South East Ireland Tourism
Travel guide to Ireland's south east
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Sherkin Island

Just across the bay from the fishing village of Baltimore, in West Cork, is the inspiring retreat of Sherkin Island. One of Carbery’s infamous “Hundred Isles”, Sherkin Island is the ancestral home of the O’Driscoll clan, and their ancient ruined castle lies just above the pier. Nearby, too, you can wander through the ruins of a 15th century Franciscan abbey.

The moment you step off the big orange ferry at Sherkin pier, time will seem to slow down. People greet each other, and have lots of time to talk. Wander along the ancient lane ways, past banks of red fuschia, bright orange mombrisha, and small rocky fields hemmed in by dry stone walls.

Sherkin Island’s automated lighthouse, high on Barrack Point, was built in 1835. It marks the southern entrance to Baltimore Harbour immediately across from the Baltimore Beacon. A small catholic church on the southern side of the island caters for the spiritual needs of much of the island’s population. Sherkin Island buzzes with activity during the summer months, and locals are renowned for their generous warmth and hospitality. Traditional music, too, is very important on the island, both with the islanders themselves, and with visiting musicians. Participate in wonderful traditional Irish music sessions, or enjoy the activities of the “Sherkin Family Regatta”, one of the biggest splashes in the island’s social calendar.

Sherkin Island’s three sandy beaches are ideal for secluded swimming and fine coastal walks. At various times of the year you will see seal, otter, dolphins  and porpoises. An unusual number of established artists live on the island, and Sherkin is unique among islands, in that it runs its own Fine Arts Degree Course. Unusually, among the newer residents on the island, are a loose collection of artists and writers from America, Australia, Canada, Poland, Denmark, France, Germany, Britain, and Russia.

How to get to Sherkin Island

The Sherkin Island Ferry leaves Baltimore for Sherkin every 90 minutes during the summer months. Winter sailings are less frequent. The journey time is 10 minutes, the fare is 10 Euro return, and there is no need for pre-booking.

Explore more

Sherkin Island is located off Baltimore which is in turn surrounded by beautiful coastal towns. Don't miss Skibereen and Schull if you are travelling west, and don't miss Baltimore, and Castle Townshend, if you are travelling east.

Where to Stay

Sherkin offers a range of accommodation types, from guesthouses, to hostels, and home B&B;'s,

Things to do in Sherkin Island.

  1. Swimming on each of Sherkin Island’s three Atlantic beaches.
  2. Traditional music sessions in Sherkin’s two pubs.
  3. Hiking trails and walking trails across Sherkin’s higher ground.
  4. Coastal walks and the trail to Sherkin’s automated lighthouse at Barrack Point.
  5. Visit the ruins of Sherkin Castle, home of the O’Donnell Clan.
  6. Visit the ruins of Sherkin’s 15th century Franciscan Abbey.

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