Inishkea Islands - Rich with History and Wildlife - Visit North Mayo

Laying around 5km west of the Mullet peninsular, the Inishkea Islands are a spectacular place to visit. White sandy beaches, crystal clear water and a rich history await discovery. Explore the diverse flora and fauna that inhabit these islands, a treasure trove of wild beauty. Take in stunning 360 degree views of the surrounding islands, the Mullet Peninsular and the mainland.

Rich History

There is evidence of settlement dating back at least 5000 years. These now uninhabited islands have a number of Neolithic and early Christian monastic sites for you to explore. At low tide walk across to what remains of Ireland’s only whaling station, located on Rusheen, a small islet just off the South Island. The Norwegian station operated for a limited period in the early 20th century, in which time it caused tensions between the two Islands, with jobs only given to men from the South, leaving the North Islanders with just the foul smell!

Remnants of a deserted house on the Inishkea Islands

The Inishkea islands were once inhabited with a tightknit fishing community until tragedy struck in 1927. On Friday 27th of October a number of Currachs were in their fishing grounds 800 yards off shore. They were caught in an unexpected and violent storm, as a result, ten fishermen were lost at sea. Devastated, the community never fully recovered, they were rehoused on the mainland a few years later. Visit the houses, schools and even pubs standing where they were abandoned almost 100 years ago, a testament to the people who called these islands their home.

Diverse Range of Wildlife

Discover the diverse range of flora around the islands, with over 200 plant species. This includes many wildflowers, White Clover, Tufted Vetches and Northern Marsh Orchids to name just a few . You can find an abundance of wildlife on and around the islands. With roughly one third of the national population of Atlantic Grey Seals living here. With many sea birds, waders and even peregrine falcons using the islands as a home. Large numbers of Barnacle Geese migrate here, nesting over winter from October to April. Lucky day tripper’s may even encounter dolphins and porpoises, or on rare occasion whales on the trip from Blacksod.

Information for visiting the islands

To get to the Inishkea Islands Black Sod Sea Safari and Geraghty Charters both operate from Blacksod pier. This is weather dependant. It takes approximately 35 minutes to reach the islands. Parking is free of charge and is located on the pier. (GPS 54.099000, – 10.060077)

The islands have been uninhabited for many years. Once you reach the islands there are no facilities. So please be aware and take the following into consideration for your trip:

  • Suitable footwear
  • Rain coat/jacket, umbrella
  • Swimmers and towel
  • Spare clothes
  • Suncream / Sunhat
  • Lunch / Water
  • Camera / Phone

Whilst you are in the area why not take a guided tour around Blacksod Lighthouse, or go further afield with Alchemy Tours.

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