Heritage & History

Islanders are exceptionally proud of their rich heritage and history. Glimpses of Clare Island’s intriguing past are evident at every turn; across the island there are traces of past generations everywhere.


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    Today Today

    Today

Today

Clare Island boasts a rich cultural heritage witnessed through its many craftspeople, artists, musicians and dancers.  Island traditions such as basket weaving, currach making and traditional farming are still observed. Young an old are accomplished […]

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    The New Survey The New Survey

    The New Survey

The New Survey

The New Survey of Clare Island was commissioned in 1991 to revisit the island with the overall aim of assessing the changes to the environment and life on the island and make comparisons between results […]

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    The Clare Island Survey – 20th Century The Clare Island Survey – 20th Century

    The Clare Island Survey – 20th Century

The Clare Island Survey – 20th Century

Clare Island has been much studied. The biological survey of Clare Island (1909-1911) was the first of its kind ever conducted in the world. In fact, even today it is still the principal survey in […]

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    The Great Famine – 19th Century The Great Famine – 19th Century

    The Great Famine – 19th Century

The Great Famine – 19th Century

Clare Island has a long history of habitation dating back to, at least, 3500 B.C. Pre the Great Irish Potato Famine (1845 – 1852) the island’s population peaked at 1700 in 1841. The famine brought […]

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    The Lighthouse – 19th Century The Lighthouse – 19th Century

    The Lighthouse – 19th Century

The Lighthouse – 19th Century

Clare Island Lighthouse is sited on the most northerly point of the island, high on the cliffs. Built in 1806 by the Marquis of Sligo, the lighthouse did its duty for seven years until a […]

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    The Napoleonic Signal Tower – 19th Century The Napoleonic Signal Tower – 19th Century

    The Napoleonic Signal Tower – 19th Century

The Napoleonic Signal Tower – 19th Century

At the western point of Clare Island, at Tuar Mor, lie the ruins of a signal tower, built in 1804, as an answer to the impending threat of a Napoleonic invasion during the Napoleonic Wars (18 […]

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    Grace O’ Malley (Granuaile) – 16th Century Grace O’ Malley (Granuaile) – 16th Century

    Grace O’ Malley (Granuaile) – 16th Century

Grace O’ Malley (Granuaile) – 16th Century

Clare Island was the stronghold of the Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley (Granuaile) who lived by her family trade of piracy and plunder. Born in 1530 Grace O’Malley was thought to be baptized, married and buried […]

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    The Abbey – 12th Century The Abbey – 12th Century

    The Abbey – 12th Century

The Abbey – 12th Century

The 12th century Saint Bridget`s Abbey is a cell of the Cistercian Abbey in Abbeyknockmoy, Co. Galway. Clare Island’s Abbey is said to date from the 12th Century, though it was rebuilt around 1460. It […]

  • fulacht fiadh Clare Island
    The Bronze Age – 2500BC – 500BC The Bronze Age – 2500BC – 500BC

    The Bronze Age – 2500BC – 500BC

The Bronze Age – 2500BC – 500BC

A megalithic tomb, ten promontory forts, iron – age huts and field systems and over 45 fulachta fiadh (bronze age cooking sites) are readily accessible to those seeking to view first hand our rich archaeological […]