Seven inspiring things to do on Sherkin Island this August

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There’s something about going to an island that makes you feel you are leaving some of your cares behind. So as you make the ten-minute ferry journey across Baltimore Harbour to Sherkin Island, throw your troubles to the breeze.

August is the perfect time to visit Sherkin Island, one of the Carbery Hundred Isles in Roaringwater Bay, West Cork.

You’ll find the hedgerows ablaze with Montbretia, and everywhere you look is a picture postcard waiting to be printed.


The Sherkin Island ferry leaves from the multi-coloured fishing village of Baltimore, just a twenty minute drive from Skibbereen.



Now, you could just spend an entire day strolling along the island’s sleepy lanes, breathing in the summery scent of honeysuckle, wild roses, sea air and freshly made silo, while listening to ….well… to silence.

The sweet quietness of Sherkin Island is broken only by an occasional passing car or the Sherkin bus, the screech of a seabird overhead or the rhythmic munching of cattle in fields that sweep down to the sea.

But if walking yourself back to an Ireland of simpler times doesn’t do it for you, here are seven inspiring things to do on Sherkin Island this August.


  1. Crossing

Sherkin Island Community Hall, 8th – 13th August


Original oil painting by Majella O’ Neill Collins

This art exhibition by island artist, Majella O’ Neill Collins takes its inspiration from her journey to and from Sherkin Island. Working mainly in oil on canvas, her approach is intuitive and expressive.

“The memory, essence and unpredictability of the sea is the starting place for my work but it’s not just about the sea but more about life and mood and place, interpreting memories and relating to different emotions and island moments in my life.” Majella O’Neill Collins


  1. Changing Perspectives

Sherkin Island Community Hall, 13th – 21st August

Changing Perspectives

The second joint exhibition by artist, Jo Ashby, and Sherkin Island photographer, Robbie Murphy shows their shared love of the island and its wild beauty. Drawing on his deep knowledge of landscape, tides and skies, Robbie’s stunning images capture moments in time on Sherkin Island.

Jo explores different aspects of subjects repeatedly and distils her response to a particular moment in beautiful acrylic, mixed media and collage artworks.

“My paintings are the distillation of repeated observation of island views, landscapes and details of nature I know and love so well. There are repeated motifs in my work as I try to capture the many different lights and moods.” Jo Ashby


  1. Above – Below

Sherkin Island Community Hall, 24rd – 28th August

Above Below

A joint exhibition with artist and sculptor, Bernardine Rutter, a regular visitor to Sherkin, and islander, Nigel Towse. Both explore the beauty of the sea from above and below in marine-themed photographic images.


  1. Yoga & Mindful Meditation Retreat

Sherkin North Shore, Sherkin Island, 12th – 14th August


Enjoy nurturing food and breath-taking sea views in Sherkin North Shore during this yoga and mindful meditation summer retreat for beginners and intermediates. The retreat is co-facilitated by Gráinne Ní Fhoighíl (Mindfulnesss coach & Kundilini Yoga teacher) and Eithne Henry (Hatha, Tranformational and Vinyasa Flow yoga instructor).


  1. Visit an artist’s studio

Sherkin is known as the ‘Island of the Arts’ so take an opportunity to meet some of the island’s artists in their own natural surroundings.

Jo Ashby, The Old School House, Sherkin Island


‘Thrift, looking across the Cuinne from the Old School House’, an original painting by Jo Ashby. Picture credit: Robbie Murphy

Jo’s studio is right opposite the Community Hall on Sherkin Island. You’ll see the sign outside and visitors will find a warm welcome awaiting in the magical surroundings of the Old School House garden studio.


Sean O’ Neill, Island House Gallery, Kilmoon, Sherkin Island.

Island artist, Sean O’ Neill’s gallery is just a few minutes away from the Community Hall. You will find it on your right once you have come through a tree-canopied section of the road, known as The Lane. His gallery is a serene, reflective space where you can sit and view his paintings to your heart’s content. The more you look, the more you will see in these large acrylic works.

“All my life I have had a great love of art. I paint somewhere between abstraction and reality, trying to portray what lies between impressionism and the subconscious, working totally from memory without the aid of photography or sketches, and using acrylic as my medium as I find this the most suitable for the way I work.  My paintings are not framed as I find this a distraction with no place in my work.” Sean O’ Neill


  1. Check out Sherkin’s beaches

Silver Strand, Sherkin Island



Cow Strand, Sherkin Island


Tra Ban

Trá Bán, Sherkin Island


7. Take a well-earned rest

The Jolly Roger

The jaunty flag flies above Sherkin Island’s famous pub, the Jolly Roger, where you will find a warm welcome, live music and a hearty lunch-time chowder to warm the cockles of your heart. Mingle with the locals and sit inside or outside of this lovely old pub that has oodles of character.

Sherkin House

Sherkin House has food, a well-stocked bar, live music and accommodation so it’s the ideal place if you wish to linger a little longer on Sherkin Island. There’s a marina just below where you can moor your boat and the gardens and terrace offer the perfect vantage point to enjoy stunning views of the Baltimore Beacon and across Baltimore Harbour.

Sherkin North Shore

One of Sherkin’s best kept secrets, this hostel has pretty over-night accommodation and great home-cooking, made from quality, locally sourced ingredients. Follow signs for ‘Bruno’s Café’ for freshly made pots of tea, coffee and hand-made cakes that are to die for. The Café service isn’t always available due to the Sherkin North Shore’s busy events schedule but if it is, and you chance upon it between 12 noon and 5pm…. call it serendipity.



Words and pictures by Patsy Atkinson ©wildsherkin



A September date for the diary :

On 7th September up to fifteen Sherkin Island artists will be opening their doors or exhibiting their work between 10.30am and 5.30pm as part of the Taste of West Cork programme of events.