AUGUST 2023 ISSUE
AS SEA CHANGES come, the opportunity to live on a remote island is right up there.
Following the success of the Oscar-nominated movie, The Banshees of Inisherin, the Irish government is offering you the chance to do just that.
They are offering grants of up to €84,000 (approx. $AU138,500) to people willing to refurbish vacant or derelict homes on more than 20 islands off the west coast of Ireland.
After refurbishment the homeowners must live in them as the aim is to revitalise the communities on the islands ensuring that they thrive for many years to come.
The islands that lie off Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way are an important part of the country’s heritage and many of them are Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) areas.
The government wants to protect the unique culture, heritage and environmental richness the islands have to offer.
The new initiative is part of an ambitious 10-year policy that will also see investment in the development of infrastructure on the islands and a wide range of support for the island communities.
Islands included in the scheme are in various counties, such as Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Galway and Cork. Among the options that would-be islanders can consider is Inis Mór, which provided the backdrop for The Banshees of Inisherin.
Inis Mór is also home to significant archaeological monuments such as Dún Aonghusa and the Seven Churches.
Inis Mór is the largest of the three Aran islands but the other two, Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr, are also included in the list. Inis Meáin is home to a knitting company that is bringing modern technology to bear on traditional Aran sweaters.
Other island options include Arranmore, popular for its birdwatching and angling and the only place on earth where rainbow trout breed naturally. Tiny Tory Island, best known for its music and art, is also on the list as is tranquil Inishturk.
Off the coast of County Cork you can choose from seven islands, each with their own unique offering.
They include Bere Island, known for its Napoleonic Martello Towers, Heir Island where gourmet cookery courses are run, and Sherkin Island, said to be a melting pot of culture, life and art.