Ireland’s most southerly inhabited point, Clear Island (Oileán Chléire, also known as Cape Clear) is an isolated outpost of the Gaeltacht, which welcomes teenagers from all over the country to learn Irish during the summer, and generally reaches out to visitors, with plenty of facilities and information available. The island also holds a traditional story-telling festival, with concerts, workshops and music (wwww.capeclearstorytelling.com), over the first weekend of September. Clear describes a very rough figure-of-eight, just six kilometres square, with North Harbour, where ferries dock, and cliff-girt South Harbour almost meeting in the middle. Its landscape of steep, rolling hills of heather and pasture is crossed by narrow, hedge-lined roads and paths, affording fine views of Roaringwater Bay and of Fastnet Rock to the west in the open sea, where whales, dolphins and sharks can sometimes be spotted. The island is most famous as one of the best seabird-watching sites in Europe, with breeding colonies of black guillemots, choughs and rock doves and an important bird observatory at North Harbour (t028/39181, wwww.birdwatchireland.ie; April–Oct). Late spring and October are the best times for twitchers, who can take field courses and stay at the observatory.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Ireland features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

8 great alternative UK city breaks

8 great alternative UK city breaks

London, Edinburgh, Cardiff… These are the usual suspects when visitors are thinking about UK city breaks. But there are actually 66 other cities to be explore…

22 Feb 2017 • Greg Dickinson insert_drive_file Article
Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Solo travel can be one of the most rewarding ways to explore the world. Whether you'd rather spend it on a desert island or in a frenetic new city, here are th…

21 Dec 2016 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
12 dreamy pictures of Ireland

12 dreamy pictures of Ireland

With its remote beauty, rugged landscapes and windswept coastlines, Ireland is a photographer's dream. Here, Philip Joyce shares some of his best pictures of…

23 Aug 2016 • Philip Joyce insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month