A Short Guide to Visiting Clare Island in County Mayo, Ireland

For several years, I’ve heard Clare Island, a mountainous island guarding the entrance to Clew Bay, described with glowing superlatives. It was often referred to as a place where you can breathe in the fresh air, connect to the natural world and forget about your day to day duties.

So when our well-planned and well-anticipated hiking adventure to reach the top of Ireland’s Holy mountain known as Croagh Patrick was abandoned due to the sudden weather changes, we opted to catch a ferry to the Clare island to see if such accolades were accurate.

We joined a handful of daytrippers boarding the ferry and meandered across the glistening ocean towards the island at a leisurely pace giving us enough time to genuinely appreciate the journey that we were on.

We spent the majority of our time on the island walking through the sparsely beautiful land and I can safely say that the islands towering cliffs, seascapes and white sand beaches will awe any adult and kid.

It’s harsh in places, treeless yet there’s a strange allure to Clare Island as it’s a place of space and peace.

On the way to Clare Island.

How to get to and around Clare Island

Clare Island is located 3.5 miles off the west coast of County Mayo, and to get there you must take a ferry. In the summer month, there are a number of ferry sailings from Roonagh Pier to Clare Island. As the sea voyage doesn’t take longer than 20 minutes it won’t churn the stomach.

The Clare Island Ferry, run by Alan & Brian O’ Grady, operates daily from Roonagh Quay, near a quaint town on the Bunowen River, Louisburgh. The ferry sails all year round so you can visit in high season or experience the more remote side of island life by visiting during the winter months.

Keep in mind that the Clare Island Ferry is a passenger ferry only and it is not possible to bring your car, so you must plan accordingly on how you are going to get around the island. If you are arriving by car, you can leave it at the Roonagh car park, which is free of charge.

There are no buses or any other public transport to Roonagh Query but you can always get in touch with the boat operators to see if they can arrange a lift from Westport or Louisburg.

If you plan on bringing your own bike, be prepared to pay around EUR 6. You can also rent one on the Clare Island

Clare Island Ferry tickets: An Adult – EUR 17 return, Kids – EUR 12 return, Under 5’s – free

One of the ferries waiting for the passengers in Roonagh Pier.

Things to do on Clare Island

At 8km long and 5km wide, Clare Island is easy to get around. There are very few cars on the island, making it easier to enjoy the breathtaking scenery. If you’d prefer to cycle, pre-book a bike in advance or bring your own.

Much of the island is intensely beautiful and unspoiled with most of the attractions located near the harbour which shelters a Blue Flag beach. In a nutshell, you can see rare sea birds nesting on sea cliffs, visit a lighthouse located high on the Northern Cliffs, and enjoy a relaxing yoga retreat run by Christophe Mouze and Ciara Cullen.

On the most westerly point, you’ll find the 19th Century Napoleonic Signal Tower. Also, there is a megalithic tomb dating back to 4,000 to 3,000 and Clare Island Heritage Centre where in addition to items and stories of days gone by you can find valuable advice on what to do and see on the island.

Engage in walking and biking acctivities

Clare Islands remarkably varied terrain makes it a haven for the serious hill walker and the casual stroller alike. Depending on how much time you’ve got, you can either cycle or walk around the island.

Fawnglass Loop – a 3-kilometre easy loop walk that follows surfaced roadways & green tracks. It is waymarked with a green arrow and takes around 1 hr – 1hr30mins to complete, depending on your fitness level and on how many times you stop to take in the scenery. Starting and ending point for the walk is Clare Island Pier.

The walk circles the valley of the townland of Fawnglass between the pier at the beach and Knocknaveen Hill on the surfaced roadway and grassy track, venturing onto the lower slopes of Knocknaveen with fine views of Clew Bay.

Knocknaveen Loop – an 8-kilometre moderate walk that pursuits surfaced roadways & green tracks. The duration of the walk is around 2 hr – 2hr30mins. Waymarked with a purple arrow it starts and ends in Clare Island Pier.

The loop brings you past the small Loughs of Creggan and Leinnapollbruty. There are fine views towards Achill Island, the Corraun Peninsula and the Mayo mainland.

Always plan ahead and prepare before heading out by bringing the correct equipment for the terrain – hiking boots, rain gear, plenty of snacks & fluid. Check the weather forecast and always be prepared for changing weather conditions. Leave details of your plans with somebody and don’t forget to contact that person later to say that you have returned safely.

Please adhere to leave no trace principles when exploring the island:

  • Respect wildlife and farm stock: 
  • Be considerate of others: respect the people who live and work on the island
  • Dispose of waste properly: ‘Pack it in, pack it out. Bring home all litter and leftover food including biodegradable waste.
Taking a well-deserved break after a long walk.

Enjoy Bird Watching

If you are a keen ornithologist, you’ll be pleased to discover large numbers of nesting sea birds along the spectacular cliffs to the north of the island. You can see Puffins, Razorbills, Herring Gulls, See Gannets, Manx Shearwaters and many other species.

To learn more about waterbirds, seabirds and land birds on the island you can look up ”New Survey of Clare Island, Volume 9: Birds” which features a systematic list comprised of records of bird sightings that stretch from 1887 to 2018.

The most ambitious natural history project ever undertaken in Ireland and the first major biological survey of a specific area carried out in the world was the first Clare Island Survey of 1909–1911. The survey was written by Richard J. Ussher and was based on fieldwork conducted on the island.

Critsla clear waters surrounding the island.

Go Wild Swimming

Why not enjoy refreshing Atlantic water and go for a dip on one of the islands beautiful bathing spots? There is really nothing as glorious as topping off a visit to the island by slipping into tranquil waters! Clare Island Beach is a lovely sandy beach, safe for swimming and as close to the perfect beach as you could ever hope to find. The added bonus here is the nearby Harbour overlooked by Granuaile’s castle.

Ireland’s wild swimming spots are nothing short of spectacular and the rush of adrenaline and the shock of the cold makes the whole experience something truly special. The vasodilation in the extremities also pumps out toxins, and the cold water starts a process of cold adaptation, which quickly builds your cold tolerance, make cold water feel more comfortable, and your body more healthy.

So, ditch your wetsuit, join the locals and, well, just go for it – dolphins, seabirds and spectacular views will keep you good company. If it is your first cold water dip without a wetsuit, arrive feeling really warm. Plan a brisk walk to get you there, and put on lots of warm clothes before you arrive. Once you’re in the water it takes a few minutes before the cold feeling goes away, so persevere and you’ll feel great.

Tips for staying safe:

  • Remember, if you’re swimming outdoors, be mindful of potential hazards. Don’t leap into a river after a long period of rainfall as currents can be unpredictable.
  • Never swim alone and keep a constant watch on weak swimmers
  • Never jump into water you have not thoroughly checked for depth and obstructions
  • Don’t get too cold – warm up with exercise and warm clothes before and after a swim
  • Wear footwear if you can
One of many pretty swimming spots on Clare Island.

Visit Clare Island Abbey

One of the unique places to visit on the island is the 12th Century Cistercian Abbey containing Grace O’ Malleys resting place – an ornate stone plaque in the abbey is believed to mark her burial place – and original medieval paintings on the walls and ceiling of the vaulted chancel dating back to the 14th century.

Some of the paintings include a fire-breathing serpent, animals, musicians and a double-headed eagle. Due to the deteriorating condition of the paintings, a lot of conservation work has been ongoing over the past 20 years.

It is an interesting piece of history on this beautiful island that makes you pause for a moment and reflect on the history and timelessness.

The abbey is located about 1 kilometre west of Clare Island Pier, along the coast road. It’s a very easy and enjoyable walk with breathtaking panoramic views.

Keep in mind that flash photography for obvious reasons is not allowed. It was only after I had taken a few photos that I saw a notice, on the back wall of the chancel, prohibiting any kind of photography. The sign would be better placed just inside the entrance.

Good to know – You need to get the key from the shop, which is the building just in front of the abbey as you walk up towards it, to be able to visit the abbey.

The Abbey is said to be the burial place of the infamous “pirate queen’ Grace O’Malley’s, Grainneuaile

Walk to Clare Island Lighthouse

Ireland’s coastline is dotted with dozens of lighthouses which have helped seafarers find their way for hundreds of years.

Thanks to the EU-funded Great Lighthouses of Ireland project, launched in 2015, they’ve become a tourist attraction – and several you can even stay in overnight including Clare Island Lighthouse.

After 159 years of continued service, Clare Island Lighthouse was decommissioned in 1965. Nowadays, perched on top of cliffs at the northern end of the island, the lighthouse operates as a luxury guesthouse featuring dramatic clifftop views and endless coastal walks. The property offers a wide range of accommodation from tower house and a detached cottage-like building with high timber ceilings to sauna suites. 

See the Granuaile’s castle

One of the first things you’ll see as you arrive at the little harbour on Clare Island is the large stone tower known to be the property of the famous Irish pirate queen Grace O’Malley in the 16th century. The Island was the stronghold of this remarkable 16th century O’ Malley clan chieftain who lived by her family trade of piracy and plunder.

In 1546 Grainne, who was 15 years old, married Donal O’Flaherty, son of the Clan O’Flaherty chieftain in Connemara and ally of the O’Malley. They lived at Bunowen castle on the coast near Ballyconneely, Co. Galway. When her husband was killed fighting ashore, Granuaile, aged 23 at the time, took over his castle and fighting ships. Then she returned to Mayo with many followers.

It is said that she maintained her authority on the island into old age, passed away in her seventies in 1603 and was laid to rest in the abbey on Clare Island.

Despite the passage of time, the square tower, built on 3 floors, still seems intact today.

Islands natural beauty and unique history and culture make it a highlight of any trip or holiday to the West of Ireland.

Where to stay on Clare Island

While most visitors come for the day, if it is possible, make sure to stay overnight.

Go Explore Hostel |  a family-run hostel offering en-suite bedrooms with open sea views. The hostel is located about seven minutes’ walk from the ferry from it you can see fantastic views across Clew Bay to Croagh Patrick and the Twelve Bens mountain range in Connemara.

The back room has a large fire dating from the 1840s and there’s also Sailor’s Bar & Restaurant connected to the hostel on-site offering a wide variety of excellent food on the menu.

To book your accommodation, contact Carl O’Grady:

Tel: +353 (0)98 263 07

Web: www.goexplorehostel.ie

Clare Island Lighthouse | the beautiful Clare Island lighthouse, a distinctive landmark, is now restored into a luxurious guesthouse located high on the Northern Cliffs. The only two-towered lighthouse in the country, it is also the only one to provide B&B accommodation and a six-course set evening meal to guests.

To book your accommodation, contact the lighthouse:

Tel: +353 (0)87 66 897 58

Web: www.clareislandlighthouse.com

Camping | a wallet-friendly option is Clare Island campsite which costs just €10 per night and is located right beside the pier and Sailor’s Bar. While the facilities are basic, the location and the views make up for it. Also, there are showers, a drinking water tap and toilets available.

One of many pretty views from Clare island.

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Now, over to you!

Have you been to Clare Island in County Mayo?  Let us know in the comments below!

Let us know if you are plotting a visit to Mayo and have travel-related questions.

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82 thoughts on “A Short Guide to Visiting Clare Island in County Mayo, Ireland

  1. Sorry to hear that you weren’t able to visit Croagh Patrick because of the weather, but it sounds like Clare Island was a great back-up option. I like that it’s geared more towards pedestrians rather than cars. I’m not sure how I feel about wild swimming in the cold though!! Thanks for sharing. Linda

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The Emerald Isle is fantastic for road trips, hiking, discovering castles, eating seafood and sipping on whiskey. On top of the many buzzing cities, you could also explore the natural wonders and quaint villages that make up the countryside. I hope you get to visit one day 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx


    1. There are a few famous islands of Ireland, such as the Aran Islands off the coast of Galway, as well as the Skellig Islands – largely thanks to Star Wars, which used the Skelligs as a filming location. But there are also plenty of other islands worth exploring such as Clare Island. I was delighted to catch a ferry and go someplace I haven’t been before. When it comes to wild swimming, it’s actually hugely popular in Ireland and you’ll see people of all ages swimming throughout the year. The benefits from cold-water immersion don’t just provide relief from the traumas of 2020, but the long-term effects on the body have been scientifically proven for many years. While Valters can go for a dip in January, I stop in mid-September and then take it up in June. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s always good to have a plan B 😉
    It really looks like a place of space and peace! What a beautiful nature! I wouldn’t go for a swim though 😆 firstly because I can’t swim and secondly because of the freezing water 😅 but what an adventure must be for the brave ones 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s exactly what I said about wild swimming in Ireland’s cristal clear water as my friends tried to persuade me to take a dip, but in the end, after a few sessions, I was hooked! If you’ve noticed wild swimming, open water swimming or cold-water therapy gaining lots of media attention recently, it’s because there is a good reason for it. In a year when the world has become unstable and unbalanced, people are looking for new ways to realign their physical and mental health to cope with everything that is going on. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What an amazingly long post you got from quite a remote spot. You really have explored all options thoroughly and given us an intimate portrait of what looks to be a lovely spot. I would enjoy the walking but swimming in the Atlantic? No way, even in summer, although I have a feeling that in your company I might attempt it – you are very persuasive!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you kindly. I was delighted to explore Ireland’s Islands last summer with my family. We certainly had heaps of fun along the way.

      Surrounded by 4,235 kilometres of coastline with endless open water just waiting to be discovered, Ireland is a paradise island for those who love wild swimming. Believe it or not but wild swimming is Ireland’s new craze – on any given day you can stumble upon a group of giggling women and men emerging from the ice-cold water, spluttering and chatting away as tourists and visitors look on in disbelief. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx


    1. Thank you kindly. At the mouth of Clew Bay, Clare Island is the birthplace of the feared and respected pirate queen Granuiale (Grace O’Malley in English), who ruled the waters of Clew Bay and Galway Bay for 30-odd years in the 16th century. years in the 16th century. The island was long owned by the O’Malley family, and the island features a tower house built by them. There is also a church founded by the O’Malleys – the nearby O’Malley tombs are a possible burial site of Grace O’Malley. I hope you get to visit one day! Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva


  4. Climbing Croagh Patrick would be a challenge in bad weather for sure. We hiked a short way up in 2017 and always planned to come back to finish it. Clare Island looks like a great place to visit with lots of nature and history to explore. The absence of traffic sounds nice. Thanks for sharing Aiva. Have a great week. Allan

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am glad to hear you had a chance to climb Croagh Patrick too! It’s an experience to remember even if you only manage to go halfway up! As I’ve reached the summit countless times on our preview trips around County Mayo, I was delighted to finally visit Clare Island because an island visit offers something special: a glimpse into a different life, a chance to hike incredible walking routes, to taste super-fresh seafood and to meet some of the friendliest people around. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

  5. An amazing place for sure. You have really narrated a most complete and informative post and with those photographs, who can resist not wanting to walk those loops or swim those wild places, althoug I will wait on shore as I, being a Mediterranean person, do not like cold water, LOL… But I truly enjoyed the “tour” through the island Aiva, cheers. When we travel, my family and friends, to Ireland next year, I will certainly take your posts as guide. All the best,

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you kindly, Francisco! Exploring Ireland’s Islands is one amazing and unforgettable adventure as you never know what you’ll find on an island. Wallabies roam wild on Lambay Island off the coast of Dublin; a prison-turned award-winning visitor attraction dominates County Cork’s Spike Island and on County Kerry’s Skellig Michael, the real-life setting of Luke Skywalker’s Jedi retreat in Star Wars, you’ll find a 6th-century monastic settlement and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds very inviting and thank you Aiva, you write wonderful information and I know that we will use it fully once we go there next year, God willing. Take good care and all the best.
        😊 Francis 🌹

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This is beautiful, Aiva, thanks for sharing. Your photos are lovely and you always include so much detail about what to do and where to go. One of these days, when I make it to Ireland, everything will be all planned our for me thanks to your many helpful posts 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you kindly, Diana 🙂 There’s nothing more fun than hopping on a boat and crossing waters to explore one of Ireland’s beautiful islands all while enjoying jaw-dropping scenery, seeing rare wildlife on a way to it. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a lovely island … and nice swimming spots (but I don’t know about that cold water 👀). It would be great to enjoy one of the hiking trails to explore the island (and even better with just a few cars being around).
    Great photo’s Aiva and thank you for showing Clare Island and telling us about its history … another place I have not heard of before.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you kindly! Anyone that visits Ireland, have to make sure they tick at least one of the spectacular islands off the coast of Ireland off the bucket list. They are absolute must-see favourites! 🙂

      Swimming has always been a popular sport in Ireland, but during the pandemic, the hobby of outdoor swimming has been rediscovered even more. Public swimming pools closed, and people could not travel, so they looked closer to home for opportunities to swim, creating a spike in interest and soaring club memberships. People have been taking to the seas, lakes, lochs and rivers in greater numbers than ever before as it proved to be beneficial for mental wellbeing. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. I hope all is well 🙂 Aiva xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you kindly, Maggie 🙂 Swimming and being outdoors is not just beneficial for your physical health but is also beneficial for your mental wellbeing. It’s a simple hobby with minimal gear needs plus wild swimming costs nothing and is a great mood changer. There’s no experience like it and every time is different. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean, Marie! We have been exploring Ireland for the past two decades and still find plenty of new and amazing places to visit. Can’t wait to hit the road once the weather gets better 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. I hope all is well 🙂 Aiva xx


    1. Thanks so much, Pam! I love nothing more than visiting islands and thankfully Ireland has no shortage of stunning islands dotting its entire coastline. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Marion! I am certainly planning on going back to Croagh Patrick as I love climbing mountains.

      Anyone who is looking for some unspoiled beauty to soak up during the trip to Ireland should definitely take a boat to one of its islands! Whether you are heading east, west, north, or south, I can guarantee there will be a secret island off the coast for you to explore. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s an amazing island to explore! You can climb to the top of Knockmore Mountain, visit Grace O’ Malley’s grave, or explore the medieval wall paintings at the abbey. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva


    1. Thank you, Glenys 🙂 The coastline around Ireland is scattered with hundreds of islands, from tiny, unpopulated mounds to grand, mountainous isles. While plenty of them are home to dazzling white-sand beaches (which could easily pass for a tropical scene when the sun shines), inland you’ll find a distinctly Irish charm, whether that’s from a cosy thatched pub or an ancient monastic settlement. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you kindly 🙂 Stand on the top of the sacred mountain Croagh Patrick on a clear day, and it’s said that you can see 365 islands dotted throughout Clew Bay. The largest of those is Clare Island.
      Though only a 25-minute ferry from the mainland’s western coast, this is the kind of island that feels a million miles away from the everyday world. You can rent a bike and head out to explore the island’s mountains, cliffs and bays — the swimming cove on the east of the island will take your breath away (both with its beauty and its staggeringly cold waters). Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, an island so small that you could technically walk the whole thing within a few hours! Clare Island is certainly the perfect retreat from the noise of the city, and it’s a return to the rugged wilderness. Although to be fair, I’d be extremely keen on staying at the Clare Island Lighthouse, especially with that tempting six-course meal! Looks like a pleasant time, and it’s another wonderful day of exploring your host country!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you kindly, Rebecca! Any holiday to Ireland should include at least one of its spectacular islands as life moves that little bit slower on these islands, and stress is much less than on the mainland. However, there are still many activities to do. You can visit historical sites, go cycling, horse riding or walking, take in the breathtaking scenery and spend time in the many visitor centres, and take part in local music, art, craft and walking festivals. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. I hope all is well 🙂 Aiva xx


    1. That’s so exciting! For a relatively small country, Ireland scores high in the sightseeing stakes from the elegant Georgian streets of its capital Dublin, to the more elemental and remote appeal of its further flung beauty spots and historic landmarks. Thanks for stopping by, Tiffany and let me know if you have any questions! Take care 🙂 Aiva xx


    1. Thank you kindly 🙂 There are many accessible offshore islands dotted around the Irish coast which provide plenty of walking and exploring opportunities for visitors. The islands can be accessed by various means including bridges, ferry services, tour boats, and even a cable car. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx


  9. Your traveling adventures always look so amazing. I love all these tips too. Here in Arizona when we go up north we always have to pack out our garbage and it is always sad to see piles of garbage in the middle of the woods that someone left. Also just like swimming anywhere here, it is best to take someone hiking and exploring as well. Never should be alone. We get really bad flash floods during our Monsoon seasons and some of our visitors don’t understand this so they jump in our rivers during that seasons and even though it isn’t raining in their area the storm miles away creates huge waves of flooded that ends up where they are and fast. Many people have lost their lives getting stuck in our canyons when that happens. Thank you for the beautiful photos, love seeing them too. Nature is absolutely amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comment! It may sound cliché, but caring for and preserving nature is in everyone’s hands, in our attitudes and behaviours, but it is not as easy a task as it may seem. In addition to each other’s actions and the individual commitment we acquire by protecting our closest natural environments, it is also important to remember that any type of human activity has an impact, however small, on natural ecosystems. Unfortunately, many people once they leave home and go on a trip, seem to forget about their environmental impact while travelling and sadly we’ve seen piles of trash left on beaches, forest trails and even mountains. Given that we’re losing nature like never before, protecting our planet should be on everyone’s mind. Thanks for stopping by and Happy Women’s day 🙂 Aiva


  10. Glad to see you were able to have a fine day out when your weather turned on you. That’s an interesting story about Grace O’Malley. Interestingly, I believe Queen Elizabeth I also died in 1603 (or possibly 1601 – I can never remember) and lived into her seventies. I wonder if QE1 knew about the pirate queen…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funny, you mention Queen Elizabeth I! The story goes that at the age of 56, O’Malley was captured and imprisoned by Sir Richard Bingham who was an English governor. After hearing about Bingham’s arrest of her brother and sons O’Malley petitioned the Crown for the release of her son and set sail for England. The historic meeting with Queen Elizabeth I and the ‘pirate queen’ took place at Greenwich Castle. Their conversation was carried out in English, as Grace spoke no Latin and Elizabeth spoke no Irish. The encounter was a success for Grace as Elizabeth granted each of her requests on the condition she ceased all rebellion against the crown. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

  11. It turned out a great plan B, as the pristine lands of Clare Island look so alluring.. not only the hiking opportunities, but the interesting facts about the pirate queen. She was for sure, a big character to live and keep control for so long in those tough times!!
    Have a lovely weekend🙂
    Christie, xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you kindly, Christie 🙂 While lots of people dream about visiting Ireland, few think about its numerous spectacular islands. With many offering a glimpse at Old World Ireland along with stunning scenery and much more, anyone should put at least one of the isles on their must-experience list. There are a grand total of 80 islands off the Irish shores and only 20 of them are inhabited. The islands of Ireland have much to offer and it can range from amazing scenic views to ancient ruins and new ventures that are creating opportunities amongst the islands of Ireland. Thanks for stopping by and Happy Women’s Day 🙂 Aiva xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you kindly. From Dublin, Sligo and Galway to Giant’s Causeway in Antrim, Ireland is brimming with beautiful places to escape to for a weekend break or longer, and I hope you get to explore it one day 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva


    1. Thank you kindly, Jo 🙂 We don’t really need to go to a far-flung destination – the islands around Ireland’s coast are perfect for getting away from it all 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and Happy Women’s day 🙂 Aiva xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I am glad to hear you’ve been to County Mayo and Clare Island. It may be a tiny island off the west coast of Ireland, yet its scenery is very dramatic and there is so much to see and do – the island’s rich history, a geological and biological landscape that can be explored on foot or bike. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx


  12. There is something so magical and faraway about this island! It looks so peaceful – the cove and the waters looks beautiful!

    I don’t know if I’ve talked about this before, but I think with social media, there’s this idea that travelling and exploring always means going to distant destinations and being surrounded by cultures completely different from your own, and while that is wonderful, I think we often miss out on the beauty of local travel. A couple of years ago, visiting Ireland would have meant ticking off the main touristy destinations, but through your blog, I feel like I’m getting such an in-depth and personal travelling guide across the country that I can’t imagine covering it all even in two weeks! I really, really hope I get to visit someday! For now, you’ve made me seek out lesser known places in my own country that I can travel to, and in fact, I’m actually going on my first solo trip in a week! Thank you for sharing the posts that you do, and through them, inspiring me to do new things too 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Arshia, how are you doing, sorry for missing your lovely comment! I couldn’t agree with you more! Sometimes it seems like today’s modern travellers only seek exotic countries, remote places, and unique experiences that are far far away from home. Travellers want to feel the authentic life, see it with their own eyes, capture it on cameras, and be accepted by local communities, to create a bond they can share later through our stories. But there is still something missing. It seems that many people, myself included, kind of forgot, that there is always a place where we can travel like a local. Actually, it is a place where it is not possible to get a more raw, more real, more authentic travel experience. It is our home country, our own backyard. There are so many reasons to travel locally and so many benefits of travelling in our home country, yet we rarely do it. Or when we do it, but sadly we do not consider it an adventure. Thanks for sharing your encouraging thoughts, Arshia, I am so delighted our path crossed here on the WordPress platform. Sending you lots of virtual hugs and good vibes from Ireland 🙂 Aiva xx


    1. Thank you kindly 🙂 The water was clear & warm and it was an amazing experience swimming with Croagh Patrick there in its majesty in the near distance. After a couple of hours on the beach, we climbed up to Grace O’ Malley’s Castle and made our way to the Community centre run Anchor bar for a snack which was lovely. It was at very memorable trip 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Bike hire is a great way to explore and reach the North and West sides of the island, and you’ll find the bike shop located on the island a 2-minute walk from the pier. Keep in mind that the terrain is rough in areas, with some steep hills and many potholes. We ended up walking around the island as our little one was too small for such a big cycle! As far as I know, there are no rules for equipment: I hope this helps 🙂 Take care Aiva xx


    1. I hope you get to visit Ireland one day 🙂 Ireland is a place to visit not only for its beauty and history but because of its lively atmosphere. The Irish are known worldwide for their festive celebration and the country hosts many events and festivals throughout the year. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Olivia 🙂 There are hundreds of islands dotted around the Irish coastline – although only a fraction are inhabited – and they offer the perfect escape, as long as you remember to pack your swimming togs, sweaters, windcheaters, warming hot drinks and SPF to cover all weather conditions. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva


  13. This post makes me a little homesick… It looks so familiar with the Celtic countryside and stormy water. I used to love island hopping in Scotland and the only place that was similar is Vancouver. I can’t tell if Ericeira looks more like mum or dad but you are both beautiful. K x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. In my humble opinion, island hopping has to be one of the best activities that you can do when travelling. And leaving the crowds behind to explore the little-visited islands, hills and headlands of Ireland’s west coast is an experience not to be forgotten. While there was a time when Ericeira looked like me and literally showed no similarities to her dad, she is slowly starting to get to the point where she doesn’t look like either of us. Given that we receive 50% of our DNA from each of our parents, who received 50% of theirs from each of their parents, and so on, I presume that DNA and genetics are very complex yet interesting things! Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t done enough island hopping in the States although we have plenty at the coast. I looked exactly like my Dad for many years until I suddenly evolved and look exactly like my mum. Genetics is fascinating but Ericeira is gorgeous whoever she looks like!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Aww… Thanks so much 🙂 It’s amazing how we can very much look like one of our parents or neither of them. Or how two siblings can have no similarities. My sister, for example, is tall and blond, and I am short and dark, people often wonder how we can even be sisters!

          Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh this looks like an AMAZING spot! And “wild swimming”? I’d never heard of that but WHOA! First off, on a hot day I might be inspired to get in that cold water, but just to hang out in that spot? It looks like a lovely place. So does the abbey. Awesome post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much! Clare Island was pretty much the dream place to explore. Wild swimming is something special and on the island of Ireland, the dazzling beauty of the surroundings elevates the experience to epic levels. Open water swimming has exploded in Ireland in recent years as it is a great way to build fitness while adding a dash of adventure to the mix as sea temperatures off the Irish coast would only be around 13°C – 16°C in summer. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day 🙂 Aiva


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