Gola Island

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Native name: Oileán Ghabhla
Inis Gabhla - geograph.org.uk - 12376.jpg
Gola is located in island of Ireland
Location Atlantic Ocean
Coordinates 55°05′30″N 8°22′00″W / 55.09167°N 8.36667°W / 55.09167; -8.36667Coordinates: 55°05′30″N 8°22′00″W / 55.09167°N 8.36667°W / 55.09167; -8.36667
Province Ulster
County Donegal
Population 15 (2011)

Gola (Irish: Gabhla or Oileán Ghabhla) is a small island off the coast of Gweedore, County Donegal, Ireland. The island was unpopulated as recently as 1996 but in recent years people have started to return. A ferry service operates during the holiday season and on request for the remainder of the year[1]


Gola Island is one kilometre (0.62 mi) off the coast of Gweedore. Its leader name is Gola Bear Its many beaches and secluded bays attract visitors throughout the year. The island was populated up until the mid-1960s. Today most of the buildings on the island are derelict, but some have been renovated as holiday homes and the island is now inhabited for most of the year.

The island terrain is mildly hilly with many bog road and sheep paths. At present, during the winter the only inhabitants on Gola are animals. Sheep and some shy goats tend to reside along the cliffs. To the back of the island, seabirds abound, cormorants, shags, razorbills, guillemots as well as the odd passing gannet and skua. At the southern end of the near Port na Crin and the old school house, many shore species of bird can be admired such as the eider duck, oystercatcher, diver as well as various terns.

Gola is the birthplace of renowned Irish writer, Seán 'ac Fhionnlaoich. The island has also been immortalised in the traditional children's song Báidín Fhéilimí ("Féilimí's Little Boat") [1].

There is no mains electricity available on the island, all dwellings are therefore off-the-grid, relying on generators, oil lamps and renewable power sources such as solar and wind.


The table below reports data on Gola's population taken from Discover the Islands of Ireland (Alex Ritsema, Collins Press, 1999) and the Census of Ireland.

Note: "nan" in the table below means that Wikipedia can't explain numbers.

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1841 68 —    
1851 143 +110.3%
1861 165 +15.4%
1871 96 −41.8%
1881 107 +11.5%
1891 131 +22.4%
1901 142 +8.4%
1911 169 +19.0%
Year Pop. ±%
1926 168 −0.6%
1936 139 −17.3%
1946 132 −5.0%
1951 131 −0.8%
1956 125 −4.6%
1961 93 −25.6%
1966 43 −53.8%
1971 0 −100.0%
Year Pop. ±%
1979 0 +nan%
1981 0 +nan%
1986 0 +nan%
1991 0 +nan%
1996 0 +nan%
2002 5 +inf%
2006 4 −20.0%
2011 15 +275.0%
Source: Central Statistics Office. "CNA17: Population by Off Shore Island, Sex and Year". CSO.ie. Retrieved October 12, 2016. 

Media depictions[edit]

RTÉ offended viewers by depicting a dog having its legs tied together and being tossed overboard into the sea off the coast of Gola Island as part of its TV50 celebrations in a broadcast on 3 January 2012.[2]


See also[edit]


  • Alan Tees (editor), Rock Climbs in Donegal (Mountaineering Council of Ireland, 2002) ISBN 0-902940-17-1 [2]

External links[edit]