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Clare Island

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Overview






Please note

eOceanic has been made aware of this haven. We are looking for a sailor with first-hand experience to provide their direct personal insights so that we may complete our write up. In advance of this we have posted these preliminary research notes. Do you know this location? Please contact us or click the 'Report a Mistake or Omission' button below to help share this location with the sailing community.


Clare Island lies in the middle of the entrance to Clew Bay almost 3 miles north west of Roonah Head in Co. Mayo off the west coast of Ireland. Its north-west face is composed of dramatic cliffs rising from the sea to the summit of the island which has an elevation of 450 metres. Viewed from this quarter it presents the appearance of a somewhat tabular mountain, dipping away to the south-west, where it terminates in a bluff point with a ruined tower. To the north-east it descends in a rugged comb-like appearance to the disused light-house on the north point of the island. There are two sites of historical interest on the Island, a medieval abbey and Granuaile's castle beneath which are the visitors moorings.

Clare Island lies in the middle of the entrance to Clew Bay almost 3 miles north west of Roonah Head in Co. Mayo off the west coast of Ireland. Its north-west face is composed of dramatic cliffs rising from the sea to the summit of the island which has an elevation of 450 metres. Viewed from this quarter it presents the appearance of a somewhat tabular mountain, dipping away to the south-west, where it terminates in a bluff point with a ruined tower. To the north-east it descends in a rugged comb-like appearance to the disused light-house on the north point of the island. There are two sites of historical interest on the Island, a medieval abbey and Granuaile's castle beneath which are the visitors moorings.

The anchorage has good shelter from winds from south through west to north and access is straightforward at all states of the tide.



2 comments
Keyfacts for Clare Island



Last modified
September 30th 2018

Summary* Restrictions apply

A good location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Shop with basic provisions availableSlipway availableHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPost Office in the areaBicycle hire available in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinitySet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinityHistoric, geographic or culturally significant location; or in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: shallow, drying or partially drying pierNote: fish farming activity in the vicinity of this location



Position and approaches
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Haven position

53° 48.033' N, 009° 57.045' W

This is the position at Clare Islands harbour pierhead

What is the initial fix?

The following Clare Island initial fix will set up a final approach:
53° 50.344' N, 010° 11.452' W
this is the position in the North Atlantic Ocean midway between Achill Head and Inishbofin.



Not what you need?
Click the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons to progress through neighbouring havens in a coastal 'clockwise' or 'anti-clockwise' sequence. Below are the ten nearest havens to Clare Island for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Inishturk - 4.7 miles SW
  2. Keel Bay - 6.9 miles NNW
  3. Rosmoney (Collan More Harbour) - 7.3 miles E
  4. Little Killary Bay (Salrock) - 7.4 miles SSE
  5. Keem Bay - 7.9 miles NW
  6. Rabbit Island - 8.4 miles ENE
  7. Ballynakill Harbour - 8.5 miles S
  8. Westport - 8.7 miles E
  9. Inishbofin - 9 miles SW
  10. Killary Harbour - 9.4 miles SE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Inishturk - 4.7 miles SW
  2. Keel Bay - 6.9 miles NNW
  3. Rosmoney (Collan More Harbour) - 7.3 miles E
  4. Little Killary Bay (Salrock) - 7.4 miles SSE
  5. Keem Bay - 7.9 miles NW
  6. Rabbit Island - 8.4 miles ENE
  7. Ballynakill Harbour - 8.5 miles S
  8. Westport - 8.7 miles E
  9. Inishbofin - 9 miles SW
  10. Killary Harbour - 9.4 miles SE
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

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How to get in?
Route location The 'Slyne Head to Erris Head' coastal description provides approach information to the suggested initial fix. Vessels approaching from the south should select the northbound Route location sequenced description; vessels approaching from the north should select the southbound Route location sequence; western approaches may use either description.

Clare Island, in Irish Oilean Chliara, is a mountainous island which guards the entrance to Clew Bay, in County Mayo on the west coast of Ireland.

The island is situated 3.5 miles off the mainland, and is the largest of the 365 islands in Clew Bay being 5 miles long and 3 miles wide. The northwest face is composed of stupendous cliffs rising from the sea up to the islands' summit, to the north east on the northern point it descends to an old lighthouse where detached masses of rock are scattered along the shore, whilst the southern shore is of a more moderate elevation but at the middle of the shoreline a deep valley runs across to the east side of the island.

Clare Island is the most imposing feature on the approach to Clew Bay, standing out boldly in the middle of the entrance it serves both as a distinguishing mark and as a breakwater against the heavy Atlantic swell.

The principal landing place is a small sandy bay at the southeast end of the island where there is a harbour pier which dries for some distance outside it, and is subject to a heavy run in any sea. The islands main anchorage is off the pier, and is overlooked by the ruins of Granuaile's Castle which stands prominently on a rocky headland. The anchorage in the bay has 3 to 5 metres depth and is sheltered in southwest through to northwest winds but is exposed to southerly winds, but note that the holding ground is poor. Some seasonal visitors moorings have been laid in the bay to the north of the pier clear of the disused submarine cables which extend east of the pier and then run north, there is also a salmon fish farm to be aware of to the east of the harbour situated southwest of Kinnacora Point.


Why visit here?
Clare Island is a large, high, beautiful and dramatic island which dominates the mouth of Clew Bay and has a population of about 140 which doubles in the summer to cater for the tourist trade. The island has a ferry service to and from Roonah Quay on the mainland which takes about 20 minutes, with numerous sailings in the summer but only two a day during the winter months.

Clare Island is famous as the home of the pirate queen Grainne (Grace) O'Malley, also called Granneuaile or Grania Wael, who through the Middle Ages ruled the western seaboard, and the island was part of the lands owned by the O'Malley family. The ruins of her castle, one of several she owned, the rest are on the mainland, overlooks the anchorage 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'Malley's and contains the O'Malley tomb, a possible burial site of Grainne O'Malley, and the Abbey is also well known for its rare medieval wall and ceiling paintings. In 1588 a ship from the Spanish Armada was wrecked on Clare Island and its cargo was looted and its men all killed by the O'Malley clan.

A very prominent landmark of the island at its northern tip is the disused lighthouse at Lechnacurra Point. After 159 years it was finally taken out of service in 1965 to be replaced by the modern Achillbeg Island lighthouse on the south side of Achill Island. The old lighthouse can be seen in the distance as you approach the islands harbour, it operated for sometime as a luxury B & B but it is now in private ownership.

The island is well worth a visit as it is the highest of the truly offshore islands of Ireland, and gives the visitor spectacular views of the County Mayo coast.

Facilities are somewhat limited, the island's shop and post office is out by the Abbey, and the hotel/ hostel, restaurant, pub and coffee shop are near to the harbour.

Interestingly Clare was the first of the Irish offshore islands to have broadband internet access, and also the island features in a song by the Irish folk/rock band the Saw Doctors from their 1996 album Same Oul' Town, in the song the band immortalise the island describing it as a haven from hectic city life.


What facilities are available?
There is a shop and post office out by the Abbey on the south coast, and near the harbour there is a hotel/hostel, restaurant, pub and a coffee shop.


With thanks to:
inyourfootsteps.com site research


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Please zoom out to see the 'initial fix' for this location.
The above plots are not precise and indicative only.












The following videos may halp first time visitors familiarise themselves with Clare Island.


The following video gives an excellent overview of the activites and sights of Clare Island.



The following video presents a walking tour of Clare Island.



About Clare Island

Clare Island is a large, high, beautiful and dramatic island which dominates the mouth of Clew Bay and has a population of about 140 which doubles in the summer to cater for the tourist trade. The island has a ferry service to and from Roonah Quay on the mainland which takes about 20 minutes, with numerous sailings in the summer but only two a day during the winter months.

Clare Island is famous as the home of the pirate queen Grainne (Grace) O'Malley, also called Granneuaile or Grania Wael, who through the Middle Ages ruled the western seaboard, and the island was part of the lands owned by the O'Malley family. The ruins of her castle, one of several she owned, the rest are on the mainland, overlooks the anchorage 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'Malley's and contains the O'Malley tomb, a possible burial site of Grainne O'Malley, and the Abbey is also well known for its rare medieval wall and ceiling paintings. In 1588 a ship from the Spanish Armada was wrecked on Clare Island and its cargo was looted and its men all killed by the O'Malley clan.

A very prominent landmark of the island at its northern tip is the disused lighthouse at Lechnacurra Point. After 159 years it was finally taken out of service in 1965 to be replaced by the modern Achillbeg Island lighthouse on the south side of Achill Island. The old lighthouse can be seen in the distance as you approach the islands harbour, it operated for sometime as a luxury B & B but it is now in private ownership.

The island is well worth a visit as it is the highest of the truly offshore islands of Ireland, and gives the visitor spectacular views of the County Mayo coast.

Facilities are somewhat limited, the island's shop and post office is out by the Abbey, and the hotel/ hostel, restaurant, pub and coffee shop are near to the harbour.

Interestingly Clare was the first of the Irish offshore islands to have broadband internet access, and also the island features in a song by the Irish folk/rock band the Saw Doctors from their 1996 album Same Oul' Town, in the song the band immortalise the island describing it as a haven from hectic city life.

Other options in this area


Click the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons to progress through neighbouring havens in a coastal 'clockwise' or 'anti-clockwise' sequence. Alternatively here are the ten nearest havens available in picture view:
Coastal clockwise:
Rosmoney (Collan More Harbour) - 7.3 miles E
Westport - 8.7 miles E
Rabbit Island - 8.4 miles ENE
Keel Bay - 6.9 miles NNW
Keem Bay - 7.9 miles NW
Coastal anti-clockwise:
Inishturk - 4.7 miles SW
Killary Harbour - 9.4 miles SE
Little Killary Bay (Salrock) - 7.4 miles SSE
Ballynakill Harbour - 8.5 miles S
Inishbofin - 9 miles SW




The following videos may halp first time visitors familiarise themselves with Clare Island.


The following video gives an excellent overview of the activites and sights of Clare Island.



The following video presents a walking tour of Clare Island.




A photograph is worth a thousand words. We are always looking for bright sunny photographs that show this haven and its identifiable features at its best. If you have some images that we could use please upload them here. All we need to know is how you would like to be credited for your work and a brief description of the image if it is not readily apparent. If you would like us to add a hyperlink from the image that goes back to your site please include the desired link and we will be delighted to that for you.


Add your review or comment:


Paul Harrison wrote this review on Sep 14th 2015:

there are yellow 15 tonne council moorings in clare island hbr. easy access alongside hbr wall where water is available. there was a long water hose available on our visit. take care not to obstruct regular ferry.

Average Rating: ****


Guy Adams wrote this review on Jun 28th 2016:

2 Showers available at the Community Centre as well as Guinness if you have to wait. Sailors Bar and Restaurant is excellent. Quite a good shop given the remote location about 3 km from the harbour but one of the locals gave us a ride back with out heavy bags. Little scope for getting rid of your rubbish which is a bit of a drag if you have been a couple of days at sea getting there.

Average Rating: Unrated

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Please note eOceanic makes no guarantee of the validity of this information, we have not visited this haven and do not have first-hand experience to qualify the data. Although the contributors are vetted by peer review as practised authorities, they are in no way, whatsoever, responsible for the accuracy of their contributions. It is essential that you thoroughly check the accuracy and suitability for your vessel of any waypoints offered in any context plus the precision of your GPS. Any data provided on this page is entirely used at your own risk and you must read our legal page if you view data on this site. Free to use sea charts courtesy of Navionics.