Taking a Boat to Clare Island

how to get to clare island

Boat Trip to Clare Island

Located 3.5 miles from the West Coast of Ireland sits the small island of Clare, one of the many islands off the coast of Co. Mayo with inhabitants. Its natural beauty and calm island life are as special as they are unique.

humpback whale visiting clare island
Catch glimpses of dolphins, seals and more enroute to Clare Island

How to Get to Clare Island

Taking a ferry from Roonagh Pier is one the easiest and best ways to make your way to the island. While on the journey over you can immerse yourself in the sprawling beauty of the Atlantic Ocean and you will often be greeted with glimpses of dolphins, seals and other marine life which flourishes in the region.

Once you arrive on the island you will begin one of the most unique and unforgettable experiences that the beautiful nation of Ireland has to offer.

Likely one of the first things will catch your notice is the islands breath-taking natural beauty.

The abundant greenery of the island serves as the ideal habitat for a diverse variety of flora, fauna and birdlife.

The varied topography and lush woodlands offer walking and biking trails for outdoor-lovers of every level of fitness and skill.

Equestrian enthusiasts are also catered too with the local horse farms offering horse riding lessons. The calm open space of the island offering an ideal location for beginners and children.

biking on clare island
Biking on Clare Island

Things to Do On Clare Island

For the boating enthusiast, two separate companies on Clare Island offer boating trips and angling in the Atlantic waters around the island.

They both offer unique and memorable opportunities to catch fish and enjoy some amazing up-close views of the Island’s shores and the spectacular waters that surround them.

Of course, it’s not just the natural beauty that draws visitors to Clare Island, despite having a population of less than 200, Clare Island is home to a bustling community and several striking historical landmarks.

One such claim to fame is that it was once home to the great Grace O’Malley, the famed pirate queen and icon of Irish folklore.

grainne uaile fort pirate queen clare island
Ancient Fort of The Pirate Queen Grainne Uaile

Upon first entering Clare Island harbour, visitors will be met with the sight of an old stone tower on the shore – a tower first constructed in the 16th century and used as a stronghold by the pirate queen herself.

In the 18th century, it was and subsequently renovated and is now used as a police barracks.

The sight of this tower sets a precedent for the Clare Island experience; for the whole island is dotted with many such fascinating historical remnants.

On the western point of the island, for instance, the crumbling remnants of a stone tower which was built-in 1804 in anticipation of a possible Napoleonic invasion, overlooks the water.

In the village of Krill sits the island’s local church, an imposing stone structure first constructed over 150 years ago

Nearby sits one of the oldest buildings on the island, a beautiful 12th-century abbey noted for the striking number of surviving medieval paintings adorning its walls.

All of these historical beauties stand against a backdrop of a small, intimate, but vibrant community, with many festivals and events livening up the island throughout the year.

A trip to Clare Island will be unlike anything else you have experienced. An unforgettable immersion in history, community, and natural beauty.

It is the best of what the small island of Ireland has to offer,
squeezed into an even smaller island of Ireland 🙂

Paul Feeney
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