Cape Clear island, West Cork

Cape Clear island, West Cork, originally uploaded by FasterDix.

Cape Clear Island (official name: Cléire and sometimes also referred to in Irish as ‘Oileán Chléire’) lies south west of County Cork in Ireland. It is the southernmost inhabited part of Ireland and has a population of over 100 people. It is a Gaeltacht (Irish speaking area).

The island is divided into east and west halves by an isthmus. Ferries sail from the North Harbour to Schull and Baltimore on the mainland. The South Harbour is a popular berth for yachts.

The island is known as the birthplace of Saint Ciarán, for the Dún an Óir fort, and for its birdlife, including Black and Common Guillemots, Cormorants and storm petrels. Seals, basking sharks and dolphins are found in the surrounding water, while sea pinks and honeysuckle are common plants on the land.

Cape Clear is home to a lighthouse and a bird observatory.

The island has a primary school which was built in 1897. In 1998 Irish President Mary McAleese visited it.

Every first weekend of September, Cape hosts the Cape Clear Island International Storytelling Festival, which has been running annually since 1994. The festival features professional international storytellers from all over the world.

Cape Clear is divided into several townlands.

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