The Clare Island experience begins at Roonagh Pier, just beyond Louisburgh where a ferry takes you to the island. The trip across satisfyingly long (20 minutes) and choppy enough to provide a sense of adventure from the outset, and if the wind is against you, gives the feeling of battling against the elements.
Grace O’Malley or Granuaile, the so-called ‘Pirate Queen of Mayo’ owned several castles around the
coast, including two which are relatively intact: Rockfleet and Kildavnet.
You could say that the ferry from Roonagh Quay to Clare Island departs from dock 9 ¾. It is actually a small pier, quite unassuming, but from which you reach an amazing place, so much so that the 25-minute trip that separates the mainland from Clare Island seems too short, a destination so beautiful merits a long and arduous journey like in the novels. Clare Island is the largest of the 365 islands that make up the archipelago of Clew Bay - one for each day of the year according to the legend.
The ancient amphitheatres were built in the form of an incomplete circle, the opening of which was occupied by the stage, the centre of attention and connection point between the two ends of the tiers. Clew Bay inspires this exact same feeling: the city surrounding it, in place of the amphitheatre, holding hands, all eyes turning toward the ocean that winds between the many islands of the basin (365 in fact, just like the days in the year according to legend), as if in a common connection.
Clew Bay, (Cuan Mó) is the large bay in south Mayo punctuated by Achill Island to the north and towns like Mulranny, Newport, Westport, Murrisk, Lecanvey and Louisburgh, with Clare Island like a giant humpback whale, guarding the bay from the wilds of the Atlantic Ocean.
Clare Island and Inishturk can be easily reached by regular ferry from Roonagh Pier, near Louisburgh and the boat journey is part of the adventure.