Scattery Island, West Clare’s Hidden Gem

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Less than an hour from Limerick and located where the waters of the mighty Shannon meet the Wild Atlantic Way, lies Scattery Island – one of the least-known but most impressive visitor attractions anywhere in Ireland. Last year, Scattery Island was selected as Ireland’s European Destination of Excellence for 2017 (EDEN award) and the award ceremony took place in Brussels in March 2018. This was a significant win for the little-known island, and it now joins the ranks of other top tourism EDEN winners such as the Burren/Cliffs of Moher and Loop Head. Last year saw visitor numbers to the island grow by 300% as word spreads about the beauty of this little island located off the west coast of Co. Clare. Although many tourist sites market themselves as being a ‘hidden gem’
a trip to Scattery is a unique visitor experience and one not to be missed
on your Wild Atlantic Way journey. Scattery Island, also known as ‘Inis Cathaigh’ has a fascinating history and was once the home of legendary monsters, medieval saints, Irish chieftains, Vikings, adventurers’ raiders and traders. Today, the island is uninhabited and visitors can explore its ancient historic sites and experience its unspoilt natural beauty in peace and tranquillity without battling their way through gift shops and large busloads of tourists. Unlike some other heritage sites which have suffered from overdevelopment and commercialisation, visitors to Scattery are offered free entry to the island’s new heritage centre and free walking tours by friendly and professional tour guides from OPW Heritage Services. The free guided tours are very popular with younger visitors who can hear the legend of “An Cáthach” the monster who once ruled the island and learn about Brian Boru – the High King of Ireland who defeated the Limerick Vikings in a great battle on Scattery. Older visitors can discover the daily life and struggles of the local community who lived in this beautiful but isolated location until the 1970’s. Visitors can explore the cathedral and churches of the ancient celtic monastery founded by Saint Senan in the sixth Century and marvel at the island’s round tower, one of the tallest and best surviving examples in Ireland, which has withstood Atlantic storms for over a 1,000 years. More adventurous day-trippers can also explore the abandoned ruins of the artillery fort on the south of the island which was built by the British army over 200 years ago to prevent Napoleon’s armies sailing up the Shannon towards Limerick. As well as these historic sites the island also has a lighthouse, the deserted village where the islanders once lived and beautiful semi-natural grassland which is home to an array of wild bird, animal and plant life which is of great interest to ecologists and bird watchers who visit. A seasonal ferry service operates between May and September offering regular, fast and comfortable ferry sailings to Scattery from Kilrush. This daily service departs Kilrush Marina and the full schedule of sailing times and further information on the service can be found on their website www.scatteryislandtours. com. The site also includes information on local accommodation and other tourism attractions in the area. Scattery Island offers tourists amazing panoramic views of the Shannon Estuary and in good weather is the ideal spot for a picnic. Packed lunch options are available as part of your booking to the island and full details can be found on the website. There are a range of short and long
stay options available ensuring you
can plan the perfect day out or you can also avail of the bespoke River Cruise and Island Visit day trips, custom designed to suit your requirements. To book your trip to Scattery Island
and enjoy the experiences of one of
the Shannon region’s real hidden treasures, phone Scattery Island
Tours on (085) 2505512 or email
[email protected] Scattery Island – Yours to Explore