Inis Fraoigh - meaning island of heather lies in the sheltered sea bay between Dungloe and Burtonport and is just a short boat trip from the pier at Burtonport The island is about one square mile in area and once held a thriving community of farmers and fishermen.
Like many Irish islands, it has a long history of human settlement. In early Christian times it was controlled by Niall of the Nine Hostages, a local chieftain who became High King of Ireland. In the late medieval period, it was held by his descendants, the clan of Red Hugh ODonnell, who led the last stand against Englands conquest of Ulster. Their lands were redistributed in the Plantation years.
In the early 20th century the island was home to a tightly-knit community of 36 families who lived in a number of clachans or clustered settlements of small cottages, complete with school and post office, at Fartown. Two famous Irish authors, Peadar ODonnell and Séamus Ó Grianna, taught in the school in the 1910s.
Places of interest:
- The two-storey house on the north of the island is claimed to have been built by an ancestor of Ulysses Simpson Grant, the 18th President of the United States;
- An ancient Mass Rock some 50 metres south of the pier is a reminder of the 18th-century penal laws imposed by the British Crown, which forbade the freedom of Roman Catholic religious practice.
Walking, boat tours, sea angling, diving, birdwatching, and dolphin-watching. The flora and fauna on Inis Fraoigh are rare.
Terns and waders, including Arctic tern and ringed plover nest on the west coast of the island at Poll an Choire. Interesting ground nesting species including corncrake are often heard calling in the fields of Fartown. Other species common on Inis Fraoigh are razerbills, cormorants and kittiwakes.
Comharchumann na nOileán Beag, Ancaire, An Chrannóg, Na Doirí Beaga, Leitir Ceanainn, Tír Chonaill
Tel: +353 (0)74 953 2571 or +353 (0)74 953 2594
Ferry service from Ailt an Chorráin (Burtonport) - seasonal, by booking only.
Tel: +353 (0)87 925 3534
Please see website for details