Tory Island lies off the northwest coast of Donegal, the most northwest county of Ireland, across 9 miles of often stormy Atlantic Ocean. It is Ireland's most northerly inhabited island, with a population of about 100. There is a year-round passenger ferry, with a few crossings daily during the summer. Larger items including vehicles, building materials and oil are carried on a contracted roll-on/roll-off ferry run as needed. Because of bad weather Tory is often cut off for days to weeks on end. Tory is "ruled" by an elected King. His Majesty greeted us as we disembarked the ferry. We also met him at the Club Soisialta later that night. Tory is known for its birdlife, including upland/coastal shorebirds that have become scarcer on the mainland and sea-birds (Puffins, Arctic Terns, Fulmars, etc.). Tory's marquee bird, however, is the Corncrake. Though formerly widespread and common in Ireland, this bird has declined precipitously in the last 50 years due to habitat loss/intensive agriculture and now is reliably found in only a few places in Ireland. Corncrakes favor wet meadows, abandoned fields, such as on Tory, and hayfields that are cut late and cut by hand. Corncrakes migrate to Ireland from sub-Saharan east Africa. Tory has several breeding pairs, and we were lucky to both see and hear them.
Category:Travel and Places