Otherworldly landscapes and a strong sense of tradition combine in the remote islands of Ireland's coast. It is no wonder these places have inspired so much folklore and poetry - the islands are a place of phenomenal natural, as well as culture. The remnants of settlements created by Prehistoric settlers, early Christian monks, Vikings, pirates, pilgrims, farmers and fishermen preserve a sense of the country's dramatic history.
Revel in the lively traditional music and crafts culture in the Irish-speaking islands. Daring adventurers won't be bored - many of the islands offer unique diving or water sport experiences.
Often deserted or very sparsely populated, naturalists have long treasured these islands - the expanse of the Atlantic offers a rare opportunity to see birds, whales and other marine life up close in the wild.
Although remote, an island escape is more more accessible than you may think. Some can be driven onto via bridge or tidal causeway; many others are just a short ferry journey away.
North West (Donegal)
Abandon the mortal world and embrace the magical, creative spirit of the North West Islands. These timeless Irish-speaking (Gaeltacht) islands are a window on to the past, to the Ireland of yore which has all but disappeared. The distinctive rocky Atlantic landscape reigns: sea birds perched on rugged cliffs, dramatic sea caves, spectacular ocean views and an overwhelming natural beauty which inspired so much folklore, lyric and song. The country's most remote inhabited island, Tory Island is found here, interestingly, this island is presided over by its own elected king!
South West (Cork)
Hundreds of tiny gems of islands dot Cork's battered and rocky coast, which has nurtured resilient Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) cultures and rich ecosystems. Reaching the islands is an adventure in itself: keep an eye out for seals on the journey to Garinish Island, enjoy the views from the ferry as you travel to Cape Clear, or take a swinging ride on the cable car across Dursey Sound.
South West (Kerry)
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the islands off the coast of Kerry are a haven of remote wilderness. An ancient and undisturbed place, the islands have preserved tracks of 350 million year old creatures, and a flourishing sense of tradition. Towering cliffs, sandy beaches, windswept hills and rare flora and fauna combine to create some of Ireland's most postcard-perfect landscapes.
West (Galway & Mayo)
The West of Ireland is a place of great natural beauty and serenity. Explore peaceful monastic remains and archaeological sites, as well as the living culture of the Irish-speaking (Gaeltacht) communities. Don't miss the famed Aran Islands, one of Ireland's most-visited locations, and Achill Island, the largest Irish isle. Escape the hustle and bustle by visiting one of the smaller islands, many of which offer unique cultural experiences, interesting historic landmarks, and jaw-dropping views.