Bull Rock

Unique Rocky Island straight from a Pirate Movie

Bull Rock is a rocky island with a unique history in the west of Ireland. It is located off the famous Dursey Island on the Wild Atlantic Way. This rock in the sea can only be reached by boat. I did the Bull Rock Island excursion with a zodiac in good weather and a relatively calm sea. The rock is 93 meters high, 228 meters long and 164 meters wide. These are the best tips, the highlights and stops of this adventurous tour.

The coast of Ireland is rugged with high cliffs, raging waves and impressive views. Visiting the coast is very popular partly  because of this. There are also several islands, such as the famous Skellig Islands. They are located further north and were featured in the Star Wars movie: The Force Awakens.

Along the coast are also other lesser-known islands, like Bull Rock. However, it is well-known among the Irish. The island is rich in history, adventure stories, and tragedies. On this excursion you will also come across plenty of other interesting islands. The zodiac excursion at sea is an experience on its own.

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Calf Rock

Calf Rock with its lighthouse. ©Corno van den Berg

Along the way, you will pass the infamous Calf Rock. It has a famous lighthouse. In 1881 six men were shipwrecked on the island. Due to unfavourable weather they could only be rescued after 12 days. On my tour, I discovered that landing on this island is a big challenge. In fact, a very big challenge.

Cow Rock

The remarkable natural arch at Cow Rock. ©Corno van den Berg

Cow Rock is well-known among photographers for its natural arch. Where waves have been crashing for centuries. The waves determine how close you can get to the arch. In very calm weather you even sail through it. You don't see the arch until you arrive at Cow Rock, which adds to the beauty.

Historical Houses and Research Centre

As you approach Bull Rock, you will notice abandoned buildings built on the steepest part. These can be reached via a staircase. They were built at this location to be wind free. A little further on you see the research center, which has recently established a helicopter landing pad.

Cruise Through Bull Rock

In good weather, the boat sails through the natural tunnel at Bull Rock. You will notice a change in the lighting, with lots of algae on the inside and birds swimming and flying. A lovely addition to the experience.

Birds at Bull Rock

A northern gannet. ©Corno van den Berg

During the tour, you will see many birds flying, including hundreds of northern gannets, which also breed on the island. You can also spot puffins and razorbills. In addition, there are various types of gulls that build their nests on the rocks.

Tours Can Get Cancelled

Usually, I like these kinds of areas even in bad weather. But the Bull Rock tour is different, as you don’t want to face raging waves on this tour. So for this reasons the tour is often cancelled. During my road trip through the western part of the country, I was fortunate enough to enjoy good weather. The boat trip to Bull Rock continued, I even had lots of sunshine on this trip.

The tour lasts approximately 1.5 hours. Make sure you wear warm clothes, you have a chance of water splashes. The boat departs from Garnish Pier, which is 14 miles west of Castletownbere.

More information: Dursey Boat Trips

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