo with only a small number of residents providing their own transport. Several Connemara islands such as Turbot and Inishturk South have a growing summer population, with some residents extending their stay during Covid-19. Turbot island off Eyrephort is one such example – the island, which was first spotted by Alcock and Brown as they approached Ireland during their epic transatlantic flight in 1919, was evacuated in 1978, four years after three of its fishermen drowned on the way home from watching an All Ireland final in Clifden. However, it is slowly being repopulated

Responsibility for the islands was taking over by the Department of Rural and Community Development . It was previously with the Gaeltacht section in the Department of Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht.

It is a periodic bone of contention, as Ireland does not have the same approach to its islands as Norway, which believes in right of access. However, many improvements were made during Fianna Fáíl Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív's time as minister. The Irish Island Federation, Comdháil Oileáin na hÉireann, represents island issues at national and international level.

The 12 offshore islands with registered voters have long argued that having to cast their vote early puts them at a disadvantage – especially as improved transport links mean that ballot boxes can be transported to the mainland in most weather conditions, bar the winter months. Legislation allowing them to vote on the same day as the rest of the State wasn't passed in time for the February 2020 general election.

Yes, but check tide tables ! Omey island off north Connemara is accessible at low tide and also runs a summer race meeting on the strand. In Sligo, 14 pillars mark the way to Coney island – one of several islands bearing this name off the Irish coast.

Cape Clear or Oileán Chléire is the country's most southerly inhabited island, eight miles off the west Cork coast, and within sight of the Fastnet Rock lighthouse, also known as the "teardrop of Ireland".
Skellig Michael off the Kerry coast, which has a monastic site dating from the 6th century. It is accessible by boat – prebooking essential – from Portmagee, Co Kerry. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions, it was not open to visitors in 2020.
All islands have bird life, but puffins and gannets and kittiwakes are synonymous with Skellig Michael and Little Skellig. Rathlin island off Antrim and Cape Clear off west Cork have bird observatories. The Saltee islands off the Wexford coast are privately owned by the O'Neill family, but day visitors are permitted access to the Great Saltee during certain hours. The Saltees have gannets, gulls, puffins and Manx shearwaters.
Vikings used Dublin as a European slaving capital, and one of their bases was on Dalkey island, which can be viewed from Killiney's Vico road. Boat trips available from Coliemore harbour in Dalkey. Birdwatch Ireland has set up nestboxes here for roseate terns. Keep an eye out also for feral goats.
Plenty! There are regular boat trips in summer to Inchagoill island on Lough Corrib, while the best known Irish inshore island might be the lake isle of Innisfree on Sligo's Lough Gill, immortalised by WB Yeats in his poem of the same name. Roscommon's Lough Key has several islands, the most prominent being the privately-owned Castle Island. Trinity island is more accessible to the public - it was once occupied by Cistercian monks from Boyle Abbey.

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