Are you a nature lover looking for a quiet retreat away from the hustle and bustle of daily life?
Then Sherkin Island off the coast of West Cork may be the perfect spot for a peaceful getaway.
Visiting an Irish island can be a truly memorable experience, especially when the sun shines.
Ireland is an island itself, but did you know there are about 80 large islands off the coast of the Emerald Isle, and about 20 of these islands are still inhabited?
Today we’re going to take a photographic tour of one of these small isles off the Irish coast.
Sherkin Island is a little slice of heaven in the Atlantic Ocean, close to the shores of County Cork, and home to about 100 people.
Baltimore Harbor, County Cork:
Sherkin Island lies in Baltimore Harbor – now that’s the harbor named after Baltimore, Ireland, the sea faring town in County Cork. Baltimore, Maryland was named after this idyllic spot.
The ferry crossing from Baltimore to Sherkin is very quick and usually very smooth. The harbor around Baltimore is very sheltered. If you’re lucky, the sea will be flat and calm for the short ten minute crossing to Sherkin.
There’s a bus service around the island, but don’t be scared to walk. My advice is to stroll the picturesque roads and boreens of the island. The views are spectacular.
And this island is a must-see tourist spot along the now famous Wild Atlantic Way.
A Small Inhabited Island Off The County Cork Coast:
This small island is just three miles long, and one mile wide – a perfect size for exploring by foot. And what can I say about the landscape. Words will hardly do it justice.
It’s tranquil, breathtaking, and captivating. I could list adjectives by the dozen, but a picture is worth a thousand wards.
I hope these photos help capture a little of the beauty of Sherkin. But trust me, after reviewing this post you’ll understand, These images are simple, visual proof, you must see and experience Sherkin, to truly appreciate its splendor.
Here’s a short video and photo gallery which you might enjoy….
A Little History Of Sherkin Island:
My favorite activity on Sherkin is strolling along its quiet leafy lanes or boreens.
There are castle ruins, abandoned homesteads, a wedge tomb, an old lighthouse and a ruined Franciscan friary, which locals call the ‘Abbey’, all waiting to be explored.
The remains of a wedge tomb can be found on the shoreline, but it was damaged by a storm a few years ago.
Dún na Long, meaning the fort of the ships, is the ancestral home of the O’Driscoll clan. The ruined remains of their castle still stands, covered in ivy, just north of the pier.
The Abbey was built around 1460 by the local Chieftan, Fineen O’Driscoll. But unfortunately it was sacked in 1537, set upon by a crowd of angry sailors from Waterford.
Apparently the O’Driscoll clan had procured (or stolen) a large quantity of wine from their neighbors in Waterford, and the thirsty seafarers attacked the Abbey in retaliation.
The Franciscan Friary continued to function despite the attack. However, that all came to an end in 1650, when it was confiscated by Cromwellian soldiers.
The Beecher family was given control of the island by Cromwell, and the native Irish became tenant farmers of this Anglo Irish family.
In 1895, Sir Henry Beecher returned the island to the Board of Works.
Today, Sherkin is under the protection of the National Monuments Service.
An Artists’ Retreat:
Sherkin Island inspires many artists who have chosen to live within its magnificent surroundings.
In the summer months the bees, the butterflies and a myriad of wildflowers bring tranquility and joy to island explorers.
Fuchsia thrives in the hedgerows of Sherkin, and is a favorite subject matter for resident artists.
You’ll find some artist studios to explore as you wander around the island’s lanes.
Sherkin offers a choice of sandy beaches. There’s Trabawn, Cow Strand and, the largest, Silver Strand. These beaches are safe for swimming, so if the sun is shining don’t forget your swimsuit (or togs aw we used to say in Ireland many years ago.)
Silver Strand is a lovely white sand beach with views to the west of Cape Clear island, where the locals speak Irish or Gaelic.
Tourists To West Cork Should Visit Sherkin Island:
And so, if you’re planning to explore County Cork on a trip to Ireland, I highly recommend spending a sunny day on Sherkin Island, also known as the ‘Island of the Arts.”
Home to spectacular beaches, a lively and productive artist community, and tranquil laneways, Sherkin Island is just waiting to be explored.
Be sure to allow adequate time to simply pause, meet the locals, admire the stunning views, and discover your Irish heritage through traditional music and tasty Irish food at the local pub, The Jolly Roger, and the hotel, Sherkin House.
Wishing you happy trails exploring Ireland’s islands.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom
Here are some other posts from around County Cork, which you might enjoy.
For Pinterest fans, here are some pin friendly images to add to your boards.
Here’s another pin friendly image…
You may also enjoy reading about Ireland’s other counties. Check out our tour so far ….