The Clare Outdoor Club was founded in 1985 by a group of friends with a common interest in the outdoors and, at that time, with a particular fondness for water-based activities like canoeing, windsurfing and sailing and also, caving.
During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s hillwalking, rockclimbing and mountaineering activities were initiated and the club was elected to aspirant membership status of the Mountaineering Council of Ireland (MCI) at their AGM of 27 January 1990 and became a fully-fledged member club later that same year.
Throughout this period annual membership did not exceed 30 to 40 people.
Nevertheless the club was very active and published a fund-raising magazine in September 1991 entitled Clare Outdoors.
This contained articles on the Burren by Angela Cronin (now Rahill), Hillwalking in the Irish Hills by Phil Moloney, Canoeing (A Sport for All Seasons) by Mary Sweeney, An Ascent of Imja Tse by Pete Spelman, Caving (A Trip Down Under) by Mike Butler, Windsurfing by Eamon Cagney, Indoor Outdoor Club by Monica Coady (now Cagney), Rockclimbing, also by Pete Spelman, and Surfing in Clare by the then Chairman, Mike McGrath.
Throughout the 1990’s and into the 21st century mountaineering-based activities began to predominate although canoeing continued to flourish with as many as 14 canoeists representing the club in the Liffey Descent of 1993.
In recent times, during the last three to four seasons, rockclimbing and mountain walking have become the principal pursuits of the club with the scheduling of over 20 organised walks annually and weekly rockclimbing sessions on the crags in Ballyryan, Aillwee and Ailladie in the Burren throughout the summer.