Where Is It and Why Go There?

birdwatcher took this on a day trip to Cape Clear Island, thought it was nice.

Cape Clear Island (Oileán Chléire) is the most southern point of Ireland, being a small inhabited Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) island off the coast of West Cork.  It lies eight miles out to sea and is three miles long by 1.5 miles wide.

Despite its size, Cape Clear is an island of extraordinary character and history.  There are a multitude of reasons to take a holiday on the Island.  Cape Clear Island is also developed enough to provide proper infrastructure for inhabitants without over-development.

There is a standing population on Cape Clear Island of about 150 people, but in the summer this can bloom to about 500 people with Gaeltacht students and other tourists.

It should be noted that Cape Clear Island is very busy during the summer, and very quiet in the winter.

Infrastructure and Services on Cape Clear

Cape Clear Island is a fully functioning community and so has a decent infrastructure to make Island life easier.
To that end there is:
  • Shops, incl Grocery & Newsagent
  • Pub(s with daily food and regular music)
  • A church (Services on Sundays)
  • A bus service
  • A daily ferry service to the mainland
  • a Nurse service, living on the Island
Cape Clear Holiday Home

Cape Clear North Harbour

Historic & Significant Cape Clear Features

Cape Clear is historically significant.  Found amongst the wild heather, gorse and fields is evidence of life on the island going back around 5000 years with a confirmed passage grave on the island.

Other significant buildings include the ruins of a 12th century church and the remains of a 14th century castle (Clann Ó Drisceoil).

The Island has also a very well deserved reputation as one of the most important bird observation points in the Europe as the geography, remoteness and climate combined to give a unique mix of bird variety on the island.  Many birdwatchers get distracted by the multiple annual sightings of whales, sharks, dolphins and turtles around the island.

Check out the multitude of things to do on the Island.