Irish islands

Ireland of course is an island and it is surrounded by smaller islands. Some inhabited and some not. While in Ireland I went to 4 islands The first one off of Doolin was one of a group of Aran islands and I wrote about it here. /https://sueswanderings.com/2019/05/26/ireland-part-1-in-doolin/

Another one we went to that you can actually walk onto was Abbey island at Derrynane bay. I wrote about that one herehttps://sueswanderings.com/2019/06/16/derrynane-bay-ireland

We also went to Skellig Michael islands however we did not get to embark on the island as it was nesting season which made for seeing thousands or birds.

The magnificent Skellig Islands lie 8 miles (12 km) off the coast of Portmagee in South West Kerry. Rising majestically from the sea, Skellig Michael towers 714ft. (218 metres) above sea level. On the summit of this awe-inspiring rock you will find a remarkably well preserved sixth century monastic settlement. On the spectacular Small Skelligs 23,000 pairs of gannet nest on every available ledge making it the second largest gannet colony in the world. A visit to this major tourist attraction may well be the highlight of your holiday.

Photos of the boat ride out to Skellig Michael.

Lots of Gannets
This is a Gannet

Tons of birds on these islands and flying all around them and in the water.

covered in birds

My favorite island was Blasket Island .

The Blasket Islands
This rugged group of six islands (Na Blascaodai) off the tip of Dingle Peninsula seems particularly close to the soul of Ireland. The population of Great Blasket Island (An Blascaod Mór), home to as many as 160 people, dwindled until the government moved the last handful of residents to the mainland in 1953. Life here was hard. Each family had a cow, a few sheep, and a plot of potatoes. They cut their peat from the high ridge and harvested fish from the sea. There was no priest, pub, or doctor. Because they were not entirely dependent upon the potato, they survived the famine relatively unscathed. These people formed the most traditional Irish community of the 20th century—the symbol of ancient Gaelic culture.

A special closeness to an island—combined with a knack for vivid storytelling—is inspirational. From this primitive but proud fishing/farming community came three writers of international repute whose Gaelic work—basically tales of life on Great Blasket Island—is translated into many languages. You’ll find Peig (by Peig Sayers), Twenty Years a-Growing (Maurice O’Sullivan), and The Islander (Thomas O’Crohan) in shops everywhere.

The island’s café and hostel have closed down, and today Great Blasket is little more than a ghost town overrun with rabbits on a peaceful, grassy, three-mile-long poem.

This island made me feel like I was in the Caribbean as the color was so Caribbean blue and clear . Only difference is that it is a bit colder. Not an island you will see people sunbathing and swimming on . You can spend the night here in one of 2 rustic cabins. You need to bring what you need as they only have the little cafe for snacks and coffee. No electricity either. But, I imagine the star gazing would be amazing if you can catch it on a clear night !!

There is a couple who stays all summer and runs the little cafe and cleans the cottages. There is also this lady who stays all summer and collects and spins wool from the island sheep. Making scarves and hats. I bought a hat from her.

If you get to Ireland I would highly suggest going to some of these islands.

Yes, we had dolphins following us out to the Blasket Islands !!

Derrynane bay, Ireland.

Derrynane bay is on the Ring of Kerry in Ireland . We spent the morning trying to decide where to go for the day. So glad we picked Derrynane bay. It was a wonderful place to wander about all day . Complete with amazing beach , ancient abbey island, and a fairy forest . Beautiful day exploring this gorgeous area.

On the western edge of Darrynane Bay lies Abbey Island. To reach this island, one just has to walk across the beach, which is very recommendable as numerous ancient treasures can be found here. One of them being the ruins of a former monastry with a graveyard.
In the other direction Derrynane House, a former mansion, surrounded by diverse gardens can be explored. Daniel O’Connell (often also referred to as the Liberator), a politician who fought for equal rights for the opressed Catholics in the 19th century, grew up in this house.

Derrynane is one of the most alluring locations in Ireland. The terrain varies from rugged shoreline to gently rolling mountains. The sheltered harbour of Derrynane was once the haunt of pirates and buccaneers from Daniel O’ Connell’s time. The area still offers great adventures with the opportunity to enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery and activities imaginable. From walking and hiking treks to horse riding on Derrynane Beach, archaeology sites galore to fairy trails, there is an abundance of thrills for everyone.

Ireland , Kenmare area.

Driving around the ring of Kerry

After leaving Doolin which I wrote about in my last post , I met with some friends in Kenmare where we spent 5 nights. Still a small town but much bigger then Doolin. Kenmare is also a gateway to the ring of Kerry which is an impressively beautiful area. Having a car we were able to see quite a lot. I think the best way to see all that Ireland has to offer is with a car.

Sally and I enjoying the scenery on ring of Kerry drive

Hiking at Glenanchaquin park was a treat. It had it all. Rolling green hills, waterfalls, lakes and sweeping views.

And now a well deserved cup of coffee after a beautiful hike.

Another wonderful day in Ireland 🍀

Ireland. Part 1 , in Doolin.

Awhile back I picked up a house sit in Scotland for a few weeks in May. Have always wanted to go to Ireland to so decided to go there first for about 2 weeks. I really ❤️ Love Ireland!! Amazingly beautiful, green country with very friendly people and the music is amazing. Being a music lover I was told to be sure to go to Doolin. Doolin is a small village in county Clare with only a few hundred people living there. It is also a gateway to the Aran islands. Doolin is the heart and soul of traditional Irish music. Although a very small village there are 4 pubs and all have music nightly most months of the year.

For a taste of a pub session click on this link.

I stayed in a cute hostel in Doolin called Aille river hostel. Center of town on a beautiful river.

Aille river hostel

The cliffs of moher are a major attraction in the area and are majestic to say the least. You can take a bus to cliffs of Moher from Doolin and then hike back. About a 7 mile awesomely beautiful hike. Lots of birds can be seen as well as the elusive Puffin which I am sorry to say I did not get to see. Here are some photos of the cliffs and of Doolin.

Nesting birds all along the cliffs.
Doolin
Doolin
Music in Doolin at MCDERMOTS pub.
Music at Gus OConners pub. This guy sang some great traditional Irish songs.

I mentioned the Aran islands. There are 3 islands and many of the 1200 occupants can be heard speaking the old Gaelic language. I went to the smallest island one day and spent the day walking around. You can take a buggy ride or rent a bike as well. Very few cars on the island. I saw one hotel and a hostel. Here are some photos of the isle Inisher.

More of Ireland in my next post. After Doolin I met up with some friends in Kenmare . We went on some great hikes in Kenmare and in Dingle as well as driving the ring of Kerry and the Dingle way.