A daily ferry service from Kilmore Quay to the Great Saltee runs from April through to October. A very popular day out, it is advisable to book your place on the ferry well in advance, especially during the peak summer months of July and August. While the islands are spectacular, they are also a nature reserve without facilities. A visit to the island requires a certain amount of stamina and fitness. Please read the information below carefully to ensure this journey is for you.
Saltee Ferry Useful Information
Adults €30.00 U12s €15.00
Daily Departures: April - September
June July August
Depart 10:00am Return 2:00pm
Depart 11:00am Return 3:00pm
Depart 12 noon Return 4:00pm
Depart 1:00pm Return 4:30pm
April, May, September
Full Schedule on Weekends Only
Weekdays Depart 11:00
Additional sailings subject to demand
Other times by arrangement
All crossings subject to subject to weather and seasonality.
The ferry does not run during the winter months.
(October 1st to March 31st)
Journey time to the Great Saltee Island is approximately 20 minutes.
An Crosán and An Foracha, the ferry boats, are licensed by the Department of Transport and fitted with a full inventory of safety and lifesaving equipment, including lifejackets.
It is not a requirement to wear a lifejacket whilst travelling as a passenger on these boats. See FAQs
Sea Spray and Bad Weather
The journey is across open sea. This means you are exposed to wind and spray from the waves with a chance that you will get wet during the crossing. There is inside sheltered seating available on the boats. Of course here in Ireland, there is also a chance of rain. So don’t forget to pack your wet gear!
Facilities on the Saltee Islands
There are no facilities on the island, that is there are no toilets, no shops or no refreshments available and no shelter from the elements.
Suitable clothing, footwear and sun/wind/rain protection for the weather on the day as well as adequate refreshments is recommended. Remember the weather is changeable throughout the day.
WET LANDING NOTICE
Landing on the island is by transfer to dinghy and on to shore.
Seaweed and stones on landing area may be slippery.
You may have to walk in shallow water and/or seaweed to get ashore.
If you are not physically fit or if you suffer from any impediment, you must report it to the operator before you board the vessel.
The operator accepts no responsibility for any dangers on the landing area.
You land on the Island at your own risk.
Landing on the Island
To go ashore on the Great Saltee Island, passengers are transferred from the ferry to a dinghy (lifejacket provided). There is no dock or pier. Conditions at the landing point are subject to weather and tides. On arriving at the shore, you will step out of the dinghy on to, at best, the sandy shore. Depending on the tide, you may need to step into the waters edge. There could also be seaweed, or loose slippery stones along the shore. Conditions vary on a daily basis depending on weather and tide and are beyond our control.
Appropriate footwear that you do not mind getting soiled or wet (for example, wellies) is recommended. Or be prepared to remove your shoes and go barefoot.
Exploring the Island
The island is privately owned. We ask that you respect the privacy of the owners and their property. Follow all signs as directed.
To protect the birds and wildlife:
- Do not leave any litter of any kind behind you.
- The use of drones is strictly forbidden.
- No dogs are allowed on the island.
- The lighting of fires is strictly forbidden.
- Please do not approach nesting birds closer than 6 metres.
Location - Departure Point
Saltee Ferry departure point is at the top of the harbour in Kilmore Quay beside the boat launching slip. It is a yellow gate signposted ” Saltee Ferry”. Proceed down the gangway to the boat if the gate is open. If the gate is closed, please wait here for the boat captain to arrive.
Arriving by bus, the bus stop is beside the boat launching slip. Look to the right and you will see the ferry gate.
If travelling by car, you will find ample free car parking adjacent to the harbour.
One of the most recognizable landmarks off the south Wexford coastline, the Saltee Islands are just 5 km from Kilmore Quay. This special place is home to an array of seabirds such as puffins, gannets, guillemots, razorbills, fulmars, manx shearwater, gulls as well as many other species of wildlife.
A wonderfully wild landscape, the islands are abundant with a wide variety of flora and fauna. Bluebells cover the islands in early summer. The steps from the landing point lead you along a pathway to Prince Michael’s throne and obelisk. Old stone walls dot the landscape, a reminder of times past when the islands were farmed by its inhabitants. A Special Area of Conservation, the islands are a unique part of Co. Wexford’s heritage.
Wildlife, History & Heritage
The Atlantic Puffin
The Saltee Islands most famous visitor, the Atlantic Puffin, arrive in numbers during April. This is their breeding grounds. From April until August, when they leave, this is their sole task.
April – May: Puffins arrive and build their burrows. Between each puffin pair, a single precious egg is laid. Both parents then take turns to incubate the egg.
June-Mid July: Chicks have hatched in the burrows and are fed by the parents until ready to fledge.
August: All puffins leave the islands by mid-August heading out to sea where they will spend the winter not returning to land again until the following April.
Other Wildlife on the Island
As one of Ireland’s premier seabird sanctuaries, you will be awed by the variety and numbers of birds that make their home here. Over 200 species have been recorded on the Saltee Islands.
There are breeding seabirds and resident land birds, as well as migrant birds passing through.
The gannet colony on the cliffs at the southwest corner of the island, is one of the three main colonies found in Ireland.
More information about the island’s wildlife can be found at www.salteeislands.info
Saltee Islands History
The islands are formed on some of the most ancient rock in Europe dating back to Pre-Cambrian times. They have been inhabited by Early Christians, Vikings, Normans and medieval monks who farmed the islands and fished the bountiful waters around the island.
On a busy shipping route, stories of piracy and smuggling abound. In 1798, rebel leaders, John Colclough and Bagnel Harvey, hid out in caves on the island before being captured and later hanged from the bridge in Wexford town.
In 1943 Michael Neale purchased the Saltees. More information about the islands can be found at www.salteeislands.info
Important! While on the island, please stay at least 6m away from bird’s nests.
If you flush a bird from its nest, the gulls will swoop in and take the eggs or chicks. It is an offence to disturb nesting birds. To get a closer view of the birds, please use your lens not your feet.
The company reserves the right to refuse admission onboard.
All sailings are at the discretion of the captain.