Ferries operate to the Great Blasket Island from April to October (weather permitting) and leave from Cé Dún Chaoin (Dunquin Pier) or from the Marina in Dingle. You can spend a few hours exploring the Island, the deserted village, An Trá Bán (the white beach) and the network of narrow paths used by the islanders. There are boat tours, eco tours and adventure tours which will bring you on stunning scenic and nature trips around the Blasket Islands to experience the majestic scenery and wonderful marine and birdlife of the area. These operate from Ceann Trá, Ventry and Dingle. See Blasket Island Tours.
Learn all about the Blasket Islands and its people at the Ionad an Bhlascaoid, the Blasket Centre in Dún Chaoin (Dunquin) on the Slea Head Drive. This fascinating heritage and cultural centre / museum tells the story of island life, the community’s struggle for existence, their language and culture, and the extraordinary literary legacy they left behind. Their story is told using a variety of means – exhibitions, interactive displays, artefacts, audio visual presentations and artworks.There is a café and bookshop on site and The Great Blasket Island is visible from the Centre.
In the 1920s and 1930s the Blasket Island writers produced books which are deemed classics in the world of literature. They wrote of Island people living on the very edge of Europe, and brought to life the topography, life and times of their Island. They wrote all of their stories in the Irish language.Three autobiographies by Tomás O’Crohan, Maurice O’Sullivan and Peig Sayers capture the life and culture of the Blasket Islands before the 1953 evacuation and the spoken Irish of a geographically isolated people They gathered much interest both in Ireland and internationally and were translated into English and various other languages and continue to be reprinted.
In 1588 a few Spanish Armada ships took shelter in the Blasket Sound, the area between Dunquin and the Blasket Islands. On the September 21, 1588 ‘The Santa Maria de la Rosa’ sank here with one survivor of 250 on board. The ‘San Juan de Portugal’ commanded by Juan Martínez de Recalde who had experience of this coast from the 1580 siege at Smerwick Harbour also anchored here. Recalde’s ship returned to Corunna in October 1588. Of 500 men 170 died on the journey. A monument to the Spanish Armada was erected in Dunquin in 1988.
The Office of Public Works (OPW) has recently restored the original house of the renowned Great Blasket Island writer Tomás Ó Criomhthain. The house in the abandoned village on The Great Blasket provides an authentic visitor experience and brings to life the harsh living conditions endured by the local community before the Island was finally abandoned by the 22 remaining inhabitants in 1953. The house which was in a roofless, derelict condition has been restored in a traditional manner to a high standard.
The waters surrounding the Blasket Islands are teeming with life. Watch out for basking sharks, dolphins, minke whales and seals. Look up at the dramatic sea cliffs of the islands and you will see a wide variety of bird life - sea birds, gannets, puffins, manx shearwaters and maybe even a herd of deer on Inishvickillane. Tearaght Island is a protected Nature Reserve.
Ferries to the Blasket Islands run from Dún Chaoin pier and Dingle Marina.
Links to local providers