The terrible beauty of the Blasket Islands is a must-see. But it also requires a bit of preparation.
When I visited with my parents and my brother, it was by chance that it all worked out. But it could have easily gone wrong. Here are my tips for a smooth sailing to the Great Blasket (literally).
1. Read up. Part of the mystique of the islands is the life that was lived there – and the tragic way it ended. So before you go, do some Googling.
And make sure to look up the weather forecast and ferry times before going. You have to be flexible, because ferry times are subject to change (or be cancelled) due to weather.
The boatman told us that the previous August, they’d only been able to make the crossing 9 of the 31 days due to dangerous weather. So be prepared to reschedule if need be!
2. Go to the bathroom. “No, no bathroom. Just nature,” the woman at the ticket desk explained when we asked about the amenities on the island. So don’t come hungry, and go to the bathroom on the boat if you aren’t prepared to wait many hours.
3. Get ready to ride.
There is no dock on the island (nor the town where we caught the ferry) so there’s lots of boat hopping involved. The boat can only come so close to land due to the choppiness of the water. So you get in that little dinghy, and ride that to the boat!
Then the boat takes you on another bumpy ride …
And on the other side, you gotta get back in the dingy. Only a handful of people fit in the dinghy, so it takes several trips to get everyone there.
And the water is choppy! Watch your shoes when you try to climb out of the dinghy onto the island. Mine (in addition to a good part of my jeans) were soaked!
4. Prepare to exercise. It’s a long walk down to the boat …
But that’s just the beginning. It’s a little island to be sure, but they squeeze an awful lot of hills on that little island!
5. Embrace the animals. There are no people residing on the island full-time anymore. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of locals.
These guys were kind of rude.
But these guys made up for it.
They were very friendly.
And beyond cute.
6. Explore some ruins. Many of the houses that the last residents of the island lived in are still standing in an eerie ghost town.
7. Watch your step. It’s not wonder that the treacherous land comes up in the islanders’ books. After all, there are some steep falls.
And slippy (as the Irish say) rocks.
Make sure not to follow those sure-footed sheep!
They know what they’re doing.
Last, but not least …
8. Don’t miss the return boat. There are very few ferries each day. Don’t miss the return dinghy!