Toraigh or Tory Island is an island of mystery and antiquity off the northern tip of Donegal.
Toraigh’s remoteness has led to the preservation of the traditions and way of life of its resilient and independent people. Their music, dance, song and stories are living expressions of an ancient Gaelic culture. Many of Toraigh’s ancient customs still survive, including the appointment of the island king or Rí Thoraí.
Toraigh is famous for its school of 'primitive painters', who were encouraged by the internationally famous painter, the late Derek Hill. Gailearaí Dixon exhibits the work of island artists.
Interesting historical sites include a round tower that once protected monks from Viking raids, the ruins of St Colmcille’s 6th century monastery and the intriguing Tau Cross that suggests early seafaring links to the Coptic Christians of Egypt. The island also boasts an abundance of rare bird life and wild flower species as well as a rich submarine landscape that can be explored through the local dive centre.
Toraigh must be visited if one is to understand why this remote crag holds such an attraction for its inhabitants that they, like their forebears, endure the full fury of the North Atlantic winter for the privilege of living there in summer.
When visiting between March and September look out for puffins, who nest on the island at that time of year.