Inishbofin is only a 40 minutes sea voyage from the fishing village of Cleggan off the NW Connemara Coast and is the largest of a small archipelago of islands, famed for its magnificent scenery, relaxed lifestyle and traditional music. With a population of 180, this beautiful island, five miles long by two miles wide, has a superb natural harbour guarded by a 17th century Cromwellian fortress.
To the west, lie the now abandoned islands of Inishark and Inis Gort. All three islands have been settled since at least the Bronze Age and contain some of the best surviving Bronze Age landscapes on the western sea-board.
Inishbofin was first mentioned by the Venerable Bede in the early 8th century, as a refuge for Northumbrian Monks. It was raided by the Vikings in 795AD and long retained strong associations with Anglo-Saxon England.
Located on the border between the two powerful Gaelic maritime lordships of the O’Malleys and the O’Flaherties, Inishbofin has a turbulent history. It was the last Gaelic stronghold to fall to Cromwell and subsequently had strong links with 17th century France and 18th century America.
In the 18th century the island was a byword for local smugglers and wreckers. Its fragmented coastline boasts dramatic sea cliffs and sea caves and is home to a rich variety of marine life.
The walking is easy to moderate along small roads, open bogs and mountains.