Inishbiggle (Inis Bigil in Irish) is a small island (just under 3km2) that lies between Achill Island and the mainland off the west coast of Ireland. We had the opportunity to visit the island a couple of weeks ago. The journey, just takes a few minutes in a small boat from the mainland.
The island has only very small roads and with hardly any cars, is the perfect place to walk and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
One of the oldest building on the island is the church, a small pretty building on the eastern side of the island.
The island was only first inhabited in 1834. At it’s peak the island had a population of 171 and throughout the early 20th Century the population remained about one hundred. By 2006 the population had dropped to just 24. Today, there are just ten households occupied throughout the year and only 14 people living on the island permanently. The majority of inhabitants are over 50 years of age. The ferry man told us there was no longer any children living on the island.
In the past, farming and fishing would have been the main occupations but today only a couple of landowners continue to farm (sheep and cattle). Tuft is still being cut in some places.
The island has a magical quality to it. It is so peaceful, the views are stunning and the light is special.
But at the same time there is a sadness, a feeling that humans time here is coming to an end. The men who took us across on their boat were very conscious of the changing climate. They could already see the impact on their community, with rising sea levels and increasing strengths of storms. They showed us at how extra stones cages have had to be installed at the pier to protect it and how the floating platform needed and extra 30cm added to the top to deal with higher tides and storm surges. We often think of sea rise as only affecting tropical islands but for these islanders it was very real too.a
The island’s isolation is both it’s magical charm and it’s potential ruin.
An old house on Achill Island, Co Mayo. The plant in front is Gunnera, or Giant Rhubarb, an invasive species which is spreading through the island.
I enjoy traveling within my own country but am often reluctant to travel further – but sometimes you don’t have to go far to see stunning scenery. Two days ago we headed for the west coast to Doolough near Gweesalia, here in County Mayo on the west coast of Ireland.
“If there’s a heaven for me, I’m sure it has a beach attached to it” – Jimmy Buffett.
I had to “borrow” this wonderful quote from PA Moed, as it is very true for me.
To the right you can see the Mullet Peninsula, to the left Achill Island.
The beach is a great one for shell collecting.
And at over 2km long you can also get a very decent walk. I know there are many beautiful places out there to see and many of you have shown me some of them in your own blogs. But for my travels, I am, so far, content with this.
If we want time to relax, we enjoy heading to the coast. Dugort beach or Pollawaddy strand is situated on the north coast of Achill Island near the village of Doogort. Achill Island is an island on the west coast of Ireland, joined to the mainland by a bridge. Slievemore hill rises above the strand, though it was covered in fog the day we were there.
The sun battled hard but the fog won out in the end.
Still a lovely place to visit and one to which we hope to return.