Quick Guide To Irish Islands

For information on reaching islands off the coast of Ireland, see our Directory of Irish Ferries page

Islands off North Donegal coast

Tory Island (Toraigh)

Island with about 170 people and four little towns. Famous artist and musician colony, it’s reachable by ferry from Donegal, though the ocean can kick up so much in winter that the ferry stops running.

Inishbofin (Inis Bo Finne)

Rugged island criss-crossed by stone walls, loved by outdoorsmen and scuba divers, and inhabited by about 200 people. There are several small hotels. Read more on our sister site, Ireland-fun-facts, about Inishbofin

Gola Island (Gabhla)

Abandoned island with an eerie “ghost town” atmosphere off the town of Gweedore (where there’s a ferry), it’s popular with rock climbers.

Inishfree (Inis Fraoigh)

Small island with just a few inhabitants, it’s admired today as a nature preserve. Reachable by boat from Burtonport (Inishfree Charters, Inc)

Arranmore Island (Arainn Mhorr)

Georgous island just a 3 mile ferry trip from Burtonport, it has a winter population of 600 that doubles during the summer. Amazing cliffs and light effects loved by photographers and artists.

Inishmurray (Inis Muirígh)

Officially part of Sligo, this uninhabited island has Christian monastic ruins and has a somewhat mystical reputation. A bit tricky, even dangerous, to put a boat into due to rocky coastline.

Inishkea (Inis Ge)

Small, uninhabited and appealing island with passage tombs and Christian ruins.

Islands off County Mayo coast

Inishbiggle (Inis Bigil)

Tiny uninhabited island.

Achill Island

Largest island off Ireland’s coast, it is reachable by a bridge from the mainland. Offers great scenery and several appealing cultural festivals, but has been hurt by a good deal of development.

Clare Island (Oileán Chliara)

Small island with a population of 130 that doubles in summer. Features a medieval abbey and the burial place of Grace O’Malley, the “pirate queen.”

Inishturk (Inis Toirc)

9 miles off Mayo coast, Inishturk is reachable by a 9-mile ferry trip from Roonagh or Cleggan. It has about 70 full-time residents, beautiful scenery and a friendly atmosphere.

Oileán an Bhráighe

Isolated, undeveloped Irish-speaking island with less than 10 inhabitants. So close to the mainland you can walk across at low tide, though you’ll get our feet wet.

Islands off County Clare coast

Aran Islands

The Aran Islands were once one of the most remote outcroppings in all of Western Europe, with a very unique culture all their own. Today they’re heavily visited by tourists, but their giant cliffs and big stretches of farm fields framed by stone walls still have an atmosphere that’s unique and, at times, still quite entrancing. All reachable by many ferries from Doolin and Galway City area.

  • Inisheer (Inis Oirr) Literally, “eastern island,” it’s the smallest of the three.
  • Inishmore (Inis Mór) The largest island, about 12 miles across.
  • Inishman (Inis Meáin)

Scattery Island (Inis Cathaigh)

Small, uninhabited outcropping in the Shannon Estuary with a history of Viking conquest, visits by the Spanish Armada and 7 churches, which can be visited for a day trip. Read our article about Scattery Island

Islands off County Kerry coast

Blasket Islands (Na Blascaodai)

Uninhabited group of six islands (with additional outcroppings too small to be called islands) off the Dingle Peninsula. Ancient monastery and incredible bird-watching make for an outstanding day visit.

Beginish Island (sometimes called Church Island)

Tiny uninhabited island near Valentia reachable for day trips by local boats.

Valentia Island (Dairbhre)

Verdant island about 7 miles long off the mid-point of the Ring of Kerry, occupied by about 650 people. Famed as eastern end of first trans-Atlantic communications cable. Popular day trip.

Skellig Islands (Na Scealga)

Three uninhabited stone outcroppings, most famous for an amazing monastery ruin on the largest island, Skellig Michael. A UNESCO world heritage site, that’s a great day trip for Portmagee.

Islands off County Cork coast

Dursey Island (Baoi Bhéarra)

Small island off the tip of the Beara Peninsula, perhaps best known for the way you get to it: a hair raising cable car ride over the water.

Bere Island (An tOileán Mór)

Small island off Castletownbere about 3 × 7 miles large with a population of 200 or so. Pleasant little villages with craft shops are an attraction for day-trippers.

Long Island

Beautiful, three mile wide and sparsely populated island off Schull favored by outdoors-loving day visitors.

Heir Island (Inis Uí Drisceoil, sometimes called “Hare” Island)

Rocky, beautiful island with only 20 inhabitants, a quick ride from Schull or Baltimore on local boats.

Sherkin Island (Inis Earcáin)

Three mile-long Island that was once home to over 1,000, which now claims just 100 inhabitants. Largely a summer community, it has several guest houses where you can stay to enjoy strolling the quiet Atlantic beaches.

Cape Clear Island (Oileán Chléire)

Irish-speaking community of 100 people on a rocky, beautiful island with a lighthouse and an amazing bird population. Read article on our sister site Ireland-fun-facts about Cape Clear Island

Off County Antrim Coast (Northern Ireland)

Raithlin Island

Wild, rugged, uninhabited outcropping famed for wildlife, and for entrepreneur Richard Branson crashing his air balloon here in 1987. Dotted all around with shipwrecks.

Off County Dublin

Ireland’s Eye (Inis Mac Neasáin)

Small, uninhabited island with lovely church ruins and spectacular rock formations that’s a popular tourist destination for day-trippers. Reachable by ferry from Howth.

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