There’s a feeling of enchantment from the moment you step aboard the ferry at the old town of Burtonport (Ailt an Chorráin) five miles from Dungloe (An Clochán Liath), and steam past the surrounding islands of Inniscoo and Innishkeragh, and half an hour hence, arrive at one of Ireland’s largest inhabited islands. Populated from the early Iron Age onawards, Arranmore (Árainn Mhór) has been a centre of Gaelic culture for centuries.
Gola Island, or in Gaelic Gabhla, is the ideal destination for a walker seeking an ‘off the beaten track’ walk. Gola Island, less than 2km from the mainland at Gaoth Dobhair (Gweedore), has been uninhabited since the 1960’s. Evidence of the Island’s heritage remains, though, in the form of stone cottages of families who have long since moved to the mainland.
Inis Bó Finne means “Island of the white cow”. Completely unspoilt, it has a beautiful coastline that varies between white sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs, hidden caves, and a striking sea arch. Coastal nature is rich in this rugged Atlantic outpost
Inishfree Island, approximately one square mile of sandy beaches and beautiful scenery, the island was home to thirty six families in a tightly-knit, caring community.
Inishtrahull’s main interest is geological, Ireland’s oldest rocks are to be found here.
It is also well known for its wildlife and is designated a Nature reserve by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. The islands geographical location and lighthouse attract many unusual birds, as well as a population of Grey Seals
Owey Island lies midway between Gola and Arranmore and is just off-shore from Cruit Island. The recently whitewashed cottages on Owey are clearly visible from the Clubhouse at the end of Cruit. It is roughly the same size as Gola, being a little over 300 acres in area. Like Gola it was once home to almost a hundred islanders but this population had reduced to about thirty by the time the last islanders left in 1974.
Tory Island’s name conjures up images of majesty and beauty. In fact as the northernmost outpost of Donegal’s thriving Gaeltacht culture, Tory is home to its own King, Iron Age forts, and medieval round towers. Rare birdlife and wildflowers find shelter on the Island. The finest musicians, storytellers, and dancers host sessions that linger into the early hours.