Seals at Great Blasket Island

When looking at pictures of Ireland in any guidebook or on the internet, all I see is great green pieces of land that offer the “wild-camper” so many options that he gets stressed and camps on a campsite instead. My biggest disappointment therefore was that on most of these great green pieces of land you are not allowed to camp. The Great Blasket Island however, is the best piece of green land Ireland has, and there’s nobody there to tell you you cannot pitch your tent where you want.

The Great Blasket Island is a small island just off the coast of the Dingle Peninsula of Ireland. The Dingle Peninsula itself is worth traveling through, but this island is special. It is even more special since you have to be lucky to get there. The boat connection from Dunquin only goes when the weather is excellent, which, being Ireland, is not often the case. We were lucky, while being rained on and blown away while trekking from Ballydavid to Dunquin, the next day offered blue skies and no wind.

The boat will bring you to some abandoned village on the island (at some point in time people actually lived here). From there is a walking path to the beach under the cliffs. It’s the only beach on the island that I’ve seen, and strangely enough, it collects tourists. I’m not completely sure why tourists get off the boat, walk to the beach, look around, take a picture of the mainland, walk back only to wait for the boat. Anyway, on top of the cliff above the beach IS a good place to pitch your tent. As I said, the island is not big so you’ll easily walk the length of it in a couple of hours. Bring a raincoat, because even if the sky is blue at the beach, you’ll probably get rained on further up the island.

The reason why you should camp and not do this as a day trip is because of the morning. A huge number of seals are down at the beach, together with a donkey and some small horses (I’m pretty sure about the seals, the other animals…). Anyway, this is a great moment to go to the beach, don’t come too close, they are easily chased away. Some tourists that will come later in the morning will demonstrate that within a few minutes.

The Great Blasket Island is definitely drop-dead-gorgeous and when you get the chance to hop on the boat, you should.