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Sherkin Island – A melting pot of culture, life and art
Sherkin’s location scores well on several fronts. It’s got all the seclusion of an island hideaway, yet lies just 10 minutes from Baltimore by ferry. It attracts a milder climate (when frost hits the lawns of Baltimore, you can find green grass out here), yet boasts stunning Atlantic scenery.
Little surprise, then, that so many non-islanders have made Sherkin their home. The summer months, in particular, see crowds from far and wide flocking to the island – with the result that the ancestral hub of the O’Driscoll clan (their ivy-clad castle lies just above the pier) is today a melting pot of culture, life and art. Sherkin even offers a Visual Arts Degree Programme, and work by the island’s many artists and designers is sold at the Island Crafts Centre in Baltimore.
Certainly, artists have much to inspire them – from the islands dotting Roaringwater Bay to the ruins of Sherkin’s 15th century Franciscan Abbey; from passing porpoises to playful otters, rare birds and spectacular beaches and coves, the island is almost a work of art in itself.
Visitors will find a warm and hospitable welcome year-round, but it is in July and August that Sherkin really comes into its own. Traditional music and the riotous colour of an annual regatta – a big splash in the island’s social calendar – are highlights of a time when walkers, swimmers, sailors and island-hoppers join the swelling ranks of islanders themselves, and everyone soaks up the atmosphere.
Location: Roaringwater Bay, Co. Cork. The ferry port of Baltimore is roughly 42km (50mins) by road from Bantry, and 98km (1hr 45mins) from Cork.
Size: 4.8km x 2.4km. Sherkin can be visited in a day, but you won’t be disappointed with an overnight stay - many visitors have even made their homes here!
There’s a modern day trend on Sherkin – where people get married in the island’s little church, and crack open the champagne on the boat back!
Facilities: Hotel, B&Bs, self-catering, restaurant (delete s), art gallery, coffee /craft shop, pubs, community centre, marina, library
Top 3 Activities: Arts, adventure, sailing
Festival highlights: Sherkin family regatta (July), Celtic Music Festival (May)
Getting there: Ferries sail daily from Baltimore, year-round. Sailings take 10 minutes. Contact Sherkin Ferry (353 28 20218; +353 87 244 7828, www.sherkinisland.eu/ferry).
Getting around: Sherkin richly rewards walkers; taxis (summer) and buses (year-round) are also to hand.
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