Clare Island

Islands in Co. Mayo in the West of Ireland

Mayo has a large numbers of offshore islands and islets lying round its shoreline like a pearl necklace.

Situated at the entrance to Clew Bay, Clare Island is the largest of Mayo's offshore islands. Located off the West Coast, Clare Island is 3.5 miles from the mainland and is also the largest of the 365 islands in Clew Bay, it is 5 miles long and 3 miles wide.

With its varied landscape of spectacular cliffs, inland mountain terrain, the gentle peak of Knockmore (461m) and pristine beaches, Clare Island is an ideal destination for hill-walkers and nature lovers. Here they can enjoy discovering large colonies of sea birds, alpine flora and neolithic and bronze-age archaeology. The island is full of amazing scenery and the clear waters surrounding the island are known for their exceptional dive sites.

The castle and burial place of the famous ‘Pirate Queen' Grace O'Malley (Grainneuaile) are on the island.

It is one of the inhabited islands in Clew Bay and a ferry travels daily to the island all year around and several times a day during the summer months.

In fine weather it offers some beautiful views: southwards towards Connemara, eastwards across Clew Bay and northwards towards Achill.

The current population is approx 150 but in pre-famine times the population was as high as 1700.