From Irish Ideas by William O'Brien, 1893

Page 38


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Clare Island, which Imperial genius has brought lower than the wretchedness of a workhouse ward, was built by nature for one of those pleasure isles which, when they are anchored off an Italian coast, are the delight of the printers of oleographs, and off the coast of Hampshire have their value per foot run as building ground. It lies outside the tourist grooves. None but an occasional yacht's crew or a shooter of blackcock on the mountains of Achill realises the grandeur of the Mayo coast scenery which forms the island's pleasure-ground. For forty miles to the north and for thirty miles to the south the shore is piled with mountains of every imaginable romantic curve and hue, with here and there a peak towering at the very water's edge, its sea-face a mere massy ocean cliff dropping down sheer fifteen hundred feet into the foam. The ocean-front of Clare Island is just such a mountain-cliff. The eagles, and the eagles alone, can find a foothold overhead, and the base is scooped out into ocean-caves where the storms forge their thunder on winter nights, and the seals hold their uncanny parliament when the waves are in their summer sleep. The island has its proud story as well as its jewel-house of scenery. It was an independent principality up to Elizabeth's day. Its Princess, Granu Uaile, who paid … continue reading »

[1] Published in the Speaker, May 7, 1892.

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