Beginish Island

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Beginish Island
Native name:
Beginish Island - Valentia Harbour, Kerry.jpg
Beginish from the Slate quarry (Valentia Harbour)
Beginish Island is located in island of Ireland
Beginish Island
Beginish Island
LocationAtlantic Ocean
Coordinates51°56′N 10°18′W / 51.933°N 10.300°W / 51.933; -10.300Coordinates: 51°56′N 10°18′W / 51.933°N 10.300°W / 51.933; -10.300

Beginish (from Irish: Beiginis, meaning "small island")[1] is an island in Valentia Harbour, in south west Kerry, Ireland.[2]


Beginish Island is currently uninhabited, the last remaining residents being 2 elderly brothers who left the island in the 1990s. There are a small number of holiday homes on the island which are used seasonally. The island is used for sheep farming and some small scale forestry, and by tourists in the summer months who use the island's beaches for recreational purposes.

Surrounding Beginish are other small islands, including Lamb Island to the north and Church Island to the east. Church Island is notable for having the remains of a monastic settlement with an oratory and hut, holy well and shrine.


The island has numerous archaeological sites, including a Viking settlement occupied between the 9th and 12th centuries,[3] which consists of a circular stone dwelling, outhouse and a midden. Also occupying the highest point on the western end of the island is a block hut known as "Pilots lookout", which was used in the 19th and early 20th century to spot ships coming into Dingle bay which may have required pilotage into Valentia harbour.

Historical population
1841 84—    
1851 36−57.1%
1901 44+22.2%
1951 14−68.2%
1986 2+0.0%
1991 5+150.0%
1996 2−60.0%
2002 0−100.0%
2006 00.00%
2011 00.00%
Source: "CNA17: Population by Off Shore Island, Sex and Year". Retrieved 10 October 2016.


Beginish is host to a seal colony located in a cove on the southern part of the island named Casey's landing, and has abundant bird and sea life. On the northern edge of the island is a series of basalt cliffs which have a hexagonal shape formed in a similar manner to the famous Giant's Causeway.


An annual swim of approximately 4 miles (6.4 km) takes place around the island each year, organised by the local triathlon club.[4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Placenames Database of Ireland
  2. ^ "Beginish Island". The New York Times Company. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  3. ^ "Beginish Island". Jump into Ireland. Tourism Ireland. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Beginish Island Swim". Valentia Island Triathlon Club. Valentia Island Triathlon Club. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  5. ^ "Beginish Island Swim". The Active Network, Inc. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2012.

External links[edit]