Travel & Tourist Guide to The Dingle Peninsula (Corca Dhuibhne) - Ireland


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The Great Blasket Islands

The Great Blasket Islands

An Bláscaod Mór

The island lies approximately 2 km from the mainland at Dunmore Head, and extends 6 km to the southwest. The Great Blasket Island, the most westerly point in Europe, is the largest of a group of islands located 3 miles off the tip of the Dingle Peninsula Gaeltacht, 13 kilometers west of Dingle town. In the past few years a number of the houses on the island have been restored and amenities provided for visitors to the island. There are six main islands, plus some rocky islets and sea stacks. The Great Blasket Island, separated from the mainland by the Blasket Sound, is by far the largest of the islands and rises to 292 m above sea level. Inishtooskert, Inishnabro, Inishvickillane and Tearaght Island are located to the West and South West of the Great Blasket, and, with the main island, rise steeply from the sea. In contrast, the remaining island Beginish is a small, low-lying island, its green plateau used as a source of fodder for livestock.

Blasket Islands Ferry - Boat Trips - Eco Tours

Guide Service on the An Blascaod Mór (Great Blasket Island).

After months of preparation, the OPW Great Blasket Centre (Ionad An Bhlascaoid Mhóir), on the mainland at Dún Chaoin,  initiated a guide service on the Great Blasket island on Thursday, 10 June.

Whilst on the island, the guides will be based in rented premises on An Slinneán Bán. Part of the rented accommodation includes  a house, built by the Congested District Board , at the beginning of the 20th century, where Peig Sayers  raised her family and related her stories.

Weather permitting, there will be two  OPW guides  on duty on the island every  day and there will be  guided tours of the island village, at intervals,  according to demand.

The  guide service will be administered from the Great Blasket Centre and local ferries will be used to  bring the guides,  from the pier  at Dún Chaoin,  to An Blascaod Mór every morning and back to the mainland  on the last ferry  leaving the island.

The State, through the  OPW, purchased   the majority of the  titles on the Great Blasket early in 2009, including most of the ruined village, leaving the State  now  as the majority landowner.     Plans are being drawn up for the conservation and preservation of the island village – simply referred to as “An Baile” by its inhabitants.

Health and Safety measures  are  also being implemented, including the erection of protective fencing around some of the most derelict buildings on the island.

It is hoped that the introduction of the OPW guide service to the island will enhance the visitor experience and will, in due course, attract more cultural tourist to the Next Parish to America.

Those who have visited  the island during the past week, in beautiful summer weather, have availed of the guide service and have been very laudatory about the quality of the information imparted by the guides.

The Great Blasket Islands

Island Guides:

Áine Ní Dhubháin, Head Guide, Great Blasket Centre (left)  and Muireann Ní Chearna, a Blasket Centre Guide, on the  Great Blasket  Island on June 10, 2010, the  day a guide service was initiated on he island by OPW.  Muireann’s grandparents,  Céit Sheáin Team Ó Cearna and Peaidí Sheáisí Ó Cearna were born  on the Great Blasket.

Tigh Pheig:

Sitting at the hearth in Peig Sayers’s island home  on Great Blasket -  Áine Ní Dhubháin, Head Guide, Great Blasket Centre (left) and Muireann Ní Chearna, a Blasket Centre Guide, on June 10, 2010, the  day a guide service was initiated on the island by OPW.  This is where Peig related her stories to all those who cared to listen to them.

The Island in the twentieth century was home to four of the country's most important native Gaelic writers. Their work, both in the native Gaelic and through translations into English and other languages has deservedly achieved worldwide recognition. The Blasket Islands are of great importance for breeding seabirds. The sea cliffs, and deep ocean ensure the Islands are home to a diversity of breeding seabirds amongst the highest in Ireland or Britain. On the islands and sea stacks the following breeding populations are to be found: Guillemot, Cormorant, Kittiwake, Razorbill, Puffin, Shag, Fulmar, Manx Shearwater, Storm Petrel, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Gull and Herring Gull.

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Dingle Peninsula Ireland Holiday & Accommodation Guide
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