Official tourism website for Cork, Ireland

West Cork Island Escape

Across the harbour from Baltimore the West Cork coastline merges into the myriad islands and rocky islets known collectively as Carbery’s Hundred Isles. Treat yourself to a trip to these fascinating islands and experience a sense of what life on an island is like.

Day 1

All Aboard

From Baltimore let Cape Clear Ferries bring you on a tour of the Wild Atlantic Way waters around Baltimore and the Carbery’s Hundred Islands that you will always remember. Out on deck allow yourself to appreciate the beauty of the islands in the harbour as you can view Baltimore’s famous Beacon on your left hand side and Sherkin Island on your right as you leave Baltimore Harbour and head out to sea in the direction of Cape Clear Island, allowing 45 minutes for the ferry crossing.

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Cape Clear

The day trip will first stop at the largest of the Carbery’s Hundred Isles - Cape Clear. This wildly romantic island will impress those that visit. Cape Clear, or Oileán Chléire, is a Gaeltacht island 13km off the coast of West Cork. It is Ireland’s southernmost inhabited island. Only 5km long and 2km wide Cape Clear's remote isolation has created a unique and fiercely proud community. Cape Clear's rugged scenery, sheltered sparkling harbours, cliffs, bogs and scenic pebble beaches all contribute to the island’s unspoilt charm. 


5000 Year Old Passage Grave

Heather, gorse and wild flowers cover the rugged hills here between dry stone walls. Megalithic standing stones, a 5000 year old passage grave, a 12th Century church ruin and a 14th Century castle are testament to the island's rich cultural heritage. Explore its colourful harbour and spectacular cliffs. Wander down to the bird observatory and learn about the local birds while listening to their melodic chorus. There are a wide-range of other on-island experiences to enjoy including walking trails, kayaking, a goat farm and a Heritage Centre.


Fastnet Lighthouse

In the afternoon you will step back on board the ferry and be brought to the iconic Fastnet Rock Lighthouse. You will have ample time to get magnificent photos of 'An Carraig Aonair' also commonly known as the 'Tear Drop of Ireland' as it was the last part of Irish soil seen by the immigrant ships as they sailed away from shore and disappeared over the horizon, bound for America, in years gone by. You will then head back to Baltimore on a different sea route to the one you came. Once back in Baltimore you can get the local Ferry from the Pier to Sherkin Island a journey of roughly 15 minutes, where you can check in to spend the night.


Day 2

Sherkin Island

Wake up on Sherkin Island and spend the morning exploring this unique land. One of Carbery’s Hundred Isles, Sherkin is the ancestral home of the O’Driscoll clan whose castle lies just above the pier. Nearby, you can also roam the ruins of a 15th century Franciscan abbey. The Island lures artists, ecologists, walkers and musicians to its beautiful shores, where you’ll find Sherkin's three sandy beaches which make great secluded swimming areas especially Silver Strand. Walking along the shore here you may see seals, otters, schools of dolphins or the porpoises which gave the island its name.


Sherkin also has an automated lighthouse, maintained by locals, that is situated at Barrack Point and dates back to 1835. The lighthouse marks the southern entrance to Baltimore Harbour and the Baltimore Beacon. On the south western side of the island there is a fully functioning Roman Catholic Church. During the summer months you’ll find Sherkin buzzes with activity and locals are renowned for their warmth and hospitality. A number of artists live on the island and Sherkin is unique in running a Fine Arts Degree Course. Come to hear great live traditional music or enjoy the activities of the Sherkin Family Regatta, a big splash in the island's social calendar.



Get the ferry back to Baltimore around midday and have lunch in the Michelin star Customs House Restaurant before driving the short distance to Cunnamore Pier to get the afternoon ferry to Heir Island.

Heir Island is situated amidst Carbery’s hundred isles that lie scattered throughout the magical Roaringwater Bay. Heir Island, or as it sometimes referred to Hare Island, is surrounded by a panorama of Sherkin Island, Cape Clear, the Calf Islands, the East and West Skeams and Mount Gabriel to the North.


Heir Island

Spend the rest of the day discovering what is special about Heir Island. This small rugged island is home to spectacular flora and fauna, a famous restaurant and a highly regarded sailing school. Heir Island is the perfect setting for everything from water sports and walking to exploring and relaxing.  Heir Island is one of the most accessible and sheltered of the Carbery’s Hundred Isles. The extensive marsh land at the centre of the island has a vibrant reed bed where you'll find many unusual birds as well as over two hundred varieties of wild flowers.

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