CAPE CLEAR, Ireland’s southernmost inhabited Gaeltacht island, 3 miles long by 1 mile wide, lies 8 miles off the coast of West Cork. 3 miles west of the island stands the solitary Fastnet Rock. Saint Ciarán, the island’s patron saint, allegedly the earliest of Ireland’s four pre-Patrician saints, was born on Cape Clear. Saint Ciarán's well is one of the first features you encounter on arrival at Trá Chiaráin where the Islanders gather each year on the 5th of March to celebrate his feast day.
To the northwest stretches Mizen Head, the mainland’s most southerly point. Cape Clear’s wild romantic scenery, its sparkling harbours, its cliffs, bogs and lake, all contribute to the island’s unspoilt charm. Heather, gorse and wild flowers cover the rugged hills.
Myriad stonewalls have a patchwork effect on the varied landscape. Megalithic standing stones, a 5000 year-old passage grave, a 12th century church ruin, the 14th century O’Driscoll castle, (cannonaded in the early 1600’s), all relate to times past. Cape Clear’s remote island location, coupled with its proximity to the continental shelf, makes it the foremost centre for bird watching in Ireland. Whales, leatherback turtles, sun fish, dolphins and sharks are spotted regularly every year. Most of the 120 inhabitants speak Irish and English. Removed from the hustle and bustle of mainland life, Cape Clear offers relaxation, nature and peace. It is an excellent setting for Cape’s two irish summer colleges.
June through August, Cape Clear is festive. Over 400 Irish Summer College students come to perfect their Irish and participate in outdoor games and activities. Day-trippers can stroll to the lake, to the Old Lighthouse and to the Heritage Centre. Yachts ply in and out of the two main harbours, colourfully crowding them during regatta days. Holiday-making families arrive with canoes, fishing gear. Scuba divers prowl old wrecks and precipitous reefs. The lively pubs have frequent formal and informal sessions, many aficionados bringing their instruments.
Would you like to join this island community?
The following is a list of good reasons to join us and we would love to welcome families with young children, and people interested in the island experience to Oileán Chléire.
· You will be welcomed with a true and spirited Céad Míle Fáilte.
· High Quality rental accommodation.
· An excellent two – teacher all Irish National School ( See results on the Dept. Of Education Web site.)
· A busy pre-school and after- school childcare facility.
· Full time Public Health nurse.
· First class Ferry services.
· Catholic Church.
· An active island Co-Op.
· High speed Broad Band service.
* Two Irish Language Summer Colleges.
* Bird Observatory.
* Translating services.
* Crime free.
* Rural Bus service. (including school service)
* Bord Fáilte approved Camp Site.
* Library service with free internet access for members.
Cape Clear is a magical, safe and healthy place to raise children. Think “To School Through the Fields”; strolling along the road picking wild flowers or down at the beach making ripples in the water with little stones. Cape is a haven for writers and multi- disciplinary artists. If you would like to take a year out from the maddening crowd to enjoy some special time for you and your family, as a number of families have done over the years, come join us.
If what you have read has interested you, why not start the ball rolling by contacting us using this form.