Cape Clear Island Archive / Cartlann Chléire

Cartlann Chléire / Cape Clear Island Archive contains documentation compiled since 1976 by Dr. Éamon Lankford about aspects of Cape Clear island history, culture and heritage. That collection is titled The Lankford Cape Clear Collection to distinguish the work of the compiler from a number of collections of documentation and photographs compiled and donated by others. The archive will welcome the donation of Cape Clear island related documentation at any time in the future. Email:

The Cape Clear Island Archive is currently housed in the Cape Clear Island Museum & Heritage Centre. Some 80 hardcopy bound volumes on a wide range of subjects make up the Lankford Cape Clear Collection as well as a comprehensive collection of documentation catalogued into 55 catagories of data presented in document wallets and 60 archive boxes. Among the various collections are: The Fastnet Collection; The O Driscoll Collection; Island Genealogy Collection; Chuck Kruger Papers and Photo Collection. All documentation is being catalogued and presented in archive boxes, an inventory for which is being prepared. A database of the entire collection will be provided for the archivist / librarian of the future. For a listing of categories of data in the Cape Clear Island archive click here

A selecting of documentation relating to Cape Clear island is to be preserved at Cork County Library, Carrigrohane Road, Cork and at Cork City and County Archive, Great William O Brien Street, Cork Ireland. Among other collections at Cape Clear Archive are the following:

The Fastnet Collection

As is widely known the biennial flagship Fastnet Yacht Race event leaves Cowes, Isle of Wight and sails past Cape Clear island, Co. Cork and around the nearby Fastnet Rock and back to Plymouth. This great sailing event, which engages up to 3000 participants and usually, gets extensive media attention with articles appearing in newspapers, sailing magazines and journals. TV and radio sports channels worldwide cover this major sporting event. The Fastnet Collection contains a considerable amount of documentation relating to the 1979 tragic Fastnet Race. Other volumes contain material relating to the building of the Fastnet Lighthouse and other West Cork lighthouses.

The Cape Clear Archive invites the submission of documentation of any kind relating to the 1979 Fastnet Race or the race of any other year. Memories, poems, photographs, newspaper accounts, tape recordings, personal accounts, video and film material will be welcome for inclusion in the Fastnet Collection at Cape Clear Archive at any time into the future. In 2004, Cape Clear Island Museum organized the International 1979 Fastnet Race Remembrance Ceremony on the 25th anniversary of the tragic race. In 2019 the museum and island community held commemorative events on the 40th Anniversary.

O Driscoll Collection

As Cape Clear Island is the heart of the territory which was held by the O Driscoll’s for centuries down the years after the Battle of Kinsale, 1601, the Island Archive has a particular interest in hearing from all who are related to Clann Ó Drisceoil (O Driscoll Family Worldwide).

The O Driscoll Memorial Archive founded in 2013 by Éamon Lankford is also housed at the island museum. As of 2020 it has 35 bound volumes of O Driscoll related data and some 400 documents, donated by members of the worldwide O Driscoll Diaspora. The volumes and donated submissions of family accounts is collectively called The O Driscoll Collection. The gathering of the O Driscoll Story of the past and particularly the story of the current generation of the O Driscoll Diaspora is an on-going work in progress initiative by Éamon Lankford,

The archive invites the submission of O Driscoll related family histories, genealogies, and career profiles for inclusion in a volume of The O Driscoll Collection. Anyone may, at anytime in the future submit information about people having any form of the name Driscoll, Ó Drisceoil, Driskill, Driskell etc. who lived at any time in any place in the world. For further details on The O Driscoll Collection see Email:

As there are many people named O Driscoll on the islands around West Cork and further afield, all who are members of the world extended O Driscoll family are invited to have their family story preserved for posterity in their Irish ancestral homeland. Please donate a copy of your family story, including data you may have uploaded to the internet, Driscoll documentation of any kind, genealogy and history to the O Driscoll Memorial Archive, Cape Clear Island, Co. Cork, Ireland.

Island Genealogy Collection

In 1975 Éamon Lankford began a townland by townland collection and mapping of placenames initiative at Cape Clear recording the location of 2200 names of places and features in the landscape of the island and surrounding coastline. During years of engagement with the community he also orally recorded the lore attached to placenames, which had reference to family names and the genealogy of former generations of islanders. This led to a comprehensive record of family genealogy being compiled from an older generation of islanders long since gone to their reward. This collection has been considerably added to with the transcription and copying of much state, church, published and unpublished genealogical material. It is hoped in the next few years to have others on the island see to the care and permanent preservation of this valuable data. Meanwhile, it has to remain a private archive.

All who have either Cape Clear & Sherkin island family and genealogical connections or who may have documentation of any kind that relates to Cape Clear, Sherkin and other West Cork islands are invited to contact the Archive Director, Éamon Lankford should they be willing to donate documentation (or a copy of documentation) or provide genealogical information about themselves and their ancestors. All documentation donated will be acknowledged and preserved in their name at Cape Clear Island Archive, Co. Cork, Ireland.

To assist you in compiling an account of your Cape Clear Island / Sherkin Island ancestors for inclusion in the Cape Clear Archive download a copy of the Family Tree Form below and send it along with some of your family history, memories and lore to:

Download the file here

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