The most westerly of West Cork’s inhabited islands, Dursey lies across a narrow sound and is a great getaway from the fray of modern living.
This rugged island is accessed via Ireland’s only cable car, which runs about 250m above the sea and takes six people at a time. The journey takes about ten minutes crossing the infamous Dursey Sound where strong tides make travelling by boat hazardous.
The island is part of the Beara Way walking trail and having no shops, pubs or restaurants offers the day visitor a unique experience of calm with spectacular views of the Beara peninsula. It is also a bird watcher’s paradise with rare birds from Siberia and America to be spotted there.
The Signal Tower stands on the furthest west hill and has commanding views north to the Skelligs and south to the Mizen. It was built 200 years ago as a line of defence against the French.
Monks from Skellig Rock are said to have founded the ancient church of Kilmichael on Dursey, now a ruin. O’Sullivan, Beara’s Dursey castle, was sacked by English forces in 1602 and local inhabitants thrown into the sea. There are three small villages on Dursey and many of the once derelict houses have been restored by the islanders as holiday homes.