We woke up to a gorgeous day with lots of sunshine and best of all dry sneakers! Hurray! Time to go to Clare Island. We can actually see Clare Island, in the Atlantic Ocean, from the windows of our little cottage.
The drive to the Roonagh Pier was a little less than 15 minutes. Yes, very narrow roads again in case you were wondering. We took the 10.45am "True Light" ferry which is the fastest ferry to Clare Island. The ride took about 10 minutes and we were able to enjoy some beautiful scenery.
Once we arrived we stopped at an unmanned information center to pick up a map and figure out our hiking route(s). I really wanted to see the lighthouse and hoped the weather would stay nice so that we could hike all the way there.
The first historical site on our way was the Clare Island Tower House. What is really neat about it is that after reading the information on the sign you can actually push the small metal gate open and go inside. There isn't much left inside but you can see that it was 3 floors, and as soon as you enter, if you walk down a narrow hallway to the left you will see the stone steps in front of you which at some point in time lead to the 2nd and 3rd floors. You cannot climb these stairs. According the to sign it is believed that a few wooden steps connected the stone stairs to the ground floor.
After browsing the tower house, we decided to walk the "Green Route" loop before taking a break for lunch and then heading to the light house. This is an easy terrain with good views of the ocean as well as the mainland and Croagh Patrick.
Our little photographers had a great time walking and photographing various sites and things they found interesting.
On our walk, aside from gorgeous scenery we saw lots of sheep (of course), cows, and a friendly donkey. He came right up to us and did not mind being petted. Donkey's have the sweetest eyes.
As we were getting ready to find a place for our mini picnic lunch, the sky was getting covered in dark clouds and it started to rain. We picked up the pace and tried to find a sanctuary from the downpour! Thankfully, we came upon an adorable and cosy coffee shop in just minutes. If you go to Clare Island one day, you must visit Anna's coffee shop. The atmosphere is very relaxed and Michelle and Anna (sister-in-laws) are remarkably friendly and welcoming. They have a book case full of books, from travel books to children books and everything in between. They even have a few jigsaw puzzles that kept our kids entertained before the food arrived.
The food and bread are also very delicious. I am actually sad we did not have the time to try the pastries as they looked very good on other people's plates, but the skies were turning blue and we didn't want to push our luck.
After lunch, the rain passed and sunshine returned. Lots of sunshine, enough to make us sweat on our hike up to the light house!
The walk from the coffee shop to the light house is about 1.5 miles and there are some steep hills but nothing too difficult. The kids both walked the entire way up and were carried down most of the way back down.
We saw lots and lots and lots of sheep on our way up. They were completely unfazed by us going by.
We arrived at the light house and I was a bit disappointed that we could not go inside. Apparently the light house is now a bed and breakfast and it costs quite a few pretty pennies to be able to stay there. Bummer. I would have love to go in the light house and check out the views!
I did not pout for too long though because the views right outside of the light house are incredibly stunning.
The kids had lots of fun being silly and we were able to sneak a few quick snaps.
The weather remained incredibly cooperative on our hike back down. We planned to take the 4.45pm ferry back to Roonagh Pier. We saw the skies starting to turn gray again, so we kept a quick pace, and as soon as we arrived at the unmanned information center it started to pour! A few very soaked people rolled in after us to wait for the ferry's departure time.
By the time we had to get back on the ferry (within 15-20 mins) the rain was gone and sun was shining on the ocean.
After arriving home I made a quick dinner, marinated sautéed chicken breasts on top of spinach with a side of sautéed mushrooms and bell peppers. The kids had a little bit of pasta with their chicken and ate most of their veggies raw. Once again the little hikers cleared off their plates.