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Clare Island Beach (The Harbour)

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Clare Island Beach - County Mayo

© Oliver Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

This sandy beach sits right next to the harbour on Clare Island just off the coast of County Mayo. The picturesque fishing boats scattered around the harbour and the mountainous Irish mainland in the distance, combine to make this place picture-postcard pretty.

Despite its location there is plenty to do here. Often referred to locally as Harbour Beach this lovely Blue Flag beach is a popular spot for bathing. There is also a picnic area, and for those seeking something a bit more energetic than relaxing in the sunshine, a volleyball net is provided.

There is a car park next to the beach which is accessed via a slipway. There are also toilets and a pub located next to the beach.

The island is reached by a daily ferry service that travels from Roonah Point, near the town of Louisburgh on the mainland. It has a population of around 200 people. As well as a pub, the island has a hostel, a few bed and breakfasts, and a yoga and meditation centre. Bicycles can be hired from near the beach and harbour and are an excellent way of exploring the island.

The island contains two major landmarks. The first is a medieval church known as The Abbey. It contains the best preserved medieval wall paintings in the whole of Ireland. The other is the lighthouse on the northernmost point of the island, the only two-towered lighthouse in Ireland. It was decommissioned in 1969 after 159 years in operation.

In Elizabethan times, Clare Island became the home of wealthy shipping heiress Grainne O’Malley, who has gone down in history as the "Pirate Queen of Ireland". A number of interesting historical facts and legends surround this colourful figure.

Also known as:

The Harbour

Type of beach

Sandy

Lifeguard service

No

Dogs friendly beach?

Dogs must be on a leash and droppings removed.

County Mayo dog friendly beaches »

Activities

  • Swimming/bathing

Facilities

  • Cafe/restaurant
  • Toilets
  • Pub nearby
  • Slipway

Nearest town

Louisburgh

Postcode

OS grid ref.

Awards

Blue Flag Award