Inishbofin reminds me of summers growing up in Canada, except that it’s unlike anywhere I’ve ever visited! It feels both familiar and unique at the same time!
Inishbofin is the most western island in all of Ireland. It’s also only one of only four inhabited islands in Connemara. It’s a very close-knit environmentally friendly community of 180 people. The islanders combined efforts have resulted in Inishbofin being the first island in Ireland to receive an Ecotourism award recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council!
You get that rare feeling when meeting locals and visitors alike on Inishbofin that you’re reuniting with long lost friends – even though it’s your first time meeting. And that only deepens over your stay. Inishbofin attracts 40,000 tourists a year. Your visit plays an important role in preserving traditional island life and providing jobs to locals. Many nearby island that were once inhabited, like Inishark, have been abandoned, as islanders move to the mainland in search of jobs.
One of the reasons that Inishbofin was awarded the ecotourism award are the birdwatching breaks and wildlife photography courses offered through the Dolphin Hotel where I stayed. It’s a family run hotel – Pat and Jackie are incredible hosts, and the first hotel on an Irish island to receive a Silver Award for Ecotourism. Inishbofin is a great place for birdwatching, especially in the spring and fall where migratory birds can also be seen. Of particular interest to birders is the Corncrake. It’s an endangered bird that breeds on Inishbofin and is rarely seen in other parts of Ireland. But to be fair, you will likely hear it’s distinctive call, before you see it!