Regrettably I have to cancel £700 of flights with RyanAir - a 1-way journey for five people (the outgoing journey was booked with an airline who allow refunds) to the UK.

RyanAir clearly state that there are no refunds of flights cancelled by customers.

However all details of flight, date and route can be changed. Should I amend the flights to something as far into the future as possible while I think of some purpose for the tickets? What are my options?

The reason for cancellation is not covered by my travel insurance, unfortunately.

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    Sometimes you can change the flight date for free, to a date far out, then they see the date and agree to refund some or even all of it. So I would definitely change the date at least. – 27701 Oct 29 '18 at 21:28
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    There will probably be a final limit to the postponing, typically 1 year after buying. You might be able to move it around, but come 1 full year, it's over. – Aganju Oct 29 '18 at 23:11
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    Please check if the reason for having to cancel is anything covered by your travel insurance, and if your travel insurance covers it. – gnasher729 Jan 26 '19 at 20:48
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    @gnasher729 thank you - I have updated the question to reflect this point. – EleventhDoctor Jan 26 '19 at 21:00
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    If you cancel the bookings, you can ask for a refund of the relevant taxes, which may be significant depending on the specific route. – jcaron Jan 27 '19 at 14:04

Forfeit (and reclaim the Passenger Duty - minus extra charges) or Re-book (with extra charges)

You can apply to RyanAir to refund the Passenger Duty element of the fares only. There is an additional administration charge for this, however.

Alternatively, re-booking can be done online, and is quite easy to do. Unfortunately there is a significant charge for re-booking charged on a per-seat basis! Also, this charge cannot be absorbed by ordering cheaper flights than the ones you booked at first - any excess amount from the original tickets is simply forfeited.

As a long shot, just sit tight and hope they reschedule your flight

If Ryanair significantly change the time of your flight, you can claim a full refund.

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