Overshadowed by the more famous Skelligs, the Blaskets are another group of mysterious, abandoned islands off the Kerry coast, but with more recent stories to tell. For hundreds of years these were home to an isolated community with a rich tradition of storytelling and folklore—all in traditional Gaelic, of course—that was well documented in the late 1800s. In 1953, however, the islands were considered too dangerous for habitation and the Irish government ordered a mandatory evacuation. The individual islands have wonderfully evocative names like the Sleeping Giant and Cathedral Rocks, but the only island you can actually visit is the largest, Great Blasket, where a few crumbling buildings and skeletal edifices remain—an eerie ghost town in an outstandingly beautiful setting. See it all in a stunning 13km (8-mile) walking route that stretches to the west end of the island, passing sea cliffs and beaches of ivory sand. You can pick up maps and other information from the Blasket Centre on the mainland in Dunquin. Trips aboard the Peig Sayers (www.greatblasketisland.net/boat-trips; 066/057-2626), a rigid inflatable vessel, include a 3-hour stop on Great Blasket and a detour to look for Fungie the Dingle Dolphin; it leaves from Dingle Marina (below the tourism office) at 11am daily from March to October. The cost is €55 per person (no reduction for kids or seniors). Alternatively, Marine Tours (www.marinetours.ie; 086/335-3805) runs full- and half-day tours leaving Ventry at 10am or 1pm daily April to October. Their tour includes 3 hours on Great Blasket; the rest of the time is spent cruising around the other islands without making landfall. Tickets are €35 for a morning tour, €60 for a full day. It also runs a 4-hour Eco Marine Tour for €50, but this one is designed for spotting seals, sharks, and whales and doesn’t make landfall.
Dingle Peninsula› Attraction
The Blasket Islands
The Blasket Centre (Ionad an Bhlascaoid): Dunquin (Dún Chaoin) , Co. Kerry
Our Rating Hours Apr–Oct daily 10am–6pm. Last admission 45 min. before closing Phone 066/915-6444 Prices Admission €5 adults; €4 seniors; €3 children; children 7 and under free; €13 families Web site The Blasket Islands
MapThe Blasket Centre Dingle Peninsula
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.