One of the most beautiful islands off Ireland's west coast, Inishbofin is a serene place, with a population of less than 200 people, lovely views and ancient sites.
Ideally located whilst on an Ireland vacation, Inishbofin Island off County Galway is just 6km long by 3km wide. One of the smaller inhabited islands off the west coast of Ireland, the island has a population of just 177 people. Inishbofin is noted for its pretty natural harbour dominated by the Cromwellian Fort, as well as its green pastures, sandy beaches, basking seals and abundant birdlife, including the rare Corncrake.
A haven of tranquillity, Inishbofin was chosen by St Colman for the site of his monastery in 665, where the roofless ruin of a 13th Century church now stand. During the 16th Century, Inishbofin was used along with Clare Island as a base for the notorious Grace O'Malley Pirate Queen of Connaught. A century later the island was to see the arrival of a force of greater notoriety when Cromwell's Army captured Inishbofin in 1652. From then the island was used as a prison camp for Catholic priests and clerics, housed in the star-shaped fort by the harbour. One Bishop held here was said to have been chained to "Bishop's Rock" near the harbour and left to drown as the tide came in.
Inishbofin is a place where traditions are very closely kept; old practices in farming and fishing prevail maintaining an idyllic rural habitat and the island is an important centre for Traditional Irish Music with its own Ceili Band. Also the pubs tend to stay open a little later as there are no police there to enforce closing times. The island is best explored by bike or on foot, the perfect pace for Inishbofin and is reached by ferry from the small fishing village of Cleggan 16km from Clifden .