Posted in Visit on September 19, 2014.
Inishturk is a quaint beautiful island located 9 miles (14.5km) off the coast of Mayo. Admire its wall-like cliffs facing the Atlantic Ocean and the ruins of the old signal tower 722 ft above sea level. Inishturk is a great place to go for a quiet break. The island has a population of less than one hundred people. There are many places of interest to visit on the island. Inishturk has a lovely harbour with a new improved pier, fine beaches and many interesting archaeological sites.
The island plays host to an annual Traditional Music Festival and regatta and on the 15th of August every year, (weather permitting) the islanders undertake a pilgrimage to Caher Island.
The old settlers seem to have congregated at the southwest corner round the beautiful little harbour of Portdoon, where there is ample archaeological evidence of their presence. The ancestry of the current population includes Wicklow, Wexford and Galway.
Like many islands across the country Inishturk experienced mass immigration as result of the great famine, particularly to America and England. As a result the island is now English speaking although at the beginning of the 20th century Irish was the first language. Geologically Inishturk dates from the Ordovician period.
The remains of a Ninth Century AD, Dun or Fort over looking the only natural lagoon on any of the off-shore island’s over looks it. The little harbour got its name from the Dun it is known as Port An Dun and was used by the Norse men during their raids as gold was found there.
Tradition has it that the Dun at Portdoon was constructed by pirates who harboured their galleys in the creek below, screened by the rocks from the observation of those sailing past.
The remains of a church upon the hill was in use in the penal times dating back to the sixteenth century for the west end with the east end added in the famine times. The roof was taken to repair a church roof on the mainland in 1877.The Graveyard on the island was a Pagan centre before it was used as a graveyard as the 1838 map shows a stone circle indicating its pagan origins.
The signal tower was built during 1805-1806 by local labour. This tower was used by British forces for the first morse code to discourage Napoleon. There are also a number of Beehive house sites around the lake area dated to 1500 BC with Fullacht Fia as the means of cooking.