Spending a day (or two) on Inishturk Island a small, beautiful and tranquil island located nine miles (14.5km) off the west coast of County Mayo.
Make the effort and you will not be disappointed. Bring a picnic and hop on the 10:45 am O' Malley Ferry (20 euro round trip) from Roonagh Pier and spend a day exploring this sparsely populated haven of natural beauty. The return ferry departs Inishturk at 5:15 pm.
On the island, there are two well-marked walking/hiking trails. The trail-head is located at a gable wall 50m from the pier. From the trail-head follow the surfaced road for 100m past the church (on your right). There is the shorter trail that sweeps around the island past Loch Cúil a Chnoic in an anti-clockwise direction but the longer trail is superior, offering up some wonderful scenery from the cliffs at the rear of the island.
One of the island’s most interesting sights, “The Spirit of Place Sculpture”, designed and built by American architect Travis Price. This is the first point of interest – planted in a fascinating and panoramic location for a post-modern piece of sculpture. It's a poignant dedication to the families of Inishturk and the ideal place to sit down and gaze out at the sea.
The Signal Tower is directly above the Travis Price sculpture and it's a steep climb to the top but the rewards are amazing with breathtaking scenery. Achill Island, Croagh Patrick and the north Connemara mountains in one uninterrupted sweeping vista. The signal tower itself was built during 1805-1806 by local labor and rises 722 feet above sea level. There were 82 towers built finishing on Malin Head no 82. Inishturk was no 57. The system used was a heliograph or steel plate polished to reflect the rays of the sun to passing ships, the first Morse code to discourage Napoleonic invasion during the Napoleonic Wars (18 May 1803 – 20 November 1815)
The Cliffs: These are only visible if taking the longer trail. This is as rugged as it gets and thankfully one of the island inhabitants had the foresight to erect a seating bench right at the cliffs! On a fine summer's day in Ireland - it doesn't get any better than this. It's idyllic.
Inishturk Football (GAA) Pitch: Surrounded by rocky mountains on three sides, it's a football pitch that appears out of nowhere as you’re coming up the road. A natural amphitheater – it is perhaps one of the most unique sporting facilities in the country.
Port An Dun: Another noteworthy site worth visiting. A natural secluded lagoon that provided the ideal cover for the Norse raiding parties. Port An Dun is right of the football pitch and many take a dip into its tempting waters on a fine day.
Two great beaches near the Inishturk Community Centre: Tranaun and Curran beaches. Unspoiled with crystal clear blue water another ideal place to swim or just watch the sun go down on what locals claim to be the best views around. Spend a day exploring Caher Island: Charter a boat (50 euro approx) and visit the nearby wondrous uninhabited Caher Island. The island has an Early Christian monastery with the remains of a chapel in an enclosure and several carved slabs. Finally, the
Inishturk Community Centre: The ideal place to finish up the day (sitting outside) with a pint of Guinness surrounded by a striking kaleidoscope of natural beauty.
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