South East Ireland Tourism
Travel guide to Ireland's south east
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Cape Clear Island

This wildly romantic island can not help but impress. Cape Clear Island is a Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) island which is located 13km off the coast of West Cork, making it Ireland’s southmost inhabited area of land. Cape Clear’s remote isolation has created a unique and fiercely proud culture, which is distinctly separate to that of the mainland nearby. Heather, gorse and wild flowers cover the rugged hills, and its small fields are bounded by traditional dry stone walls. Among its great treasures are megalithic standing stones, a 5000 year old passage grave, a 12th Century church ruin, and a 14th Century castle. All are testament to Cape Clear Island’s rich cultural heritage, and its value as an isolated and secure haven, in early times when constant skirmishing and inter-clan rivalry could bring summary ruin to mainland settlements. Cape Clear Island’s rugged scenery, sheltered harbours, cliffs, bogs ,and scenic pebble beaches, all contribute to the island’s wonderfully unspoiled charm.

Cape Clear’s wide of range of wildlife populations will bring you as close as you wish to rich colonies of gannets, guillemoths, fulmars, and puffin, as well as to more transient flocks of rare migratory birds. Protruding, as it does, so far out into the Atlantic gives it unprecedented proximity to a variety of whale, shark, and sun-fish populations at various times of the year. Dolphins, on the other hand, enjoy the waters surrounding the island all year long, and regularly perform their unique brand of water aerobatics for bemused and intrigued sailboat crews. The people of Cape Clear Island are a personable bilingual community who greatly value the presence of visitors on their home land. Whether you come to Cape Clear Island to get close to nature, to learn a bit of  ’an Ghaeilge’, or to taste goats milk ice cream, “Oileán Chléire” will greatly exceed your expectations. Enjoy and say “failte” from us.

How to get to Cape Clear Island

The Cape Clear Island Ferry leaves Baltimore for Cape Clear four times daily during the summer months, and twice daily in the winter months. The journey time is 35 minutes, the fare is 16 Euro return, and there is no need for pre-booking.

Explore more

Cape Clear Island is located off Baltimore which is in turn surrounded by beautiful coastal towns. Don't miss Skibereen and Schull if you are travelling west, and don't miss Baltimore, and Castle Townshend, if you are travelling east.

Where to Stay

Cape Clear offers a range of accommodation types, from guesthouses and hostels, to home B&B;'s.

Things to do in Cape Clear Island.

  1. Many of the hiking trails follow ancient “mass paths” which criss-cross the island.
  2. Challenging coastal walks and cross-country hiking trails.
  3. Explore the abundant and unique flora of Cape Clear, which derives from its very mild climate, and its exposure to the North Atlantic Current.
  4. Enjoy live traditional music sessions in Cape Clear’s homely pubs.
  5. Potter about the North Harbour and enjoy lunch.
  6. Explore Cape Clear’s “Gort na Lobhar” burial ground.
  7. Explore ancient church ruins, holy wells, promontory forts, and signal towers.
  8. Find Cape Clear’s ancient “Cill Leire Forabhain” passage tomb.
  9. Chill out and speak Irish with the locals.

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