August may feel like the home stretch, but there’s still a lot of summer left and here on Clare Island we’re making the most of it!
If you’ve never visited this gem in Clew Bay, Co. Mayo, here’s nine good reasons to consider doing so in the next few weeks.
- Bank Holiday Fun (in the sun?)
This Saturday, August 2nd, between 12 and 5pm, Clare Island Adventures will be hosting a Family Fun Day on the blue flag beach. Open to all from 8 years and over, it’s a great opportunity to try out snorkelling and kayaking, or just have fun competing in a beach challenge.
And on Sunday, August 3rd, the inaugural Clew Bay Raft Building Championships will be launched. Teams of 4 to 6 people are challenged to build a raft, under time pressure, that will sustain them as they paddle a 300 metre course. Fancy dress is encouraged, and weather permitting there’ll be music and barbecue on the beach, generating a fun party atmosphere in the lead up to Mayo v Cork at 4pm.
- Beach-based Fun & Water Safety for Kids
The first week in August is the annual water safety course for teens and younger children – a vital activity for young islanders to get involved in, and visitors are also welcome. The second week of the month sees a brand new summer camp for kids of 8 years and upwards. Also based on the blue flag beach, there will be a range of beach games and watersports activities going on, including kayaking, snorkelling, volleyball and raft-building.
Running from August 22nd to 24th, this year’s festival will focus on seafood that is native to the island: lobster, mussels, crab, pollock and mackerel, seaweed, winkles and the famous Clare Island salmon. Events will include cookery demonstrations from celebrity chef Tamasin Day Lewis, wine tastings and a seafood banquet. Definitely one for foodies to consider!
- Bard Room sessions
The Bard Room Sessions began at the Sailor’s Bar at the start of July and they are now well and truly in full flight! On weekend nights (varies between Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays) they host songwriting and musical talent from both the local and national stage. Sessions in August include Declan O’Rourke (August 9th), Ian O’Doherty (August 14th), the Maoibh Kelly Band (August 15th & 16th) and Annette Buckley (August 28th).
- Comhaltas sessions
Every Tuesday evening throughout the summer the community centre hosts comhaltas music sessions. Each night’s entertainment involves a blend of local and visiting musicians with singers and dancers demonstrating the very best of Irish music, song and dance. All are welcome to participate.
The last weekend in August features the annual Feile Ceol, which is a highlight in the island’s annual festivities. This year’s line-up includes Don Stiff (All Ireland Talent Show) & Marcus Hearnon (Senior All-Ireland Fleadh winner – flute).
An intensive yoga retreat taking place from August 23rd to 28th will look at how we feed ourselves. The focus will be on mindfulness of the body, mind and emotions, specifically exploring why, how and what we eat. This course is particularly suitable for people who want to develop a healthy, joyful relationship with food.
- The Saw Doctors
They wrote the song Meet me on Clare Island, and they walk their talk by visiting regularly. On August 30th & 31st Leo and Anto are playing at the Sailor’s Bar. These will be ticket-only gigs, with the second date added due to popular demand. It is an intimate venue, so if you’re a fan be warned and don’t waste time in booking.
- Award-winning Destination
Winner of Outsider Magazine’s Best Outdoor Escape in December 2013 and a Top 5 shortlister in the Irish Times’ Best Place to Go Wild in Ireland competition earlier this summer, Clare Island is becoming more recognised for its stunning beauty, amazing flora and fauna and abundance of adventure, cultural and heritage activities. Only twenty minutes by ferry from the mainland, it’s worth a day trip at the very least, but if you really want to explore all it has to offer an overnight is highly recommended.