The southernmost inhabited point in Ireland, 13km (8 miles) off the mainland, Cape Clear Island has a permanent population of just a hundred residents. It is a bleak place with a rock-bound coastline and no trees to break the rush of sea wind, but it’s also starkly beautiful. In early summer, wildflowers brighten the landscape, and in October, passerine migrants, some on their way from North America and Siberia, fill the air. Seabirds are abundant during the nesting season, especially from July to September. A bird observatory is at the North Harbour, with a warden in residence from March to November. Ciarán and Mary O’Driscoll, who operate a B&B on the island (; 028/39153 or 086/366-5078), also run boat trips for bird-watchers and have a keen eye for vagrants (the avian kind). You can get to the island by ferry and explore it all at your own pace. Two companies run ferries to the island from the pier in Baltimore. Cape Clear Ferries (; 028/39159 or 41923) sails up to three times daily, depending on the time of year; call or visit their website for the schedule. The cost is around €17 adults, €7 children under 14, and €40 families. The more elaborate Fastnet Tours (; 028/39159) runs a couple of times a week from June to August, weather permitting (call for current sailing times). After visiting the island’s tiny heritage center, you’re taken out for a boat ride around Fastnet Rock, a craggy outcrop with nothing but a weather-beaten lighthouse—traditionally known as “Teardrop Island” because it was the last piece of Ireland emigrants saw on their way to America. Note that Fastnet Tours must be booked at least 3 days in advance. The cost is around €35 per person; book online for a 10% discount.