Inch: an introduction

Situated in the far north-west of Ireland, the coastline of County Donegal is a zig-zag of headlands and inlets, the deepest of which is Lough Swilly (Irish: Loch Súilí, meaning ‘Lake of Shadows’), a glacial fjord, formed during the last ice-age, 35,000-11,500 BCE.

At the neck of the Swilly, 30 kms from the waves of the Atlantic, lies the island of Inch, its original Irish name An Inis na n-Osirí, the Island of the Oysters. Inch is 13 km2, with some of the most fertile soil in Donegal.

These rich acres contain Neolithic standing stones, bronze-age graves, iron-age forts, oyster-shell middens, an early-Christian site, a medieval castle, three churches, a Masonic lodge, 18th century industrial archaeology, a Napoleonic-era fort, and the traces of a fishing industry that once sent Lough Swilly herring to Trinidad and Russia.

Please Note: The historic sites and buildings featured in the timeline below are in private ownership, and are not accessible to the general public. The CINE Project was granted special access to record and archive their history. If you intend to visit Inch, please respect the privacy of the islanders and the unique heritage of the island.

Click this link for Geohive maps of Inch.

Scroll down the timeline, and click on the images to explore the fascinating wealth of the island’s history.

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