Irish island was abandoned in 1978 to reopen to visitors during the summer season

An Irish island abandoned in 1978 will reopen to visitors in the summer. Scattery Island is home to the remains of an ancient monastic heritage, including one of Ireland’s tallest round towers, a cathedral and medieval churches.

The island features a lighthouse, an artillery battery and a beautifully restored village. The island street, once home to the Scattery pilots and the island’s post office before it was abandoned, has also recently been restored.

Visitors to Scattery Island can explore everything within walking distance. St. Senan’s courageous battle against the serpent Cathagh and his founding of a monastic settlement dating back to the early fifth century is a highlight, as is learning about the island’s history, which dates back from early monastic times to the last inhabitants of the island.

“I am pleased that the views from Scattery Island will soon be appreciated again by visitors to the street, as will the historic views back to Cappa and Kilrush,” Minister Kieran O’Donnell said: “I encourage people to visit this beautiful heritage site visit and take a tour of the island to enjoy the remains of an ancient monastic settlement.”

Scattery Island will reopen to visitors on Friday, May 24(Image: © Government of Ireland National Monuments Service Photographic Unit)

When can visitors visit one of its best-kept secrets? The small island is open from Friday, May 24, but access is subject to sea and weather conditions. Travel time by ferry is approximately 30 minutes each way.

Departure times vary depending on the weather. People are allowed to stay on the island for two and a half hours, but every two weeks there is the opportunity to spend four hours on the island.

Free tours start at Kilrush Marina, where you board the ferry, and last until September. When you reach the island, prepare for an enlightening tour that reveals the island’s rich history. Suitable footwear is important.

Is exploring thirty work? The Potter’s Hand Café is ideal for snacks, light meals and delicious coffee, while Bowman’s Lane is great for a hearty meal and drinks. Pubs in Kilrush include Crotty’s Pub, The Haven Arms and O’Brien’s Bar.

Eve Brennan, chair of the Scattery Island Heritage Group said: “We believe the restoration of the island village serves to honor the memory of the families of Scattery Island and share their heritage with the wider community.”

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