Tory Island is a rugged, isolated, scenic island off the northwest corner of Ireland. For an experience to remember, take a ferry ride and travel back in time.
Kevin Connolly wrote a BBC article a few years back to describe his trip to this isolated and picturesque island. He claimed that if you can withstand the rough nine-mile ferry trip, you will be rewarded by the remarkable views and seascapes that have been captured by local and non-resident artists for years. More importantly, you will have the wonderful experience of meeting the Tory residents.
The windswept three-by-one mile island is inhabited by only a hearty few and has been protected and supported by the Irish government and by local fairies (so the legend goes) for centuries.
Tory Island was first inhabited by Neolithic farmers four thousand years ago. St.Columbcile, the missionary, founded a monastery in the 6th century. You can still see the bell tower at the monastery and the Tau (T-shaped) Cross, which is believed to date from the 12th century.
This small island has a lot to offer to those who take the time to make the journey. You can visit the gallery of the Tory Island School of Painters, watch the birds, scuba dive in the sheltered coves and bays of the shoreline, view the lighthouse, and even meet the King of Tory, the locally-elected head of the island.
You can view the torpedo that washed ashore during World War Two which was diffused and erected on the island. You can visit Baylor's Fort, on the peninsula with 90-foot cliffs on the eastern side of the island.
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You will be able to visit with the local people, who speak Irish as well as English, while you relax at the restaurant and pub at the Tory Hotel. The island residents refer to the mainland as "the country" and have many stories to tell about the Island's history.
You will want to experience the nightly traditional music sessions that feature the song and dance of many talented local musicians.
As the Island's website states, "It is neither the myths, the monastic ruins, nor the majestic cliffs which make the deepest impression on visitors to Tory. It is the islanders themselves….they know how to enjoy themselves and they always make a stranger feel at home." If you want an experience that few others in the world will have, make the trip to Tory Island!
The ferries to the island run from June to September and launch from piers including Magheroarty Pier and Bunbeg Pier off of the N56.
For more information about the hotel, go to the Tory Hotel website. (The link opens in a new window.)
For more information, including ferry times and lodging choices, go to the official Tory Island website. (The link opens in a new window.)