About Inishturk Island, County Mayo
Inishturkbeg Aerial view by Pvincent2097
Inishturk Island is privately owned and even has its own Facebook page. It changed hands in 2013 and now caters to a less exclusive crowd. Visitors no longer have to shell out thousands of pounds to rent the island. That said, there’s still plenty of peace and quiet to be enjoyed here. Â Â Â
Angling, walking and basking on sand beaches are all on the itinerary. Beyond that, the following historical attractions are also found at Inishturk:
Port An Dun
This 9th-century fort overlooks the only offshore lagoon in Ireland. Gold was once found here, and Vikings used the fort to stage raids of Inishturk island. Legend has it that fort’s last chief brewed delicious beer from the heather that grows here. The Danes coveted his recipe, but he wouldn’t give it up. He even indicated that he would sooner part with his own son than divulge the recipe. The Danes obliged, and when they took the life of the chief’s son, he threw himself into the cove in anguish.Â
The Old Church
The hilltop church was active during the 16th century, when the island was used for penal colonies. It expanded during the Irish famine, but its roof was taken in 1877 to repair a mainland church.
A map from the 19th century shows a stone circle in this graveyard. With that in mind, it was most likely a pagan site before it came under the authority of the church. Check out the oratory, which is shaped like a coffin and has a ritual holed stone used for marriage and healings.
The Signal Tower
This signal tower has the look of a well-preserved ancient ruin, though it was actually built in the 19th century. This was one of 82 towers built on the Malin Head, and it used sunlight reflected off a polished steel plate to send Morse code messages to warn passing ships. If this site is too young, pay a visit to the nearby lake to admire the 3,500-year-old house sites.
Photos of Inishturk Island:
Beyond are the islands of Turbot/Tairbeart and Inishturk. Photo credit: James Yardley