Cape is rich in archaeology with amazing stone walls, ancient standing stones and bronze age monuments scattered over its landscape. There is a Napoleonic Signal tower, a 5000 year-old passage grave, a 12th century Church, a 14th century O’Driscoll castle and the historic lighthouse. Saint Ciarán, the island’s patron saint is allegedly the earliest of Ireland’s four pre-Patrician saints.
North Harbour is a busy, bustling meeting point; for the island ferry, for Sean Ruas’ Restaurant incorporating the island shop, or for Cotters Bar to down a cool pint. Live entertainment can often be found in Club Chleire or Ciaran Danny Mikes and impromptu sessions of local musicians to join in with. There is a craft shop to purchase those mementos and presents made by the islanders, for those unlucky enough not to have come on holiday with you.
The harbour is often alive on warm days with the splashes from children enjoying the calm waters, and a beach when the tide retreats. The Cape Clear Heritage Centre can be found up the hill amongst spectacular views acoss the bay, with exhibition panels covering island and settlement patterns, and all the history of the island from famine and folklore to maritime and telegraphy. This is open daily in the summer, then by arrangement at other times.
The island is alive with birds and many a twitcher is seen dashing over to the island when a rarity is spotted. In late summer, extensive bird migration can be seen passing, sometimes up to 30,000 per hour! There is a bird observatory next to the harbour where courses can be booked in advance, or just to ask Steve for the identification of a rare bird.
Strolling along quiet single track roads brings the inner peace you search for when away from work, that ‘hmmm, I don’t have to think about anything’ feeling! As you walk to the still lake, the old lighthouse and craggy little inlets, spying unusual butterflies, plants and birds on the way, visit the goat farm or Mara Farm and buy some organic meat to BBQ for your dinner! Roads can be steep but the views at every step are well worth the effort. If you’re still feeling energetic why not try kayaking in South Harbour, you may even find yourself sharing the water with a seal or basking shark!