The birthplace of Sean’s grandfather, Whiddy Island can be seen clearly from Seafort. Just a 15-minute trip by ferry from Bantry pier, you can explore the 7.7 km of walking trails on Whiddy Island. Carpeted in signature red fuchsia bushes, this small island enjoys a wealth of wildlife and exotic plants that thrive here thanks to the warming effects of the Gulf Stream. Don’t forget your binoculars as the two island lakes provide great opportunities for birdwatching.
You can hire a bike or wander along the well-marked trails, part of the Sheep’s Head loop, before enjoying a refreshing drink, fresh seafood salads and open sandwiches in the Bank House, the island’s only pub where Kathleen or Tim will tell you about the fascinating history of the island. They might tell you about the many nations that have tried or successfully occupied or inhabited the island. The failed French Invasion of 1796, when the French Armada was scattered outside the Bay by a violent storm, and only 500 French sailors landed on Whiddy to convalesce. Three moated forts, known as redoubts were constructed by the British Admiralty when 850 men with 87 horses took a few years to build. They were completed and operational in 1809 at a cost of £51,000 and armed with twenty eight 24 pounder cannons and accessed only by bridge. One of these redoubts is still in existence. although unfortunately inaccessible due to an old unsafe bridge, due for immediate renovation. The US Naval Air Service took up residence on Whiddy in December 1917 with one of their four Irish Seaplane bases, armed with 400hp twin Liberty engine Curtis H.16 Seaplanes, to counteract the U-boats threat. They remained Patrolling the Atlantic shipping lanes until January 1919.