Escape the island – with a staycation on a smaller one

Escape The Island – With A Staycation On A Smaller One Escape The Island – With A Staycation On A Smaller One
Uninhabited islands dotted along Ireland’s coast provide the perfect solution for a socially-distanced staycation. Photo: Courtesy of Inishcoo.
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Sarah Mooney

Desperate to escape the island of Ireland after the past year?

With international travel unlikely this summer, there may be a way to holiday away from the mainland in line with Covid-19 restrictions.

Uninhabited islands dotted along the length of Ireland’s coast provide the perfect solution for a socially-distanced staycation, and provide the illusion that you're somehow getting away. Quarantining never looked so idyllic.

Inishcoo House and Island, Co Donegal


Described as an “idyllic getaway on a wild Irish island”, Inishcoo House is a restored eighteenth-century coastguard house standing on an uninhabited 109-acre island off the Donegal coast.

The “unspoilt” car-free island boasts four natural sand beaches, an inland lake and a shipwreck. Accessible only by private boat, it is a five-minute trip from the mainland’s fishing village of Burtonport.

With unlimited potential for walking, boating and swimming activities, Inishcoo's boatman is also available for trips to scout seals, cliffs or the caves of neighbouring islands during your stay.


The house can sleep up to 24 guests across eight bedrooms, and has six acres of enclosed private gardens home to wild flowers, along with an old stone boathouse now equipped with table-tennis.

The base rate for up to eight guests, with additional guests costing €7 per person after that, is €700 per night during the high season of July and August — visit AirBnB or its website.

Collanmore Island Lodge, Co Mayo


This private island retreat is set among an archipelago of islands in the heart of Mayo's Clew Bay and is just a couple of minutes by high-speed boat from the mainland and the town of Westport.

The 600-acre island is the largest in the bay and is home to beaches, rolling green hills, fascinating wildlife and 360-degree views of Clew Bay from its highest point.

Guests of the lodge, which sleeps up to 22 people, gain exclusive use of the island during their stay and will be met with their own private bar, hot tub, steam room and private beach metres from the lodge.

Activities on offer include paddle-boarding, kayaking and a guided “sea safari” that promises potential sightings of dolphins, whales, orcas and sharks.

There's even assurances that Chinese takeaway can be delivered to the island.

Visit AirBnB or its website for rates.

Farmhouse on Valentia Island, Co Kerry


Not quite ready for total isolation? Home to a population of around 600 people, Valentia Island is one of Ireland's most westerly points and is linked to the mainland by a bridge at the village of Portmagee.

The island is located on the Skellig ring, an extension of the famous Ring of Kerry, and is just a short boat trip away from the monastic Skellig Island, a filming site for Star Wars.

A stay in the “Boss’s Farmhouse” within the heart of the small island gives you full run of the traditional restored house and its garden, just a four-minute drive from the island’s main village.

With Valentia described as a “walker’s paradise,” one road from the house leads to the island’s shore just a kilometre away, while another leads to a breath-taking cliff area on the island's north-facing side.

The rustic farmhouse can sleep six guests across three bedrooms, housing a potbelly stove in the kitchen and a living room with an open fireplace for cosy evenings — and turf supplied free of charge.

Visit AirBnB for rates.

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