An annual pilgrimage to Clare Island

Clare Island at the mouth of Clew Bay

Every year, we visit Clare Island primarily because it's an easy sail from our anchorage but also because there is so much to see there.  The Saw Doctors have immortalized the experienced in their song about the place:

Will you meet me on Clare Island
Summer stars are in the sky
We'll get the ferry out from Roonagh
And wave all our cares goodbye
And we'll go dancing at the ceili
We'll go kissing on the strand
Take our clothes off in the moonlight
Skinny-dipping hand in hand
And we'll start drinking in the twilight
Keep it up until the dawn
In both the bars
Because there's no guards
To take our names and send us home.

Will you meet me on Clare Island

Gettin' weary of the city
Seems so many things have changed
Let's head off for Nora Dalys home
Where she's walked
It never rained
So will you meet me on Clare Island
And if there's wild and tall white horses
And the swell rolls in the bay
I won't care if the boat can't sail
Sure we'll get home
Some other day

So will you meet me on Clare Island.

It is a romantic place with a charm all its own. Of course, it has the history and the vistas, but there is something else that's hard to put a finger on. 

It started out miserable and we wondered what we were doing
This time, we sailed out in mist and low lying cloud, about as miserable as weather gets around these parts. We thought about turning around and returning home but we had set out for an overnight and by gosh we were going to give it a shot. This was June for God's sake, and the longest day of the year.  Summer Sailstice!

Suddenly, there was blue sky over Achill Island and the sun shone on Clare Island. We were given may rays of hope for the day. Sure enough, it was soon over us and we started peeling off the layers of clothing we'd been adding since leaving home. 

Electric cable markers in the anchorage
As we approached the anchorage we saw that the moorings had been installed along with several buoys we did not remember seeing before. As we prepared to drop anchor, Alex took out the binoculars to see what the buoys were. They were warning buoys about a power cable crossing, right through the middle of the anchorage. Oh no! We couldn't anchor where the ferries manoeuvred and we couldn't anchor farther north as we knew the bottom was shale there and the holding poor. For the first time we opted to pick up a mooring. As we were the only visiting boat there, there was plenty of room even thought the moorings were fairly close together. 

The moorings are not rated for our displacement so we decided to give them a try, knowing that usually they are overspec'd.  After Alex tied us up, I backed down gently but with increasing power with the engine.  We held still without budging.  There wouldn't be much wind that night so we figured we were secure. What we would have done had the mooring not held or had there been many other boats, we don't really know.

We spent a lovely day on the island walking a new route we hadn't walked before. We walked past the island shop and abbey, then on through the commonage land. It was beautiful and we felt blessed to have the opportunity.

Crystal clear aqua waters

The bed and breakfast at the old pier

Main street

The football pitch

Welcome dog

Lazy beds where potatoes once grew

The general store

The Abbey

The mountain parting the clouds

Walking across the commonage

Aleria moored way down there

Lovely views from above

Granuaille's castle

We found the recycling

The community centre

The harbour viewed from the new pier



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