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Island News
Ireland’s Eye just off Howth in North Co Dublin
Howth’s iconic Ireland’s Eye has been purchased by investment group Tetrarch Capital, TheJournal.ie comfirms. The island — which is an important breeding spot for many seabirds — was included in the recent sale of Howth Castle and demesne by the…
Commodore John Kavanagh, formerly Officer Commanding Naval Service. In 1979 as Captain John Kavanagh, he was in command of the LE Deirdre which played a central role in the Fastnet Disaster Rescue and was on station for longer than any other vessel
The significant role played by the Irish Naval Service in the 1979 Fastnet Race Disaster has sometimes been overlooked in the dramatic images of helicopters and lifeboats in direct action writes W Nixon. But in fact the LE Deirdre under…
Scattery Island, Co Clare, is one of many islands holding events for heritage week.
As part of Heritage Week (17-25 August) the programme includes a selection of lovely islands and a wide range of activities to entice you. From waltzing on Scattery Island, Co Clare or learning about boatbuilding on Bere Island there are…
Inis Mór in the Aran Islands
Island life, in all its challenges, also harbours opportunity for the transition to renewable energy — and the people of the Aran Islands are putting that into practice. Juliette Gash reports for RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland from the Galway…
Omey islander Maggie Coohill, who has initiated a petition to have bones excavated on the island over 30 years ago returned for a Christian burial
On the eve of Connemara’s Omey island races, relatives of islanders have initiated a petition seeking the urgent return of bones removed during an archaeological excavation writes Lorna Siggins Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan has also been urged to intervene to…
The new Spike Island ferry operated by Doyle Shipping
A new Cork Harbour ferry has been launched to Spike Island to coincide with the opening of a major new exhibition there, and it's hoped these initiatives will lead to a rise in tourist visitor numbers writes Bob Bateman. The ferry, named…
Newly Connected Arranmore Appeals Around The World For New Residents
The community of Arranmore is appealing to people around the world to consider bolstering their numbers on the island off Co Donegal. The Gaeltacht island, northwest of Dungloe, recently became Ireland’s first offshore digital hub thanks to Three Ireland’s mobile…
The property comprising the two cottages and outbuildings, adjacent to the now automated lighthouse on Rathlin O’Birne Island
Just €75,000 is the asking price for two fixer-upper lightest keeper’s cottages on a Donegal island, as BreakingNews.ie reports. The cottages, which boast six bedrooms between them, are located on Rathlin O’Birne Island, some three nautical miles west of the…
Tánaiste welcomes leaders from 31 small island developing states for Our Ocean Wealth Summit held in Cork. Below: White Bay Beach in Cork Harbour
The Irish state is particularly aware of the threat climate change poses through sea level rises, given its island status, Tánaiste Simon Coveney has said. As The Irish Times reports, Mr Coveney and Minister for the Marine Michael Creed are…
Ballot boxes were taken aboard the ferry to Árainn Mhór (Arranmore), Co. Donegal. Above AFLOAT adds is the wheelhouse of an Aranmore Ferry Co carferry which operates a 15 minutes service to and from Burtonport on the mainland.
RTE News reports that for more than 2,000 people who live off the coasts of Donegal, Mayo and Galway polling day in the Local and European elections is today. This is expected to be the last time that islanders will…
Bottlenose dolphin playing with a paddleboarder in front of Dalkey Island
Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is currently carrying out a visitor survey for Dalkey Island to assist in the long-term management and protection of a key historical and ecological site in Dublin Bay. Dalkey Island, which is owned by the council,…
The first Cape Clear Island Dark Skies event takes place over the weekend of Friday to Sunday, 22 to 24th May
Cape Clear Island off the coast of West Cork is seeking to become one of only 22 Dark Sky sites worldwide officially recognised by the IDA ( International Dark Sky Association). These sites are dedicated to stargazing and are increasingly…
The hotel is located right at Tory Island’s main harbour
A 14-room hotel on one of Ireland’s most remote and picturesque islands is now on the market for less than the asking price of many Dublin homes, as The Irish Times reports. Óstan Thóraigh has been the centre of life…
Valentia Island Aims to Lead Way in Hydrogen Energy Use
#islandnews - An island off Co. Kerry is aiming to produce clean energy which could be used to power public lighting and propel its ferry service, among other uses. As the Irish Examiner writes, Valentia Island is planning to transform…
All Party Call to Rally Behind Irish Islands
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called on all Irish parties in the EU to support her amendment calling for funding for Irish islands in the European Parliament tomorrow. The Ireland South MEP made the call for cross-party support…
Cape Clear Among 26 European Islands to Launch Clean Energy Transition
Today, 26 European islands have officially launched their clean energy transition with the support of the European Commission’s Clean Energy for EU Islands Secretariat. In a first phase, 6 islands, the Aran Islands (Ireland) Cres-Lošinj (Croatia), Sifnos (Greece), Culatra (Portugal),…

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.

©Afloat 2020

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