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Introducing Portmagee

Portmagee overlooks the south side of Valentia Island from the mainland. Its single street is a rainbow of colourful houses and is much photographed. On summer mornings, the small pier comes to life with boats embarking on the choppy crossing to the Skellig Islands.

Portmagee holds set-dancing workshops over the May bank holiday weekend, with plenty of stomping practice sessions in the town's Bridge Bar, a friendly local gathering point, which itself is good for impromptu music by locals year-round and more formal sessions in summer.

The Bridge Bar neighbours the Moorings, with 16 rooms split between modern sea-view choices and simpler – and cheaper – options, most refreshingly white. The nautical-themed restaurant specialises in seafood (including hot seafood platters) and its own pâté.

Perfect for hanging around waiting for the weather to clear for Skellig Islands trips or walks, Skellig Ring House is a sociable, no-frills budget place with two self-catering kitchens and lots of pine furniture. Families are warmly welcomed.