Heir Island (Hare Island)
County Cork, Republic of Ireland
from Walking in Ireland
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:
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.
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