Tory Island, County Donegal

Tory Island is Ireland’s most northerly, inhabited island and a bit of a trek to be honest, but so worth it, for anyone who cares to make the hour long journey North of Letterkenny to Magheroarty (a visual feast of mountainous landscapes in itself) where the ferry departs daily. But hey, don’t pay one bit of heed to the website, flyers etc re sailing times as they are apt to change with the weather and tides. Besides, you are on Donegal time up there, so the best thing to do is phone up the captain (number below) when you are thinking of traveling and make arrangements on the day. 

Tory Island, County Donegal

As luck and the Gods would have it, I landed up there on a beautiful sunny day with a flat, calm sea stretched out before me. I wouldn’t advise going to any of Irelands’ islands in bad weather unless you are a devil for punishment. A very pleasant 15km boat ride out past the other Inishboffin island and we were out to Tory Island 45mins later with the mountains of Errigal and Muckish towering behind us and the treacherous Bloody Foreland headland, looming sheepishly to the West on a perfect summers day.....

Harbour on Tory with crystal clear water.

Every passenger or new visitor to the island is greeted by the King of Tory, Patsy Dan Rodgers. While Tory Island is a Gaeltacht (Irish speaking area) Patsy and the rest of the 100 odd islanders are bilingual and great talkers, musicians and painters. The late, great artist Derek Hill recognized their talent early on and gently encouraged and promoted their work which now hangs in some of the most prestigious galleries world wide including his own nearby at Glebe House, which he kindly bequeathed to the Irish nation. You can see where they got the artistic inspiration if you take any of the walking trails about the island, look back at the mainland and you will see the mountains of Donegal, the steep cliffs, sea stacks and crystal clear waters brimming with fish while seabirds of every kind circle above you. 

Patsy Dan Rodgers, King of Tory

It’s an idyllic place to visit (on a good day) and if you decide to stay over the Tory Island Hotel  has recently reopened after refurbishment and there is plenty of ceoil and craic (music and merriment) nightly with no official closing time. Ireland’s islands are for those who love nature and the Irish language and getting far (very far) away from it all hustle, bustle and stress of modern day living.... 

Ferry operator Turasmara phone number 00353 872598013 (Patrick) 

For more information on Ireland's Islands please click here.


Tour Scotland in 2024 with Susan Byron