A place of seclusion and spectacular beauty, this small emerald-green gem lies 11km (6 3/4 miles) off the northwest coast of Connemara. Try to come here on a day when the skies are clear enough to deliver the unforgettable views of and from its shores. Once the domain of monks, then the lair of pirate queen Grace O’Malley, later Cromwell’s infamous priest prison—you can still see his original, star-shaped barracks—Inishbofin is currently home to just 180 year-round human residents, a seal colony, and a seabird sanctuary. Numerous ferries to the island operate from the port of Cleggan (13km/8 miles northwest of Clifden off N59) daily April through October. Inishbofin Island Discovery (www.inishbofinislanddiscovery.com; 095/45819 or 086/171-8829) sails twice a day, or three times a day from late March to mid-October. Round-trip fares are €20 adults, €13 students, €10 children 5 to 18, and €5 children under 5. Note: Reservations are essential, and evening sail times are liable to be brought forward in bad weather—so make sure you keep an eye on the hour.