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Heir Island (Hare Island)

County Cork, Republic of Ireland

from Walking in Ireland

Hare Island photo

ABOVE: Rock formations at the southwestern tip of Heir Island.

Heir Island, sometimes spelled "Hare Island," is known as Inis Uí Drisceoil in Gaelic. The island once had a population of nearly 400, was down to 11 inhabitants as recently as 1999, and is home to some 30 year-round residents today. Heir is located north of Sherkin Island, just off the Irish coast.

Two ferries serve Heir Island:

  • M.V. Thresher, which takes 5 minutes to cover the short distance from Cunnamore to Heir and runs year-round. The boat can also be chartered for trips to or from Baltimore or Schull. Telephone: +353 (0)86-8092447.

  • Danny Murphy's Miss Josephine, which connects Heir with Cunnamore, Sherkin Island, and Baltimore. In summer, evening and nighttime crossings are available on request. Telephone: +353 (0)86-8887799.

For walkers, the island is appealing because of its isolation and natural beauty. From the ferry pier, you can walk past farms to sandy beaches, a marsh with reed beds, and my own favorite part of the island: the rocky western tip, which has spectacular views of Heir's own coastline and several uninhabited islands in Roaringwater Bay. (If you listen carefully, you'll hear the cries of seabirds and seals.)

The map in the island's tourist brochure is all that you need to find your way around, but Map 88 of the Ordnance Survey Ireland's Discovery Series is also worth having. (The 1:50,000 map covers everything in this corner of Ireland.)

Overnight lodgings on Heir Island include the North Pier House B&B (e-mail [email protected]), or you can book self-catering accommodations at +353 (0)28 22753. For dining, book a table well in advance at the Island Cottage, an upscale restaurant that offers 2-day cookery courses with overnight stays. (The M/V Thresher has special evening ferry trips from Cunnamore for restaurant patrons.) If you're on a budget, try Danny's Fast Food or buy an ice cream at Burkes Shop & Post Office.

Next page: More photos with captions

Walking in Ireland - General Information:
Introduction Resources and Web links
Types of walking trips  

Walks in Northern Ireland:
Giant's Causeway Rathlin Island
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge Guide: Chris Murphy

Walks in Southwest Ireland:
Roaringwater Bay Sheep's Head Way
Sherkin Island Glengarriff Nature Reserve
Heir Island Guides: SouthWestWalks Ireland
Cape Clear Island  

Related articles:
Molly Gallivan's Cottage and Traditional Farm
Bunratty Manor Hotel (Shannon Airport)

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