Coney Island (Inishmulclohy) (co-ordinates 54.27890 -8.551484) – which in Gaelic means “the island of rabbits” – is the largest the three islands on the seaward entrance heading towards Sligo Harbour, between Rosses Point to the north and Strandhill to the south.
The island is about one and a half miles long and three quarters of a mile across, making up about four hundred acres of land.
You can access the island by boat from Rosses Point, but by far the most popular and fun way (though severe on the car due to the salt rusting away the underside of the chassis) is to drive across Cummeen Strand, a vast expanse of sand which can be traversed when the tide is out, and which is marked by fourteen stone pillars across the 1.5 kilometre strand leading to the island.
Access to Coney island via Cummeen Strand is signposted from the Strandhill Road. If driving from Sligo Town on the main Strandhill Road, about three miles from Sligo, look for a signpost on the right for Coney Island, take this narrow road down to Cummeen Strand. Before attempting to cross Cummeen Strand, make sure that the tide is out and please don’t take any risks, and don’t forget about the tides for your return journey across the Strand.
The island consists of a handful of houses and only one family permanantly resident family, with other families being temporarily resident during the summer months only. There is also a pub on the island. A marked difference from a century and a half ago when there was a population on the island of 124 people, with 45 children attending the local school.
The island contains a vast number of old dry stone walls, vast empty beaches, the old schoolhouse, a faerie ring, some napoleopic star shaped forts and some old famine structures which still remain.
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