The island of Gola (Gabhla) covers about one square mile (500 acres). It is situated about one mile from the pier at Machaire Gathlán, or two miles from the pier at An Bun Beag. The island is hilly on its west side, rising to 238 feet at Cnoc an Choillín and 212 feet at An Mhaol Mhór, and these hills shelter the houses that stretch in a ribbon alone the east side.
The census of 1814 recorded a population of 68 on Gola Island prior to the Famine. This rose steeply to 169 by the time of the 1911 census, in response to a boom in the fishing industry. The old schoolhouse, built in 1846, is situated west of Port an Churraigh. At one stage, in the 1940s, it held as many as 70 young pupils.
But there is evidence of life in Gola prior to this. The remains of two kitchen middens - large heaps of shells discarded over centuries - are found near the lake and probably date back to prehistoric times.
Two men from Gola, Patrick McGinley and Charles Duggan, were aboard the Asgard, the yacht that brought arms into Howth in north county Dublin in 1914, in preparation for the Easter Rising of 1916.
For trips to Gola see Gola Island Ferry