Re­mote sleeps on Ire­land’s Blas­ket Is­lands

If you wish to flee the madding crowds this spring, the Blas­ket Is­lands in Ire­land are just the ticket

Lonely Planet (UK) - - Contents - din­gle­boat­; great­blas­ketis­

A HALF-DOZEN RUGGED out­posts off the tip of the Din­gle Penin­sula, the Blas­ket Is­lands have had no full-time in­hab­i­tants since 1953 – ex­cept for a few sheep and some shaggy-coated don­keys. Bask­ing sharks join the off­shore pop­u­la­tion from April on­wards and boat tours around the is­lands of­fer the best chance to spot them, along with seals, puffins, gan­nets and per­haps the fa­mous Fungie, a bot­tlenose dol­phin who has been a res­i­dent mas­cot of the area since 1984. Most vis­i­tors who step onto the is­lands linger just a few hours, but we rec­om­mend for­go­ing the world and stay­ing a while longer. Among the vil­lage ru­ins on Great Blas­ket, a hand­ful of cot­tages of­fer lodg­ing for any­one will­ing to do with­out elec­tric­ity (from £62). A beau­ti­ful sand beach lies just be­yond. It’s rel­a­tively shel­tered from At­lantic waves – though dips in this part of the world are best left to the truly chill-re­sis­tant. Steep paths reach the heights of Great Blas­ket, bring­ing stir­ring views of the Ir­ish coast and neigh­bour­ing islets, such as jagged Inishnabro (pic­tured be­low). Af­ter tak­ing in the sun­set from Ire­land’s most west­erly specks of land, guests on Great Blas­ket can sit down to a camp­fire din­ner then count the stars, away from the trap­pings of set­tled life.

WILDLIFE SPOT­TING Bask­ing sharks are fil­ter feed­ers, like many whales, and are the sec­ond-largest fish af­ter whale sharks

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