Where is Inishbofin?
Inishbofin is an island off Ireland’s rugged and remote Connemara coast. Just a thirty minute boat ride from the tiny harbour of Cleggan, it has a population of 180 and is 16.5km2. This small island idyll has not only inherited some of mainland Connemara’s finest geographical features, white sandy beaches, sea cliffs and stacks, sheltered coves, rolling hills and beautifully wild bogland, but also its culture, from traditional music, sheep farming, fishing to seaweed foraging.
Ecotourism on Inishbofin ?
Inishbofin is Ireland’s only island population to date where islanders have come together to create a community led ecotourism initiative, and the result has been outstanding. Already a car-free island to visitors (only residents have vehicles on the island), you can travel by public Transport to the quay from Dublin Airport and Galway City .The Inishbofin Community Development Company has been working with Ecotourism Ireland for the last year, to achieve eco certification for its green and sustainable tourism products and experiences. Ecotourism Ireland is the only globally recognised standard for ecotourism on the island of Ireland, accredited by the internationally renowned Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
What is there to do on Inishbofin?
Visitors can enjoy a wide array of eco activities on Inishbofin, such as a birdwatching weekend, guided archaeological and history walks, stand up paddle boarding, or catching their own fish and having the local pub fillet and fry it for you. They can stay in eco-friendly family run hotels or self catering houses overlooking the Atlantic. Relatively unknown compared with Ireland’s Aran Islands, where tourists travel en masse, the best testimonial of the island’s tranquillity can be found in the birdsong, which is omnipresent. Either on the dramatic sea cliffs where plovers thrive, or in the hedgerows and meadows graced with the presence of the rare corncrake and skylarks.
Who would love Inishbofin?
It is through ‘the islanders wiilingness to connect with visitors and their desire to share pride in Inishbofins diverse beauty that ecotourism runs through the heart of everything on Inishbofin. Be it sourcing food locally, being a Fairtrade Island or the only Irish island to be a Leave No Trace member. And in terms of tourists, this is not an island that is all about packing in the day-trippers. It’s about quality not quantity on Inishbofin. Visitors for whom a dawn chorus bird watching trip, or a down to the rocks to catch some fish for supper trip appeals. Visitors who want to take time to hike all three of the looped walks so that they can take in every cliff, sea stack, cove and hilltop. Not just rush to the nearest viewpoint and back to catch the last ferry back. Inishbofinis a place to hike, bike, picnic, swim, fish, soak in the history,visit a farm,or take a slow horse trail ,eat local seafood or lamb, drink and while the night away listening to traditional music and stargazing. Then do it all again the next day. And with so many ecotourism activities and accommodations on offer, the days and nights are easy to fill on Inishbofin.
For more information http://www.inishbofin.com/category/eco/
Irelands first certified Silver Level – Birdwatching experiences www.dolphinhotel.ie/ecotourism/eco-experiences
The Beach Bar Certified Silver Level -Activity Experiences & nature www.thebeach.ie/eco-tourism-experiences