Sherkin Island Travel Guide

Discover the best places to visit, things to do, where to stay and eat, local culture, safety information and transport options in Sherkin Island, Ireland.

Introduction to Sherkin Island

Located in County Cork, Southwest Ireland, Sherkin Island is a hidden gem that offers a unique experience for travelers looking to explore the rugged landscapes of Ireland. This small island boasts of stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and a warm and welcoming community that adds to its charm. Visitors can enjoy a range of activities and tours, sample delicious local cuisine, and learn about the island’s rich history.

List of Places to Visit in Sherkin Island

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Sherkin Island Heritage Centre: This fascinating museum showcases the history and culture of Sherkin Island through a collection of artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia. Visitors can learn about the island’s fishing past, marine life, and the intriguing story of the island’s lighthouse.
  • St. Mary’s Church: This 15th-century church is a major attraction on the island, with its impressive stone walls and beautiful stained-glass windows. It’s one of the oldest buildings on the island and offers historical and cultural insights into Sherkin’s past.
  • Sherkin Abbey: The ruins of this ancient abbey offer a glimpse into the rich religious history of Sherkin Island. It dates back to the 15th century and is a must-visit for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts.

Natural Attractions of Sherkin Island: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Silver Strand Beach: This beautiful, secluded beach offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and is the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun. Visitors can take a refreshing dip in the clear waters or explore the rock pools.
  • Sherkin North Shore Walk: This scenic walk takes visitors along the picturesque north coast of the island and offers breathtaking views of the rugged landscape. Visitors can also spot a variety of marine wildlife, including dolphins, seals, and whales.
  • Horse Riding: Explore the island’s stunning natural beauty on horseback with a guided tour. This is a unique way to experience the landscape and is suitable for all levels of riders.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Sherkin Island

Sherkin Island is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with several hiking and biking routes for visitors to explore. These include:

  • Ballymacrown Viewpoint: A moderate 8 km circuit that takes visitors through some of the island’s stunning countryside and offers breathtaking views of the coastal landscape.
  • Horse Island Circuit: A gentle 4 km walk that skirts the coast of Horse Island, with great sea views and a chance to spot seals, birds, and other wildlife.
  • Sherkin Island Loop Walk: A challenging 14.5 km walk that takes visitors through some of the island’s most scenic locations, including the ancient Sherkin Abbey.

Best Things to Do in Sherkin Island: Activities and Tours

  • Island Kayaking Tour: Take a guided kayak tour around the island and explore its rugged coastline. Visitors can paddle through sea caves and admire the spectacular scenery, including the famous Fastnet Rock Lighthouse.
  • Whale Watching Tour: Sherkin Island is a prime location for whale watching, with several species of whales and dolphins visiting the area. Visitors can take a guided boat tour and explore the rich marine life of the region.
  • Island Round Trip Tour: Get an overview of the island with a guided tour that takes visitors around Sherkin Island, visiting its top attractions and landmarks.

Week-Long Itinerary for Sherkin Island

  • Day 1: Arrive at Sherkin Island and settle into your accommodation. Take a leisurely walk around the village and get to know the local community.
  • Day 2: Start the day with a tour of the Sherkin Island Heritage Centre and learn about the island’s rich history. In the afternoon, take a kayak tour around the island and explore its rugged coastline.
  • Day 3: Explore the island’s natural beauty with a hike along the Sherkin Island Loop Walk. Take in the breathtaking views and stop for a picnic at the Silver Strand Beach.
  • Day 4: Discover the island’s marine life with a whale watching tour. Visitors can spot several species of whales and dolphins in the waters around Sherkin Island.
  • Day 5: Take a guided horseback riding tour and explore the island’s countryside. With breathtaking views of the rugged landscape and the coast, this is a unique way to experience the island’s beauty.
  • Day 6: Visit the historic St. Mary’s Church and marvel at its impressive architecture. In the afternoon, enjoy a round trip island tour and discover the island’s top attractions and landmarks.
  • Day 7: Spend the final day relaxing on the beach and soaking up the island’s natural beauty.

Food and Drink Scene of Sherkin Island

Sherkin Island has a growing food and drink scene, with several restaurants, cafes, and pubs serving up delicious local cuisine and beverages. Visitors can sample fresh seafood, locally sourced produce, and artisanal goods, including:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Fish and Chips: Sherkin Island is known for its fresh seafood, and visitors can sample some of the best fish and chips in the region.
  • Sherkin Island Crab: This delicacy is a must-try for seafood lovers. The island’s crabs are caught fresh and served in a variety of dishes.
  • Irish Stew: This classic Irish dish is a hearty and comforting meal perfect for a cold day on the island.

Local Beverages

  • Sherkin Island Gin + Tonic: This locally produced gin is distilled using island botanicals and offers a unique taste of the island.
  • Irish Whiskey: Ireland is famous for its whiskey, and visitors can sample some of the best local brands at the island’s pubs and restaurants.

Where to Stay in Sherkin Island: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Sherkin Island has several accommodation options, including hotels, hostels, and guesthouses. Visitors can choose from a range of options that suit their budget and preferences, including:

  • Island Cottage: A cozy self-catering cottage that sleeps up to six people. It’s located in the heart of the village and offers easy access to the island’s top attractions.
  • Seafort Luxury Hostel: This modern hostel offers comfortable dormitory-style accommodation and private rooms. It’s a short walk from the beach and is perfect for budget-conscious travelers.
  • Islander’s Rest: This charming guesthouse offers comfortable rooms and stunning views of the sea. It’s located in the heart of the village and is just a short walk from local shops and restaurants.

What to Buy in Sherkin Island: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Visitors can take a piece of Sherkin Island home with them by purchasing locally made souvenirs and products. These include:

  • Sherkin Island Knitwear: Locally made woolen sweaters, hats, and scarves that offer a cozy and stylish reminder of the island.
  • Island Pottery: Handmade pottery that is inspired by the stunning landscape and natural beauty of Sherkin Island.
  • Sherkin Island Gin: Visitors can take home a bottle of this locally produced gin and enjoy a taste of the island back home.

Local Culture and Customs of Sherkin Island

Sherkin Island has a rich cultural heritage that is deeply rooted in the island’s fishing past. The locals are warm and welcoming, and visitors can immerse themselves in the island’s unique way of life. Some local customs and traditions include:

  • Island Regatta: This annual event celebrates the island’s maritime history and includes sailing races, rowing competitions, and a range of fun activities for the whole family.
  • Traditional Music Sessions: Visitors can enjoy traditional music sessions at local pubs and restaurants, showcasing the island’s rich musical heritage.
  • Sherkin Island Festival: This multi-day event is a celebration of art, music, and culture, and includes a range of events and activities for visitors to enjoy.

Best Time to Visit Sherkin Island

The best time to visit Sherkin Island is during the summer months, from June to August. The weather is generally mild and sunny, making it perfect for outdoor activities and exploring the island’s natural beauty. The island can get busy during this time, so visitors should book their accommodation and tours in advance.

Do’s and Don’ts of Sherkin Island


  • Respect the local culture and customs of the island.
  • Take care of the environment and wildlife on the island.
  • Visit the local attractions and learn about the island’s history and culture.
  • Sample the delicious local cuisine and beverages.


  • Litter or engage in other activity that may harm the island’s environment or wildlife.
  • Be disrespectful towards the locals or their way of life.
  • Ignore safety guidelines or recommendations.

Safety and Health

Safety in Sherkin Island

Sherkin Island is generally a safe place for visitors, and the locals are warm and welcoming. However, visitors should take general safety precautions, including:

  • Carry a map and familiarize yourself with the island’s layout and landmarks.
  • Mind your footing when hiking or walking along the coast.
  • Be aware of any boat safety guidelines and follow them.

Health in Sherkin Island

The island has a healthcare center for minor injuries and illnesses. Visitors with major illnesses or injuries will need to be transported to a nearby hospital. It’s important to have a travel insurance policy that covers medical emergencies.

Getting to Sherkin Island: Transportation Options and Logistics

Sherkin Island can be accessed through several transportation options, including:

Airports Near Sherkin Island

  • Cork Airport: The nearest airport to Sherkin Island, located about an hour away by car.

Bus Stations Near Sherkin Island

  • Skibbereen Bus Station: The nearest bus station to Sherkin Island, located about 15 minutes away by ferry.

Other Options

  • Ferry: Visitors can take a ferry from Baltimore to Sherkin Island. The ferry runs regularly throughout the day and takes about 10-15 minutes.

How to Get Around in Sherkin Island

The best way to get around Sherkin Island is on foot, bike, or kayak. Visitors can rent bikes and kayaks at several locations on the island. There are no cars on the island, and visitors will need to rely on these modes of transport.

Where to Go Next from Sherkin Island: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Visitors can explore several nearby destinations and excursions from Sherkin Island, including:

  • Baltimore: A charming village located just a short ferry ride away from Sherkin Island. Baltimore offers a range of activities and attractions, including whale watching tours, historic sites, and local restaurants.
  • Mizen Head: This stunning headland offers breathtaking views of the coastline and is a popular destination for visitors interested in hiking, fishing, and birdwatching.
  • Kinsale: A historic town located about an hour’s drive away from Sherkin Island. Kinsale offers a range of attractions, including historic sites, local restaurants, and unique boutiques.


Sherkin Island is a hidden gem that offers a unique and authentic Irish experience for visitors. With stunning natural beauty, a rich cultural heritage, and a warm and welcoming community, the island is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the rugged landscapes of Ireland. Visitors can enjoy a range of activities and tours, sample delicious local cuisine, and learn about the island’s rich history and culture.