Clare Island Lighthouse
A visit to Clare Island Lighthouse is an adventure and a treat all rolled into one.
Leave your car behind at Roonagh Pier on the Mayo mainland and journey across the water for a serene slice of life on Clare Island.
Clare Island lighthouse and its buildings have been restored and transformed into a luxury guesthouse, this makes the lighthouse the perfect place to relax and unwind. Discover the wealth of activity the island has to offer – walking, cycling, fishing, music and crafts, to name just a few.
A quick history
- The original lighthouse was built in 1806 by the Marquis of Sligo, on the isolated northern tip of Clare Island. Seven years later it was destroyed by fire due to the lighthouse keeper throwing ‘the snuffings’ of the wicks of candles into a tub which caught fire.
- The new lighthouse tower was built toward the end of 1818.
- Clare Island Lighthouse was decommissioned in 1965 after an astonishing 159 years of service.
Did you know?
- The family of legendary pirate queen Grace O’Malley owned Clare Island during the Middle Ages. The ruins of a tower house by the island’s harbour is known locally as Grace O’Malley’s Castle.
- The remains of an ancient Cistercian abbey known as St Brigid’s lie on the southern side of Clare Island. Many of the O’Malley clan are buried there, and according to legend, even Grace O’Malley herself.
- Clare Island Lighthouse had an incandescent light which flashed every 5 seconds at a range of 23 nautical miles until its closure at 7:45am on 29th September, 1965.
- The Commissioners of Irish Lights operate 65 lighthouses around the coast of Ireland, all of which continue to provide a vital role in maritime safety today.