This spectacular part of the West of Ireland, right on the edge of Europe, was the subject of a fascinating talk in Galway this week by a man called Michael Cusack, who moved there after living in the United States for 27 years.
Michael believes you are really missing out if you don’t get to visit the 142 beautiful islands of Clew Bay at least once in your life.
He has written a new book about the amazing history of this place which is located less than two hours by car north of Galway City and GCI!
A well-travelled man with a keen interest in folk history, the art of telling a story, and the beauty of one of Ireland’s least-known unspoilt treasures, Michael has just written a book about his love for Croagh Patrick and the 142 named islands of Clew Bay.
Many students at GCI are taken aback by the stunning beauty of the Cliffs of Moher and Connemara, but Michael believes they are missing out if they don’t check out the truly unspoilt paradise on the western shores of Co Mayo.
Five years after moving home from the United States, he loves the place, not just for the spectacular scenery, but the friendliness of the people and the wonderful traditional music in the pubs.
“If you are willing to put up with rain or the wind, I have to say that the quality of life in the West of Ireland is better in so many ways - not least because the people are genuinely friendly.”
Michael realized a dream this week when he launched a new book entitled ‘Croagh Patrick and The Islands of Clew Bay’. It’s a look at the legends and folklore of this beautiful place, but also a social history of an area that was decimated by the Great Famine and waves of emigration to North America.
“Clew Bay has 142 islands and it’s the only part of Ireland that has this particular type of drumlins. We have boat cruises that go out from Newport and Westport. It really is one of the most beautiful places in the world, I think, when you can look out at Croagh Patrick to the south or the Nephin mountains to the north,” he says.
“If you climb Croagh Patrick on a clear day, there really are no better views anywhere in the world. And now I am lucky enough to be able to guide people who want to climb ‘The Reek’, as everyone here refers to the mountain, or to bring them on boat or cycling tours.”