Tory Island is located 11km off the mainland and is only 5km long and 1km wide. It has spectacular cliffs, which are host to a number of different species of sea-birds. Fulmars, terns, oyster-catchers, gulls, gannets, cormorants and puffins are no strangers to Tory Island .
Ornithologists regularly visit the island to study these birds, especially the Corn Crake. This bird is common on Tory Island, but is unfortunately becoming rare on the mainland. The Corn Crake is under threat globally due to intensification of agriculture.
There is also some archaeological interest on the island, including the remains of two churches believed to be from St Columcille’s 6th century monastery, a round tower, and a Tao Cross that dates to the 12th century.
Árainn Mhór, also known as Arranmore Island, means ‘Big Ridge’. It is located about 5km from Burtonport along the Donegal coast. It has a population of about 500 and an area of 7 sq.km. The highest point on the island is Cluidaniller Hill, which reaches 226m. From Árainn Mhór, there are fine views of the mainland, from Glen Head to Tory Island.
As a result of erosion from the Atlantic Sea, spectacular caves and sheer cliffs can be seen along the western coast of Árainn Mhór. It is a popular area for coarse angling, and there are two freshwater lakes that contain brown trout. Loch Shore is the only lake in Europe where rainbow trout naturally breed. Other fish species found along the island’s shoreline are Pollock, cod, skate, turbot, plaice and ling.
There are very few land animals on Árainn Mhór. As most of their predators do not live on the island, there is a large and diverse colony of birds present. One of the more unique birds that has been recorded on the island is the snowy owl.
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