Omey Island lies off Claddaghduff, and is a wonderful place to visit, with a variety of different possible walks. 

The island can be reached on foot or by car, from approximately half-tide to half-tide.  Make sure you check the tides before you head out, to make sure you aren't cut off and have to wait for some hours to get back to the mainland!

This group of visitors got it just wrong, and reached their waiting bus by wading across - we DON'T  recommend this unless (a) it's a very calm day, (b) you know the water is still not too deep, and (c) you're a strong swimmer!                     

MUCH BETTER TO... Ask the well-informed staff in Sweeney's shop/bar, who are always very well informed about when Omey Strand will be 'open' or 'closed'). 

And this website has a link to printable tide tables - just click on 'Day to Day Practicalities' in the main menu, and look for 'Tide Times' in the sub-menu. Note also, though, that northerly winds, and conditions out at sea, can have a considerable effect both of tide times and on the tidal range.


Please note that Omey Island is a designated Special Area of Conservation (S.A.C.), because of its ecological importance. Visitors should refrain from any actions that would damage to the environment. For example, campfires lit on the ground damage the very sensitive environment for years, destroying the natural balance, and sometimes killing off rare species of plant or other creatures. Omey is home to a number of rare and important plants and creatures, including unusual staghorn beetles, for example. Help to protect and preserve this special place.


To reach Omey strand and island, take the turn down at the large Church of Our Lady The Star of The Sea, Claddaghduff. Parking at the end of the road, at the Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Point.

Much of Omey Island is available for walkers to ramble freely. HOWEVER, note that there are large tracts of it are privately owned commonage,  used for farming purposes. Please respect fences and keep away from fenced-off areas and from livestock.

One interesting walk is to the right along the Omey Island shore, towards the cemetary and beyond, with a brief diversion for a respectful wander around the cemetery will give you an idea of many of the local names, as well as a poignant reminder of just how short many people's lives have been; and of the many local people who had to travel far away, returning only to be buried on their beloved peninsula.

Further along the beach, past the modern-day cemetery, and right on the shore, you'll see the signs of ancient 'middens' - dumps of shells and other detritus, from thousands of years ago, now exposed by constant erosion of the shale banks. Nearby to there is an ancient cemetery from which winter storms frequently dislodge old human remains dating back from two hundred to a thousand and more years.

In the early seventh century, St Feichin founded an important monastic settlement on Omey Island (with an outpost on nearby High Island). In recent decades, the ruins of St Feichin's Church were excavated from the moving sand of Omey, and you will find it today (photo on left), not far from the shore on the mainland side, its ancient granite stones pink in the sun.

You can take the road crossing the island, passing Fahy Lake on your right-hand side, and reaching Tra Rabhach on the west side of the island.

Above:  Fahy Lake, frozen in the middle of a very cold winter

Interesting and beautiful walks include:
  • Walking across the sandy Strand, and on across the island on the small road - you will pass a freshwater lake, Fahy Lake, on your right-hand side as you cross (the photograph to the right above shows how it looked during the Big Freeze over Christmas 2010!).
  • A complete circumnavigation of the island, around the shore-line.
  • If that seems too far, a half-circumnavigation, either of the north half of the shoreline or the south, using the road as a return route.

Half-way across the island, across fields on your left, you can access  a very beautiful steeply sloping beach, Tra Choic (above). It's a lovely place to sun-bathe  - but be warned that the sea deepens quickly on this beach, and there are treachorous currents for those who are not really strong swimmers. On no account leave children unguarded on this beach, to swim without supervision.

When you reach the far (Atlantic) side of Omey, the views are beautiful.

One of the most striking islands offshore you may  remember from driving the Aughrus Loop - this is Cruach Island, very distinctive with its sharp crags on its northern end...


 ...While looking back towards the mainland - to the left, the view is over Fahy Lake, with the mainland  and some of the Twelve Pins mountain range in the background - the views are equally lovely...

You'll usually see quite large numbers of Mute Swans on Fahy Lake...

...And we've spotted a Whooper Swan among the Mutes.

From higher ground on Omey, looking across Fahy Lake, note the tiny dry-stone-walled fields on the promontory - see the photo below:





In winter, or during storms, the island and the view are still very beautiful, but in a different way: now you'll see the real power of an Atlantic storm, having crossed an ocean and driving ashore on Omey's granite shore and off-lying reefs. 




Not far beyond the beach at the end, and to the right, of the road, is St Feichin's Holy Well (now dry), still revered - many people leave  objects and notes in memory of  departed loved ones, in the small alter.

The Well is still revered, and each year on St Feicin's Day (14th January), people still go to the Well to pray and offer their devotion. So tradition lives on.

Right:  The cross that graced St Feichin's Well for many years.  Eventually it went the way of all flesh, and it was replaced.

Violent storms during the past decade - 2014 especially - caused a great deal of coastal erosion on Omey. St Feichin's Well was almost washed away.  In 2016 the sea side of the well was protected by the addition of a lot of large granite boulders, as you'll see.  And the well is still there!

This is a lovely place - a place for reflection and simply to enjoy the beautiful vista before you: the Atlantic right in front, Slyne Head, with its lighthouse near the end, jutting out into the sea. Slyne Head's outlying rocks make it just the most westerly point in Connemara - and almost in the whole of Ireland - though many of us would say that Aughrus is the most westerly inhabited point of Connemara!

During the summer months, the island is strewn with wild flowers ; the soil is almost pure sand, and with its good drainage it's ideal for salt-tolerant alpine and shore plants.

From mid-summer, the low-growing wild thyme is in flower; walking over it, its fragrance will fill your nose with delight!

Look out for all those rabbits, which abound all over Omey. Look out for their burrows, too; they could break an ankle!

And keep an eye and ear out for Choughs - nowadays quite a scarce bird in Ireland - with their bright red bills and legs.

They often frequent the grasslands around the large dunes to the west of Fahy Lake; or around the small Lough Namacken to the NE of Fahy.

Walking further along to the right brings you to the extreme North-West end of the island. Along with broad beds of ancient granite, warmed by the sun (if you're lucky!), you'll find a secluded and usually empty sandy beach (Tra na n'Ean - Beach of the Birds). Here, on the right, is the beach on a breezy day; on other occasions you'll find it smooth and inviting, the water crystal clear, and the swimming safe.

There are so many other things to tell you about Omey, about its history and geology  - and so many other things to see as you walk.  You'll find a number of books on Omey Island listed in the Further Resources and Reading page on this site.

Don't forget to remember: there is a flood tide as well as an ebb. Check the times in Sweeney's for crossing and returning, before you head for Omey, and keep an eye on your watch.


We hope you will really enjoy your visit to Omey Island. It's a special place; and one you will never forget.

There are beautiful wild flowers to enjoy on Omey Island, right through the late Spring and the whole Summer!  Click the thumbnails below to see a tiny sample of what's on offer.