Clare Island (Oileán Chliara in Irish) lies off the west coast of Mayo at at the entrance to Clew Bay. It is the largest of the Mayo islands and lies about four miles off the nearest mainland point on the famous Wild Atlantic Way coastal route. There is a permanent population of 130 but this rises substantially during the summer months. The rich island history includes Neolithic and Bronze age
archaeological remains, rare medieval wall-paintings in the 14th. century abbey and the castle and burial place of the 'pirate queen' Grace O'Malley's (Grainneuaile), who died in 1603. After the Irish Famine started in 1845, the island's population of 1600 decreased by half.
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