Access Keys:

Scoil Naomh Molaise, Grange, Co. Sligo

Dernish Island


My Local History Project

Dernish Island and Milk Harbour

by Mollie Mc Cann


Facts about Dernish Island:




  • Dernish island is an uninhabited relatively hilly island .
  • Dernish island  lies just off the main Sligo/ Donegal road between villages of Grange and Cliffoney.
  • Both Milk Harbour and Dernish island have a rich heritage, pre-celtic history and legend suggests that they are the sites of ancient invasions and battles.
  • Milk Harbour was the site of a well known boat building tradition where the McCann family crafted clinker built boats to order.



Tom  and John McCann  made Clinker built boats to order. John made Lord Louis Mountbattens boat Shadow V. Lord Louis Mountbatten sent a letter to John saying that he was very happy with the  boat and would give him an extra 20  pounds to do some repairs on the boat. Sadly Tom passed away in 2003 and John passed away in 2013. Since then a lot of things have  changed, their relations Steve and Geraldine Barker renovated the house and boat shed into a holiday destination called Milk Harbour Holidays. They have turned the Boat Shed into a beautiful studio apartment and it is full of history still, when I visit it reminds of me of a museum as it is full of John & Toms memorabilia. It really has the best view over to Mullaghamore and right across the ocean to Donegal.

Interesting things for me living here: 

Carns Primary School- Milk Harbour is the nearest seahore to me, about 2 minute walk !   Every year Carns Primary School pupils make several trips to Milk Harbour and visit the shore with Marine Biologists  to guide them. The School go at  low tide exploring the sea shells at the sea shore. They identified 7 seashells at  Milk Harbour : Cockles, Mussels, Razor Shells, Common Periwinkles & Flat Periwinkles, Limpets & The Common Whelk.

Habitants on Dernish Island: Until about 1 year ago a family lived on Dernish Island and a little girl called Kathleen was a pupil in Carns School. Kathleen came in on the  boat with her Dad every morning to go to School.  She would always wave  at me and sometime walk on my wall! She now lives in Bundoran and their house is a summer house for tourists. I would like to stay there! Last summer some people camped out on the Island too.

The Horse Holiday farm guests trek  along the  coastline and up by Milk Harbour sometimes, It is very scenic and lovely to  see all the horses walking my road! I also get loads of friendly waves!

Fun things I do at Milk Harbour:


  • Pier Jumping
  • Kayaking and other water sports like stand up paddling
  • Walk my dog and play with him 
  • Picnics with friends
  • Watch the Sunset







Dernish Island by Daniel White and Aiden Gillen.

Dernish Island is a small Island in Co.Sligo and is near to Milk Harbour and O'Conors island. Years ago there was six houses and the families that lived there were the Mulligans, Kellys and Gillens.

Now Ron Lenstion is the only one who lives there. The easiest way to get to Dernish is by boat from Milk Harbour, or you can walk at low tide from Streedagh beach

Last changed: Jun 23 2021 at 6:55 PM