Clare Island, County Mayo

4.3
#7 of 7 in Nature in County Mayo
Island Nature / Park
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 Granuaile's Castle because of its most famous resident, are close to the pier at the eastern edge of the island. Clare Island 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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23 reviews
  • On one of our last days in Achill made our way through Newport, Westport and Louisburgh and on to Roonagh Pier for the 13.20 trip across by ferry. To our surprise we were taken across on a speed boat....  more »
  • The Saw Doctor's song "Will you meet on Clare Island?" inspired my trip to this lovely Island. I did indeed as the lyrics say "take the ferry out from Roonagh and wave all my cares goodbye". We were l...  more »
  • Went out on 10.45 ferry. It's functional rather than comfortable - perhaps a good introduction to the island. Walked west to Cille then up to the col where there's a useful track going off towards Kno...  more »

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