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Cape Clear

Cape Clear, or often just 'Cape', is the common name for Clear Island. Strictly speaking, the actual cape is the bold promontory at its southwestern tip. Anyone with the slightest sense of adventure will enjoy a trip to this Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) island of Oilean Chléire which is the most southerly inhabited land in Ireland. The trip from Baltimore takes only 40 minutes and you get a splendid view of the rugged coastline along the way and, if you are lucky, of some whales or dolphins. You are greeted by steep hillsides covered with heather, gorse and wild flowers, sparkling harbours and spectacular cliffs before the ferry slides into the narrow entrance of Trá Chiaráin, or North Harbour.

Dún an Óir castle

The 170 or so 'Capers' have have managed to maintain the difficult balance between the best features of modern living and traditional culture and values. The island has a restaurant, shop and pubs. Cape Clear is a byword among birdwatchers and is the location of an internationally renowned bird observatory. St Kieran's Church, dating from around the 12th century, stands near the harbour and there are a number of prehistoric sites around the island. On the northwestern flank lies the ruined O'Driscoll castle of Dún an Óir (fort of gold). It's a steep climb from the harbour up to the old lighthouse and signal station, but the view from the top is breathtaking.

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