Oileán Chléire / Cape Clear
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South Harbour, Cape Clear (Photo: Trish Punch)
Cape Clear (Oileán Chléire) lies 12 km off the southwest coast of Ireland, in the mouth of Roaringwater Bay. Irish is spoken on Chléire, and it is the most southerly Gaeltacht area. Indeed, Cape Clear is the most southerly inhabited part of Ireland. About 120 people live on the island year round. The island is 4.5 km long and, at its broadest, less than 2 km wide. The island has a long association with birdwatching, for its location at the extreme south-west of Ireland makes it an ideal location for watching and studying bird migration. Spring and autumn sometimes sees large influxes of songbirds moving to and from their breeding ground, and most years rare vagrants from Siberia and America are seen.
In addition, Cape Clear is one of the best places in Europe to watch seabird migration in late summer. A bird observatory has operated on Cape Clear since 1959. Cetaceans, basking sharks, sunfish and leather back turtles are all to be seen, sometimes in good numbers. Cape Clear is the kind of place where anything could turn up! The island is predominately peat and heath vegetation with rocky outcrops and improved grassland. But it is also regarded as a “botanical hotspot” due to the large number of plants found in such a small area, including several rare species. The largest freshwater body is the 4.5 ha Lough Errul, and there are also low-lying marshy areas.
For further information and to book accommodation see http://www.capeclearisland.ie/index
Details of the programme of events will be announced shortly.