Clare Island is a mountainous island guarding the entrance to Clew Bay located 3.5 miles off the west coast of County Mayo, Ireland. The ferry crossing from Roonagh Pier near Louisburg takes 25 minutes and it’s not unusual to encounter a school of dolphins and or a herd of seals. Clare Island is the largest (5 miles long and 3 miles wide) of the 365 islands in Clew Bay. Famous as the ancestral home of the legendary Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley, the island has a population of about 160 people; economic activities include farming, fishing and tourism with numerous other small businesses also supporting a vibrant community. The island has its own primary school and a post office. Children go to the mainland for post-primary (secondary school) education. A very prominent landmark of the island is the Clare Island Lighthouse, established by John Denis Browne, the 1st Marquess of Sligo, in 1806. After 159 years of faithful service the lighthouse was taken out of service on 28 September 1965, replaced by the modern Achillbeg Island lighthouse on the south side of Achill Island. It has since been refurbished and is now an upmarket guesthouse.