Gola Island

Gola Island

Infobox Irish Place
name = Gola Island
gaeilge = Gabhla

pin coords = left: 37px; top: 42px
north coord = 55.050941 | west coord = 8.235626 | irish grid = B847228
area = | elevation =
province = Ulster
county = County Donegal
rural pop = 0
census yr = 2002

Gola or Oileán Ghabhla is a small uninhabited island off the coast of Gweedore, County Donegal, Ireland.

Gola island is situated just one kilometre off the coast of Gweedore. Its many beaches and secluded bays attract visitors throughout the year. The island was populated up until the mid 1960s. Today most of the buildings on the island are derelict, but some have been renovated as holiday homes.

The island terrain is mildly hilly with many bog road and sheep paths. At present, during the winter the only inhabitants on Gola are animals. Sheep and some shy goats tend to reside along the cliffs. To the back of the island, seabirds abound, cormorants, shags, razorbills, guillemots as well as the odd passing gannet and skua. At the southern end of the near Port na Crin and the old school house, many shore species of bird can be admired such as the eider duck, oystercatcher, diver as well as various terns.

Gola is the birthplace of renowned Irish writer, Seán 'ac Fhionnlaoich. The island has also been immortalised in the traditional children's song "Báidín Fhéilimí" ("Féilimí's Little Boat") [http://www.thesession.org/tunes/display/3256] .

Rock climbing

Gola is renowned for the quantity and quality of the rock-climbing available on its sea-cliffs, and has been very popular with climbers, especially on long weekends, since its climbing potential was discovered in about 1994.

The cliffs are composed of a brownish granite which gives excellent friction and generally good protection. The climbing is concentrated around the sea-cliffs surrounding the Mweelmurrinagh hill on the north-west coast of the island, in several cliff-bound inlets and exposed faces, and one small inland cliff which is popular when the tide is high or the sea rough. Climbs are often tidal, and many are approachable only by abseil. The current guidebook lists about 170 climbs, all single-pitch, with a wide range of grades.

Visiting climbers normally travel to the island by small ferry from Bunbeg or Derrybeg and camp near the beach at Machaire na nGall on the island's west coast, close to the main climbing areas. The neighbouring smaller islands of Owey and Umphin also offer similar climbing, but do not have a regular ferry service.



*Alan Tees (editor), "Rock Climbs in Donegal" (Mountaineering Council of Ireland, 2002) ISBN 0-902940-17-1 [http://www.climbing.ie/isbn.html#dalkey]

External links

* [http://maps.google.com/maps?t=k&ll=55.089323,-8.366346&z=14 Satellite view of Gola]
* [http://www.climbing.ie/counties/donegal.html Overview of Gola and other Donegal climbing areas]
* [http://www.climbing.ie/cpg/thumbnails.php?album=search&search=gola Photos of climbing at Gola]
* [http://www.pete-smith.co.uk/dynamic/guidebook/index.php Online guidebook]

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