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Stunning countryside, amazing coast and a huge variety of things to do make The Emerald Isle a perfect holiday destination however, what about those islands located just off the mainland’s coast? Well, they make fantastic destinations for a day out or even for a longer stay! Read on to find out why we love Ireland’s islands.

Achill Island

Achill Island, County Mayo

Image via Flickr

Located in County Mayo on the west coast, Achill Island is the largest of all the islands off the coast of Ireland and is an incredible tourist destination of its own. Its Atlantic location and five Blue Flag beaches make it perfect for fans of water sports and those who like to relax on the beach. The waters around Achill Island are home to a large variety of sea life and fish, making it perfect for fans of angling who are hoping for a fresh catch!

Valentia Island

Valentia Island, South West County Kerry Ireland

Image via Flickr

On the south west coast of County Kerry is Valentia Island; a popular tourist destination due to its stunning sea views, proximity to the Ring of Kerry and wealth of history. Those with an interest in the history of Valentia Island should take a trip to the Valentia Island Heritage Centre which houses a number of displays about natural history and life on the island. If you’re a little sea-sick but still want to experience the Skellig Islands, why not head to The Skellig Experience, where you can learn all about each of the four islands whilst staying on dry land? Families or animal fantastic will love Valentia Pet Farm, where you can get up close to the animals and perhaps even feed them. With so much to explore on Valentia Island, it is recommended that you stay for a little longer, however if you only have one day then doing a whistle stop tour of the island by car is the best option for a taste of all this island has to offer!

Arranmore Island

Arranmore Island, County Donegal Ireland

Image via Flickr

The largest inhabited island of County Donegal, and the second largest in all of Ireland is Arranmore Island. The island is easily reached by a ferry operating daily and regularly throughout the year; making it the ideal destination for a day trip or longer stay. With a pitch and putt course, fantastic walks and a number of resident birds who make bird watching quite the fruitful activity, visitors to Arranmore Island will be stuck for things to do! Fans of rugged nature will be delighted with the stunning cliffs that line the west and north coast of the island and those with an interest in history will want to take a look at the Beaver Island Memorial that was constructed to commemorate the history between Arranmore and Beaver Island.

Clare Island

Clare Island, West Coast County Mayo Ireland

Image via Flickr

Located on the west coast of County Mayo is Clare Island, the largest island off the coast of Mayo. Getting to Clare Island is easy, as ferries run regularly from the mainland and you can be on the island in just twenty five minutes. Often ferries will be welcomed to the island by a school of dolphins or herd of seals, who tend to chaperone the ferry whilst delighting passengers on board. Once you arrive on the island, walkers and hikers will be in their element with its varied terrain of hills, cliffs and woodland, whilst those who want to explore the island more leisurely can enjoy the stunning views from the comfort of a minibus. Once you’ve taken in the island’s beauty, don’t worry because there are so many other things to do on Clare Island that you can never get bored. From boat trips, events and festivals taking place throughout the year, there is always something to do!

We hope that we have inspired you to hop on a ferry and visit one of these fantastic islands, although they are just a small example of the many islands surrounding Ireland. If you have ever visited one of these islands we’d love to hear about it! Let us know on twitter or facebook.

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