This tiny undiscovered Island off the coast of Donegal is a place to get lost, to contemplate, to walk. So secluded is Oileán an Bhráighe that is often missing from maps. One has to explore to find it.
It is, however, surprisingly easy to reach. As long as you don't arrive at high tide you can drive across to this unique retreat. Before the causeway to the mainland was built, children used to wade through the water on stilts at low tide to get to school.
It was formerly known as Oileran na Bhreighe, meaning 'island of the prisoners,' which is its official name. It formerly had links with Doe Castle on Rosapenna, so this probably explains the origin of that name.
The present name, Oilean Ruaidh, means 'red island,' so called for the vibrant rusty colour of the vegetation in winter. The English name, 'Island Roy' is just a phonetic rendering penned hastily by surveyors in the 19th century.
The rocky shores and green fields of Oilean Ruaidh provide ideal nesting for birds and an abundance of wildlife. It is a perfect place to spend a day walking and breathing in the stunning views across to the sand dunes at Machaire Loiscthe, the Fanad Mountains and An Mhucais.