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Coasteering on Clare Island



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Combine swimming, climbing and rock jumping and what have you got? Coasteering. We brave the  elements of idyllic Clare Island in County Mayo to find out why this dynamic activity is so appealing.

From the top of a 30-foot sea stack, the Atlantic in all her glory stretches out around us below a cotton wool sky. It’s known as the ‘Bird’s Nest’ thanks to the grass that grows on its top, dancing and waving in the breeze.

Take a few deep breaths and jump. Let rip a roar before blasting into the sea. The light disappears, a storm of water and bubbles surges past. Then the blackness recedes and you surface into the light, grinning. 

 
 
Take a few deep breaths and jump
 

 

Whilst coasteering off the rugged coast of tiny Clare Island in County Mayo, you’ll explore a section of coastline through a combination of swimming, clambering along the rocks and jumping clean off into the sea. You’ll be getting to know part of the Wild Atlantic Way up-close-and-personal as you grapple hand and foot with its jagged surfaces and burst through its rough ocean waves. It’s a wildly physical way to get to know this coast - a full-body experience to exhilarate the senses.

 
  • Make a splash on Clare Island
 

 

Clare Island Adventures, a local collective, makes visiting and experiencing everything that the island has to offer easy by organising transport to the island, accommodation, and all your adventure activities. The collective is made up of the Clare Island Ferry Company, Adventure West and Go Explore Hostel/Sailor’s Bar & Restaurant. The smart and comfortable hostel boasts huge views over Clew Bay, and owner and island native Carl O’Grady dishes up a feast of delicious locally-sourced fish and a few drinks before a good night’s sleep and the activities to come.

Qualified guides for all the activities are provided by Clare Island Adventures, in addition to all the gear for both comfort and safety: helmets, buoyancy aids and wetsuits – sometimes two each for extra warmth. Although water temperatures average around 10° Celsius, it’s surprisingly easy to forget the cold as the stunning scenery of the west of Ireland pans out ahead.

Soft lines of grey, blue, purple and green run from Achill Island to Croagh Patrick. Delicate white terns fold their wings atop the lapping water, gulls wheel overhead, disturbed by their strange new amphibious neighbours, and curious seals nose about the waves. 

 
 

One of the most stunning highlights of the trip is visiting the sea caves.

 

 

As you clamber up the rocks to leap into the sea, guides keep a watchful eye as the jumps increase in height, reassuring adventurers that there’s no pressure to jump. On Clare Island, which is ‘exceptionally safe’, all the routes are carefully scouted, and the team uses a tide chart to determine the best time for particular jumps. A discreet emphasis on safety is clear from the get-go, and guides come prepared with bivvy bags, a survival tent, hot drinks, a first aid kit and a throw line in case anyone gets into difficulty in the water.

Coasteering along the Wild Atlantic Way is without doubt an adrenaline-fuelled pursuit, but it isn’t all bellowing adventurers hurling themselves from great heights. One of the most stunning highlights of the trip is visiting the sea caves. In the ethereal darkness, the sunlight plays tricks through the crystal clear green water and lonely caverns extend deep into the cliffsides, offering peace and reflection. 

And if you'd like to combine some Clare Island thrill-seeking with meeting new people, the island hosts a Singles Adventure Weekend every September, too.

 

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Don't miss out, book your Wild Atlantic Way island experience now!


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