The Inishkea Islands or Inis Cé in Irish, are located 3km off the coast of Belmullet, Co. Mayo. The Islands are believed to be named after a saint that lived on the island in the 5th century called Saint Kea. There are two main islands, Inishkea North and Inishkea South. The Islands are home to numerous monasteries and ancient structures such as a dye station, whaling station, kelp station and stone slabs dating back to the 5th century.
How long is the ferry to Inishkea?
It takes only 35 minutes to get to from Blacksod Pier to Inishkea. We sail daily from May to September, weather dependent!
What’s included in your trip?
- 35 minute crossing to Inishkea from Blacksod Pier.
- 3 hrs on the island depending on passenger preferences.*
- 45 minute guided tour of the Inishkea Islands available in English & Irish.
- Walking map with sites information provided.
- Special children’s treasure hunt.
Videos of the Inishkea Islands
- Arrive 10 minutes before trip departure to check in with a member of our crew.
What to bring with you
- Waterproof jacket
- Sun cream & Sun hat
- Extra clothing
- Packed lunch
- Walking shoes
- Swimming gear
- Disposable barbeque
Inishkea Island Trip Itinerary:
Your tour begins at Blacksod Pier. Enjoy the experience of Blacksod Bay as we head for Inishkea. Your sailing to the island takes you past the picturesque village of Surgeview and the Islands of Blackrock, Duvillaun Beag & Mór, Geachta and Léim ar Reithe. Laying just beyond this, Inishkea’s navigation towers and cottages come into view as we make our way to the Island.
Once on the island, you will be given the choice to embark on a guided tour of the island, with an island descendent. You will be swept away on a spellbinding walking tour of the island, where you learn about the rich history of Inishkea and get to visit the school, whaling station, nunnery, cilin, 5th century stone slabs and various monastic sites. Learn about the fascinating stories of the Naomhog, Francoise Henry, St. Kea, the Children of Lir, the dye workshop on Inishkea North and so much more! Your tour finishes with a trek up the Alt Mór, where the Inishkea navigation tower, cliffs and St. Derbhile’s holy well are located.
Once your guided tour is complete, you will have lots of time to enjoy a relaxing lunch, go for a swim or furtherly explore the island! For our little passengers, we offer a exciting treasure hunt filled with puzzles and riddles to be solved! On your return trip, you can avail a refreshing hot drink onboard!
Top 10 things to do on Inishkea
1.) Take a guided tour of Inishkea with an island descendant – to bring the island to life. Visit the school, whaling station, dye station, kings house, beehive huts, cilin, 5th century stone slabs, various monastic sites and learn about the fascinating focloir stories of the Naomhog, St. Colmcille, Francoise Henry, St. Kea, the Children of Lir, the dye workshop in Inishkea North and so much more!
2.) Island Treasure Hunt – Team up with family or friends and compete against others to solve the challenges and riddles you’re given. Track down all the clues hidden across the island to find your treasure! This all – new experience is a great way to keep kids busy and entertained during their trip to Inishkea.
3.) Take a dip in Inishkea’s crystal clear & sheltered waters, perfect for dozens of watersports, including swimming, kayaking, snorkelling, stand-up-paddling (SUP), coasteering, fishing and pier jumping – to name just a few!
4.) Take a trek up the Alt Mór, where one of the two navigation towers on Inishkea South are located. Built in the late 1800s these structures provide an important navigation purpose for boats travelling in the channel known as Leim Mor. Enjoy the stunning views of the Inishkea islands and the islands surrounding it at the top of the Alt Mór.
5.) Explore the villages of Inishkea South and Inishkea North – travel back in time as you glance at all the beautiful stone cottages built in the late 1800s. Look out for the king’s house, the old two – storey shop, shebeen and school.
6.) Take a walk up to the Bailey Mór, one of the three man – made mounds on Inishkea North. It is home to one of the island’s two, early christian monasteries. Spot the many beehive huts locatedin the area and take a look at the highly decorated stone slabs from the 5th century, including the famous stone slab showing the ‘crucifixion scene’.
7.) Located just beside the Bailey Mór is the Bailey Dóite – meaning burnt mound. The mound is home to the royal purple dye station that was run by monks on Inishkea North. The dye station was in operation from the 4th century up until the end of the 6th century.
8.) The Sea Cliffs at the west of Inishkea South are some of the most spectacular in Ireland, hosting extraordinary views and a wide variety of rare flora and fauna. These sea cliffs are a must visit when exploring the island and are also the site of where poitin was once distilled on the island.
9.) Visit St. Colmcille’s Church on Inishkea North. St. Colmcille is one of Ireland’s three patron saints. The other two are St. Brigid and of course, St. Patrick. Colmcille came to Inishkea North and founded the church there in the 8th century. The church was also the original location of where the Naomhóg or Godstone in english was kept. You can also see the altar, aumbry and various holy stones inside the church building.
10.) Explore Rusheen Island – home to the whaling station on Inishkea. The island is located just off Inishkea South and can be accessed at low tide. You can still see the old cylindrical oil boilers, where the workers of the whaling station once would have boiled the blubber of whales to make oil.