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 Ireland and Britain. The Clare Island Survey was a multidisciplinary (zoological, botanical, archaeological, and geological) survey. The antiquarian approach of the past survey paved a path for the present surveys.

Under the auspices of Robert Lloyd Praeger the first Clare Island survey (1909-1911) followed a similar survey that was executed on Lambay Island in 1905 and 1906. Without Robert Lloyd Praeger’s various skills in archaeology, quaternary geology, marine biology and botany the multidisciplinary study of 1909-1911 would not have been successfully completed. In April 1908 a committee was especially established consisting of prominent characters such as R.F. Scharff, R.L. Praeger, R.M. Barrington, G.A.J. Cole, N. Colgan and W.H. Lett. The era in which this committee was created has been described as the “golden age of Irish natural history studies. Indeed, the onset of the 20th Century witnessed an unbiased approach from amateurs and professionals alike, endeavouring to discover some of the curiosities of the natural environment.

The results were published both as A Biological Survey of Clare Island in the County of Mayo, Ireland and of the Adjoining District. Parts 1-68 (part 8 was never published) Dublin Hodges, Figgis, & Co., Ltd., for the Royal Irish Academy, 1911-1915.:The sections are Introduction, Archaeology, Irish Names, Agriculture, Climatology, Geology, Botany, Zoology and as separate parts in the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy.