Clare Island – Oileán Chliara

Clare Island lies 5 km off the west coast of Mayo at the entrance to majestic Clew Bay. It is 7 km long and, at its broadest, 5 km wide, and rises to a height of 462 metres at Knockmore. The island is a mix of semi-natural and improved grassland, maritime sward and heath and precipitous cliffs along the north shore, up to 100m in places.

Clare Island (Trish Punch) resize
Clare Island (Photo: Trish Punch)

Clare Island supports one of the most important seabird colonies in Ireland. At least 13 species of seabird breed here, including over 4,000 fulmar, which is about 12% of the national population for this species. Puffin, Gannet, Chough and Peregrine also breed here.

This is a remarkable island, with a long association with natural history. A biodiversity baseline survey, The Clare Island Survey (1909 – 1911), was undertaken at the start of the 20th Century. Lead by the renowned Robert Lloyd Praeger, it was a world leading multidisciplinary (zoological, botanical, archaeological, and geological) survey of its time. The results of this painstakingly detailed study of the island was published by the Royal Irish Academy and serves as a benchmark of the heritage of the island. Recently the New Clare Island Survey was undertaken to assess the environmental changes that have taken place on Clare Island over the intervening hundred years. The Island BioBlitz will add to this knowledge base and continue the long tradition of biological inventory on Clare Island.

Ours records show that already 918 species have been recorded for Clare Island, details of which can be downloaded here: download Clare Island species list

If you would like to assist with the biological recording please contact [email protected]

For further information and details of accommodation see 

Island Wildlife Festival programme

Clare Island – Island Wildlife Festival

Friday 10th June

11:30 – 12:30hrs          Guided ramble through island flora – Donal Synnott

13:00 – 14:00hrs          Tour of Macalla Farm: Retreat Centre and Organic Farm

19:00hrs          Island BioBlitz registration at Base Camp – Go Explore Hostel

Saturday 11th June

10:00 – 11:00hrs          Bogland Ecology: carnivours plants to alpine flowers – Dr. Heather Lally

11:30 – 12:00hrs          Island BioBlitz launch at Base Camp: Ciara Cullen & Liam Lysaght

12:00 – 13:00hrs          Botanical walk: Beach to Bog – Donal Synnott

14:00 – 15:00hrs          Introduction to seaweed identification – Robert Wilkes (EPA)

15:00 – 16:00hrs          Archaeological Tour: 5,000 years of human habitation – Ciara Cullen

16:00 – 17:00hrs          Insect identification walk

18:00 – 19:00hrs          Wildlife walk – Colin Heaslip

20:00 – 20:30hrs          New Clare Island Surveys: Past, present & future – Donal Synnott

22:00 – 23:00hrs          Bat walk – Harm Deenan (Bat Conservation Ireland)

23:00 – 00:00hrs           Stargazing: constellations, planets, campfires and marshmallows

Sunday 12th June

06:00 – 07:00hrs          Early morning bird walk – Liam Lysaght

08:00 – 10:00hrs          Opening of moth traps – Ken Bond

10:00 – 11:00hrs         Kids beachcombing and Found Art workshop

12:00hrs          Island BioBlitz –  finishes

12:30hrs          Island BioBlitz – winners announced

13:00hrs          Farewell Soiree and Traditional Music Session

The National Biodiversity Data Centre is an Initiative of the Heritage Council and is operated under a service level agreement by Compass Informatics. The data centre is funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Heritage Council.
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