ireland

Where we are
Clare Island is situated at the entrance of Clew Bay in County Mayo. The nearest town is Westport, 14 miles from Roonagh Pier where the ferries to the island operate.
The boat crossing from Roonagh pier to the island takes about 20 minutes.
Macalla Farm is on the lighthouse road, about 30 minutes walk from the harbour.

Important information if you are doing a course or retreat at the farm
When we confirm your booking onto one of our retreats or residential courses, we will let you know which ferry you should take on the first day of the course.  As long as you take the designated ferry, the boat fare is included in the course fee and we will organise your transfer to the farm from the harbour on the island. If you take another ferry, please let us know by text or phone. Also make sure that you are on the right boat, the ferry for Inishturk also leaves from Roonagh quay, and may be at the same time.
Note that if for whatever reason you arrive on the island with an earlier or later ferry, you will have to make  your own arrangements for travel and (if need be) accommodation (see clareisland.ie or the Useful contact tab below for help).

As you are coming to an island, make sure you allow plenty of time to make your travel connections and, if you are travelling from abroad, try to arrive in Ireland the day before the course. This is imperative for our winter courses, as the evening sailing may be rescheduled due to weather and tide conditions.  During the summer, disruptions to the island’s ferry service are rare, but a comfortable and stress-free travel itinerary is still highly recommended!

Coming to Macalla Farm…

If you are flying, the nearest airports are Dublin and Knock Ireland West.

From Dublin airport, you must  travel by train or bus to Westport. See the by public transport tab for more information on travelling to Westport from the airport.

Knock airport is less than an hour from Westport and there are relatively good bus connections which facilitate most flights from the UK. See the by public transport tab for times. Expect to pay around €70 for a taxi. For short courses, it might even make sense to rent a car from Knock airport or if you want to do some sightseeing before or after coming to the island.

Ferries are great for a slower journey from the UK or France, and the costs are about the same – though the stress and environmental impacts are much lower! Ferries to Dublin or Dun Laoghaire (a few miles south of Dublin) can be taken from Holyhead (UK).  For those coming from the UK who don’t wish to fly, a Sail Rail ticket is a great deal. Find out more about Sail Rail and connecting transport at Seat 61.

There are also ferry services from Scotland to Belfast, from South Wales to Rosslare, and from France to Rosslare, Dublin or Cork.

There are good bus and train connections to Westport. Getthere.ie is a good site to help you plan your journey.

There are direct buses from Dublin Airport to Dublin Heuston train station (called Airlink, route 747 – this journey takes about an hour).

The train from Dublin to Westport leaves from Dublin Heuston station and takes around 3.5 hours. To arrive in Westport in time you will need to take the lunch time train. Ireland’s train travel website is IrishRail. Note that if you are planning to travel by train, it is far cheaper to book your journey online at IrishRail.ie in advance, rather than buying your ticket at the station on the day.

There are also bus connections from Dublin, Galway, Sligo and Knock airport. See the Bus Eirean website for more information.

If coming by bus or train you need to be in Westport by 4.00pm. For scheduled retreats and courses, we will try to put you in touch with another course participant who can give you a lift from Westport, or if numbers warrant, we will organise a shared minibus (expect to pay between 10 and 15 euros depending on numbers).

If you need your own taxi, expect to pay around 35 euros for the run from Westport to Roonagh Pier. To arrange a taxi yourself, ring Michael O’Hare, 087.2202123 or Noel Staunton, 098.28856 and mention you are staying with us on Clare Island.

Roonagh Pier is the harbour serving Clare Island. Here there is a large car park where you will leave your car (as it is not practical to take it to the island on the ferry). The car park is safe, with CCTV cameras, and is used by islanders. If you are driving, please let us know on the booking form if you are willing to give another course participant a lift (car share).

To plan your route to Westport go to AA Ireland.
Note that in the summer, there can be serious traffic bottlenecks in Westport, so allow plenty of time to go through the town!

From Westport take the coast road to Louisburgh (R335, 10 miles) and drive straight through Louisburgh. About a quarter of a mile after the village, just after the Nomadic Display factory on the right, take a right turn to Roonagh (the road is clearly signposted for Roonagh Pier and Clare Island.) It is a further 4 miles to the pier. Allow 40 minutes from Westport to Roonagh.

Because of the changeable climate of the west of Ireland, be sure to bring adequate rain gear as well as warm clothing. Clare Island provides wonderful terrain for hill walking, so bring sturdy waterproof walking boots.

Please bring your yoga mat if you have one (if not, you can borrow one from us).

We do not supply towels, so please bring your own.

A torch with spare batteries is useful on moonless nights, (during the off season, a torch is necessary as the centre is a minute’s walk from the accommodation and the path is unlit).

Of course, a camera is always a good idea. Sun glasses, sun cream and swimming clothes may occasionally be needed! On some courses, a notebook and a pen will be very useful to take notes during or after the classes.

Important: Make sure you bring an adequate amount of cash (especially if you haven’t paid us in full, or if the teaching on the course you are doing is on donation), as there are no banks or ATMs on the island.
Please do not bring alcoholic beverages with you on a retreat: Macalla Farm is an alcohol free zone.

As is the nature of island living, we are sometimes at the mercy of the weather when it comes to making travel and retreat arrangements! Occasionally this may mean leaving for the course a day early, or arriving a day later. For many this is all part of the adventure and unique experience of an island getaway.

In the winter, it is not possible to travel to the island by public transport in one day from abroad, as the last boat leaves Roonagh before the afternoon train arrives from Dublin, so you will have to stay overnight in Dublin or Westport. (Westport is a better option, as it is a lot cheaper and quieter), see the useful contacts tab for help.

Taxi from Westport:
Noel Staunton: 098 28856
Michael O’Hare: 087 2202123
Michael Foy 087 2428338

Taxi on the island:
Bridget O’Leary: 086 2228478

Ferries to the island:
O’Grady’s (Clare Island Ferry Co.): 087 9004115 / 086 8515003
O Malley’s ferries: 086 8870814 / 087 6600409

Accommodation in Westport:
Old Mill Hostel: 098 27045
Westwood B&B (near the train station): 098 25520
Wyatt Hotel: 098 25027
Mill Times Hotel: 098 29200