Encapsulated in the Saw Doctor’s song ‘The Green and Red of Mayo’, Clare Island is located 3.5 miles off the west coast of County Mayo, Ireland. The ferry crossing from Roonagh Pier takes 25 minutes and there is every chance that you will be accompanied on your journey by a school of dolphins and or a herd of seals. Clare Island is the largest (5 miles long and 3 miles wide) of the 365 islands in Clew Bay. Famous as the ancestral home of the legendary Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley (Granuaile), she has a population of about 160 people; economic activities include farming, fishing and tourism with numerous other small businesses also supporting a vibrant community.
Clare Island’s silhouette is dominated by the giant hump of Knockmore at 461metres on her western edge and the more gently sloping Knocknaveen to her centre. Her western cliffs are among the most dramatic in Europe and are home to large numbers of nesting sea birds.
Once on Clare Island, there is so much to see and do – the island’s rich history, geological and biological landscape (studied in depth in the Clare Island survey) can be explored on foot, bike or by mini bus. Be sure to take time out to view the Blue Flag Beach, Granuaile’s Castle, the 12th century Cistercian Abbey, the Lighthouse, the Napoleonic Tower and the various Bronze-Age sites. Why not call in and see the Heritage Centre or Ballytoughey Loom? There are also plenty of activities to suit everyone including hiking, cycling, fishing, swimming, boat trips, yoga retreats, weaving courses and a variety of adventure activities.
Clare Island also boasts a rich cultural heritage witnessed through its many craftspeople, artists, musicians and dancers. There are two pubs on the island offering plenty craic agus ceoil. Accommodation on the island is of a high standard and includes camping, a hostel, the lighthouse, B&B’s and self-catering. Delicious island fare is available from 11 am daily. In the off-season you are advised to check our website for restaurant opening hours.
Clare Island is a great place to go if you are looking for a holiday, weekend away, a night out or just a day trip – so go on take yourself to Clare Island!