The islands of Donegal are quite simply an outstanding collection of places to visit. In this 20 or so guide pages I have simply visited all the islands off the coast of Donegal taken lots of photographs and go-pro footage. The idea is that over time each island will have its own page with a picture gallery with blue sky and sunshine pictures, a u-tube film and lots of written information, the more developed islands will have its own climbing guidebook.
I started with the easier permanently inhabited islands such as Cruit with its bridge to the mainland and Arranmore and Tory with their daily ferry services. All three of these islands have sizable climbing guidebooks and Cruit in particular is one of the most poular rock climbing venues in the country. Each of these islands has been visited on many occasions and their general details are written up on many sites and social media channels.
The next set of islands are a small step up the ladder in the terms that they only have summer residents in holiday homes and a summer ferry. Gola and Owey Islands have an incredible amount of quality rock climbing on their granite sea cliffs. Both Islands have been climbed on since the 90's with Owey over the last few summers getting a rebirth with a pile of very hard new routes being climbed on it's higher and steeper seaward faces.
The next tier of islands have no ferry service and no (or very few summer inhabitants,) they are also less than a kilometre sea passage from the nearest mainland pier. Inishsirrer, Inishmeane and Inishfree Lower are each pristine islands with immaculate tropical style sandy beaches, with reletively easy sea passages they make great starter islands and even better days out.
Raising the bar a little more the next set of islands have longer sea passages involving circumnavigations around other islands and outlaying skerries. A wee bit of nautical knowledge is required to reach these middle distance outposts. Umfin, Tororragaun and Raithlin O'Birne each offer a remote island experience the landings of Umfin And Raithlin O'Birne being quite easy rocky beach landings and Tororragaun being a tidal rocky shelf landing.
The final set of islands are the very remote and harder to reach with over 5 kilometre sea passage from mainland Donegal and no human inhabitants at all. Stags Rocks and Roan Inish both providing very different far distant island experiences. The Stags are very rarely visited and landed on as they are tiny and steep side lumps of rock, they are also open to every ripple of motion south through to north.
The islands of The Rosses and Gweedore
County Donegal Map
Roan Inish is a full 5 kilometre paddle from Port Noo but once you arrive at the island it is a very easy sandy beach landing at the eastern end of the island. It is also a very easy amble from one side of the Island to the other with a small lake and tiny sheep flock to keep you company.
The daddy of island visits and spectacular days out is a visit the The Stags of Broadhaven off the north west coast of Co Mayo. This archipelago of five 50 to 100 mtre high islands sit at the very southern tip of the Donegal Bay. I dont think anything can prepare you for a visit here it really is a surreal place to be.
This island guide is most definitely a work in progress I have yet to visit all the Islands, so any islands not listed means the photos I took were awful or I've yet to make a visit. :-)
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