Just five minutes by boat from the West Cork shore, Long Island is the perfect tonic after the buzz of cosmopolitan Schull. Pleasant walks, shingle beaches and abundant wildlife combine with beautiful south-western scenery here to create a real offshore treat.
Inis Fada, as it is known in Irish, gets its name from its shape. This is a low-lying island stretching almost 5km in length, but barely a kilometre wide. A surfaced road services about half the length of the island, with a rough, unkempt routes extending to the Beacon lighthouse and an old copper mine in the east and to the cliffs at the west. Both seem to draw the visitor further away from modern life.
Tumbledown houses, stores and sheds dating back centuries add to the apparent isolation, and a maze of closely-knit fields, gradually being reclaimed by opportunistic fauna and flora, complete the picture. Walkers, bird-watchers and boaters will be in their element here – enjoying an afternoon whilst keeping an eye out for otter, seals, dolphin, whales and even the occasional basking shark.
Location: Long Island Bay. The ferry pier at Colla, near Schull is roughly 108km (1hr 50mins) by road from Cork, and 25km (30 mins) from Bantry.
Size: 4.8km x 0.8km. Long Island is easily explored in a day.
Facilities: Self – catering accomodation
Top 3 Activities: Walking, bird-watching, swimming
Getting there: A ferry sails from Colla Pier daily, year-round. Sailings take about five minutes.
Long Island can also be accessed by small boat in calm weather.
Getting around: Walking is the best way to explore Long Island.