Clare Island, County Mayo
(4.5/5 based on 20 reviews on the web)
Clare Island is a mountainous island guarding the entrance to Clew Bay in County Mayo, Ireland. It is famous as the home of the pirate queen, Gráinne O'Malley. Approximately 145 people live there today.Southwest of Clare Island lie the uninhabited Caher Island and the inhabited Inishturk.HistoryThrough the Middle Ages, Clare Island was part of the lands of the O' Malley family. The ruins of an O'Malley tower-house, known as Gráinne O'Malley's castle because of its most famous resident, are close to the pier at the eastern edge of the island. The small Cistercian Abbey near the south coast of the island was founded by the O'Malleys and contains the O'Malley Tomb, a possible burial site of Gráinne O'Malley. The Abbey is known for its rare medieval roof paintings. In 1588 a ship from the Spanish Armada was wrecked on Clare Island and its men were killed by the O'Malleys.A very prominent landmark of the island is the Clare Island Lighthouse, established by John Denis Browne, the 1st Marquess of Sligo, in 1806. On 29 September 1813 a fire, caused by careless disposal of the oil-lamp wicks, destroyed part of the tower and the lantern. The rebuilt light was ready in 1818. In 1834 the tower was struck by lightning. After 159 years of faithful service the lighthouse was taken out of service on 28 September 1965, replaced by the modern Achillbeg Island lighthouse on the south side of Achill Island.
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  • We had a family visit to Clare Island recently and I can honestly say it was the best experience ever. My husband had been on a stag weekend and had been raving on about the place insisting we had to ...  more »
  • Took a chance on the weather one day while staying Westport and took the ferry to Clare Island. I have to say I was not disappointed although it wouldn't be for me on a dreary day. Not much to do but ...  more »
  • We went to the island for 2 days. We stayed at O'Gradys overlooking the beach, wonderful. Helen looked after us very well. Her breakfast was great. The island is a great walking destination with some ...  more »