The journeys to reach the islands of Ireland are as much a part of the experience and adventure as the islands themselves. For some you drive across impressive causeways and bridges, or for Dursey Island board a swinging cable car, but for most it is the island ferries that will bring you to your chosen island escape.
Leave your car behind (most ferries don’t take cars and, considering how small most of the islands are, you won’t need one anyway), step aboard, breath in the salty sea air, listen to the engines roar to life and the ferry men cast off the ropes as you turn and head towards the open water.
The ferry rides are a perfect family adventure and many are wheelchair accessible. The ferries range from luxury purpose built boats to more simple old fishing boats. The ferries leave from various small picturesque ports along the coast.
The main ferry port for the islands of West Cork is the fishing village of Baltimore, for the Aran Islands Rossaveal and Doolin, for Inishturk and Clare Island Roonagh Pier and for the North West islands of Tory and Inishbofin Magheroarty.
For more detailed information please look at the individual ferry listings in each of the island's profile pages.
Check sailing times and book your trip:
It is always advisable to check sailing times with the ferry or boat operator before travelling and to book your journey in both directions in advance, or as advised by the boat operator. The boats may be large or small vessels, as indicated on this website. All sailings are weather dependent and often subject to demand.
Travel prepared for every weather eventuality
Wear layered clothing and sensible shoes and prepare for the particular island journey you are planning. For instance, while some of the islands are populated, easy to reach and have a full range of services from accommodation to catering facilities, others are uninhabited and remote with no services. This website should give you a general sense of what to expect, but your licensed boat operator is your best source of information and advice. Generally, if travelling to an island with little or no services you should bring your own food and necessary supplies.
Best time to visit:
Some of the islands are very busy in high season (July and August in particular), so the fringes of the season are often the best time to visit. See each island profile for guidance.
Care for the islands’ environment:
Please leave the islands as you have found them, taking nothing but photographs and leaving nothing but footprints. Please respect monuments, habitats, dwellings, stone walls, plant and wild life. Please dispose of any litter in bins or bring it with you from the islands.
BE SAFE - TAKE CARE
The islands represent a very special visitor experience but, because of their very nature, are fully exposed to all of nature’s elements. Consequently, their terrains are mostly rugged and the seas surrounding them can sometimes be wild. Always take the greatest possible care when exploring the islands and their waters.