Clare Island and places of interest
The Clare Island Beach
Snuggled inside the main harbour as you land on the island, the beach has a Blue Flag (The Blue Flag works towards sustainable development of beaches and marinas through strict criteria dealing with Water Quality, Environmental Education and Information, Environmental Management, Safety and Other Services).
On the rocky headland at the harbour is the square tower which served as Grace O’ Malley’s (Granuaile’s) castle. Clare Island was the stronghold of this remarkable 16th century O’ Malley clan chieftain who lived by her family trade of piracy and plunder.
A small fishing port used by local currach boat fishermen, this harbour is located on the North / East side of the island under the lighthouse. With a small waterfall flowing down the cliff face which surrounds the harbour this is an ideal place for a quiet swim.
The sea cliffs here are among the most dramatic on Ireland’s North West coast with a huge array of birds and wild life so bring your binoculars.
The Ballytoughey loom is a small cottage industry producing high quality natural fibre hand woven goods.
Clare Island Retreat & Yoga Centre
The Yoga Retreat Centre is located on the north-eastern end of the island, and is run by Christophe Mouze and Ciara Cullen. They provide courses all year round.
The Clare Island Abbey
The 12th century Cistercian abbey contains a remarkable series of medieval wall and ceiling paintings. The paintings which once covered the entire ceiling in a kaleidoscope of colour, depict mythical, human & animal figures including dragons, a cockerel, stags, men on foot and on horseback, a harper, birds & trees. Only four other such paintwork examples still exist in Ireland & Clare Island’s is the most intriguing and best preserved.
Court Tombs & Fulachta Fia
There are no less than 53 fulachta fiadh or outdoor cooking sites on Clare Island and there is also a Megalithic Court Tomb, testifying to the fact that the island has been farmed for over 5,500 years. These sites of historical significance can be easily discovered on walks as they are signposted on route.