Just off the seas off Baltimore are the “Carbery’s Hundred Isles” an assortment of islands scattered about in the Roaringwater Bay. To see what they would look like from the air one should walk up along well-maintained paths to the top of the hill near Lough Ine on a good summer’s day, to get a good panoramic view of these islands.
The islands of Carbery’s Hundred Isles all vary in size and offer different attractions and things to do in West Cork for various visitors of different tastes. The two main islands are Sherkin Island and Cape Clear Island. Sherkin is the great all rounder with good scenic walks, beaches and many water activities all situated on an island that has a rich artistic heritage with nice places for one to eat and relax by the harbour.
Cape Clear the largest of the three is a Gaeltacht, Irish speaking area and a haven for bird lovers and tourists alike offering many views of wildlife on land and on sea as well as a displaying a wealth of Irish heritage and storytelling. Heir Island is also one to watch, it has a small population with peaceful scenery, beautiful sandy beaches and lovely coastlines for watersports including a sailing school for would be sailors to attend. It also has a restaurant with a growing reputation and offering courses during the summer and is ideal for those who either wish to relax and get away from it or for those who want to catch up on the sea activities in West Cork.
The other islands such as Skeams, Goat Island, Calf Islands, Carthy islands, Castle Island and Long Island are other uninhabited islands to take note of with options to view wildlife breeding grounds and historical remains from the safety of boats or tour boats.
With active Ferry routes and the only one of the two Ports (Schull only has Ferries to the islands in the summer months) that is open all year round Baltimore is the ideal place to offer the visitors and locals a chance to visit Islands throughout the year. When one thinks of the islands one thinks of scenic but bare and uneventful places but look deeper and all the islands provide a range of different activities and opportunities for different visitors to enjoy. Each one has its’ own unique selling points that one might not avail on the mainland in scenic and peaceful surroundings of breathtaking beauty.
All in all a stay in a West Cork hotel in Southern Ireland or some Baltimore accommodation does not just include the town itself and the coastline but also the very different distinct islands of Sherkin, Cape Clear and Heir.