Some of the best sources for historical information on East Clare can be found in the following links:
East Clare Heritage Centre
East Clare Heritage Centre
Tel: 00353 61 921351
Open Monday - Friday all year round. East Clare is home to St. Cronan's church at Tuamgraney the oldest church in continuous use in Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. It was built prior to 964 AD. The doorway through which the legendary King of Ireland, Brian Boru, entered over 1000 years ago is still intact. The building houses a heritage centre and folk museum. Clare Celtic Traditions, every Monday night at 8pm during the Summer months. Church Service in St. Cronan's Church every 4th Sunday of the Month at 10am.
East Clare Heritage Centre, St Cronan's Church, Tuamgraney, Co Clare
Enjoy the best of Irish Traditional and Folk music from Co. Clare every Monday night from April - Oct., Concerts are held from 8pm- 9.30pm. Tickets available at the door on the night. Come early to avoid disappointment. For a taste of what to expect have a look at: Youtube
The Aistear Park
The Aistear Park (FREE entry)
Tel: 00 353 61 927237
Situated in the centre of the village of Mountshannon, between the main street and the harbour. This 4.5 acre unique park includes a maze incorporating timber, stone and foliage which takes the visitor through an informative exploration of Irish Spirituality over 9000 years. Experience your inner journey through walking the Aistear Labyrinth.
Website: The Aistear Park
Irish Seed Savers (Gardens & Centre)
Irish Seed Savers (Gardens & Centre)
Tel: +353 (0)61 921866
Fax: +353 (0)61 921397
The Irish Seed Savers Association is a charity set up to preserve the agricultural bio-diversity of Ireland. We collect, conserve and grow fruit, grains and vegetables. It is our intention to grow, research and develop varieties as well as preserving them in a "seed bank", and to educate the public in the importance of our work and encourage gardeners to grow the seeds.
Spend a relaxing afternoon in our gardens with a picnic and walk through the heritage orchards and gardens amongst the rare potatoes and diverse mix of vegetables, taste our soft fruits and become a part of a living heritage.
We also hold a number of public events, courses and open days throughout the year - please check our web site for further information.
Notes on places in East Clare
A small village that came to international attention in 1887, when the inhabitants in the surrounding area made a desperate and concerted effort to break the power of their landlord. There is now an eighteen-hole championship golf course near the village. Kilnoe graveyard is an ancient burial place.
Broadford Parish is an amalgamation of the civil parishes of Kilseily and Killokennedy. The O’Kennedy clan descended from Donnchuan a brother of Brian Boru were the ancient chieftains in Killokennedy. The ruins of Killokennedy church and Kilseily church surrounded by ancient graveyards can still be seen. In close proximity to Killokennedy is St Cronan’s holy well and to Kilseily is St Seily’s holy well.
Broadford valley is one of the richest areas in Ireland as regards Megalithic tombs. Dolmens, Giant’s graves, Cromlechs and Diarmaid and Grania’s Beds are some of the names used to describe these ancient tombs. These burial sites were built around 2,000 B.C. by cattle farmers who grazed their animals on the grassy hillsides above the wooded lowlands. Many people were buried in the one grave, the bodies were cremated and the ashes were placed in the main chamber with smaller front or rear chambers. The roof consisted of large stone slabs laid down on the side stones. The tombs normally faced westward.
The village of Crusheen derives its name from Croisín the little cross. The old name for the parish was Inis Chrónáin, the island of St. Cronan. His ancient church stood on the island. There are also the remains of a castle on the island. There is a holy well known as Tobar Breeda and a Cillín (children’s burial ground) in Crusheen. A ‘shelter’ has been erected here in recent times. People are invited to enter the shelter and leave a keepsake in the manner of old shrines, throughout the county.
Feakle is the biggest civil parish in County Clare containing approximately 30,000 acres. The tiny villages of Flagmount, Caher and Killanena necklace the beautiful Lough Graney in the heart of the Sliabh Aughty Mountains. The mountains offer wonderful opportunities for the walker or cyclist. There is a wealth of historical, archaeological, spiritual and visual surprises awaiting the adventurous traveller in this forgotten country. Biddy Early, Johnny Patterson and Brian Merriman are names of famous people inspired by this landscape. Biddy Early (c.1798 – 1874) was married four times and is remembered locally as a wise woman or witch. Brian Merriman (c.1749- 1005) was born in West Clare but was reared around Feakle where his father was a stonemason. He is remembered as the poet of a single poem, Cúirt an Mhean- Oíche, the Midnight Court, a satirical comedy. Johnny Patterson(1840- 1889) “the rambler from Clare,” was born near Feakle. His father was a nailer from northern Ireland. Johnny spent most of his life with the circus. He composed some memorable songs like “The stone outside Dan Murphy’s door” and “the garden where the Praties grow.”
Brian Boru’s fort is well worth a visit. St Flannan’s Cathedral built about 12,00 Ad has many interesting features. It has a magnificent Romanesque doorway from an earlier church inserted in a wall for preservation. A 12th Century High Cross known as The Kilfenora Cross adorns the nave as does a unique stone with Ogham and Runic writing. The most striking part of the church is probably its eleven metre high east window designed in 1865. St Lua’s Oratory, a small 10th century church, in the grounds of the Catholic Church is also worth a visit. Until 1929 it stood on Friar’s Island in the River Shannon about 1km. downstream from Killaloe. The Shannon Hydro –Electric Scheme would have submerged this island and its oratory so it was moved.
Kilkishen meaning the wood of the UI Caisin, a tribal name for the MacNamaras is a lovely little village with lots of amenities. Fishing is very popular in the area. Ruined castles abound. Loch Coilleán Uí Shíoda, the lake of the little wood of the Sheedys, better known as Cullane lake is a lovely amenity and fishing area.
Mountshannon was built on a green field site between 1738 and 1742. It was built by William Woods a Limerick Linen manufacturer. Fifty protestant families were brought in from Northern Ireland and offered generous leases. The beautiful setting on which he choose to build this village and the plans which he adopted should put present town planners to shame. The village with its tree lined streets and the uniformity of its architecture gave it dignity and grace. Some of the buildings have survived. The market house, is probably the only one in the country that is still in its original form, though the front arches have been built up with stone.
The Aistear Iniscealtra project is well worth a visit. Aistear means a trail or a journey. The evolution of spiritually is depicted in the journey through a stone maze. Holy Island or Inis Cealtra is the jewel of the lough. There is a regular boat hire service from here to this famous monastic site. Golf and pitch and putt enthusiasts are also catered for in the parish.
This is a picturesque village on the banks of the Shannon. It derives its name from an ancient bridge built in 1506. Sarsfield’s ride, a well sign posted historic route passes through the village of Bridgetown.
Few places can compete with Ogonnelloe for the beauty of its landscape. Overlooking Lough Derg and Holy Island. The parish consists primarily of a great mass of hills with large gaps, appropriately called Sliabh Bernagh, ‘the mountain of the gaps.’ The ecclesiastical name for the parish was Eaglais Sinchill, the church of Sinchill. A fitting ‘Millenium’ project in 2000 was the restoration of the graveyard attached to this ruin. Some fine examples of Grave markers executed in Killaloe slate can be seen in this beautiful graveyard.
There are lots of watersports, horse riding and environmental activities which one can partake of in this parish.
The original village was an Anglo- Norman foundation that developed around St. Finghin’s church and Quin Castle. In 1350 the MacNamaras founded a monastery within the ruins of the castle. The ruins of the abbey are very impressive.
The riverside park at Scariff is a lovely place to pass an hour or so. What looks like a tower house in the grounds of the Spanish owned timber factory is in fact a water tower erected in the 19th century for an infamous workhouse that was built nearby.
Moynoe graveyard is on an ancient monastic site famous for its hospitality. When this was abused in 1307 a civil war ensued which lasted for eleven years. The east gable and side walls of the 13th century monastic church can still be seen. The ground floor of an O’Grady tower house can also be seen.
At Cappabane a beautifully restored Mass Rock and confessional can be seen. It is in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Sixmilebridge was an important crossing point on the O’Garney river in the 18th century. The main Ennis to Limerick road passed through the village, which was six miles from limerick. It has retained much of its old world charm with an ancient bridge forming the focal point of the village. The bridge connected two market squares of greatly varying size. Remnants of its industrial heritage are everywhere to be seen. Nowadays, its proximity to Limerick, Shannon etc gives it huge appeal and it is a vibrant ad prosperous place. The old Protestant church in the village has been sensitively restored and is now a Library. The village is known nationally for its prowess in hurling.
St Cronan’s 10th Century church which houses the East Clare Heritage Centre is well worth a visit. There is an audio visual display and a folk museum there. In the adjoining graveyard can be seen the grave of Ireland’s foremost family historian the late Dr Edward MacLysaght. Tuamgraney is also the birthplace of the famous author Edna O’Brien. The tower house nearby was built y he O’Gradys in the 15th century.
The Casaoireach or Famine Memorial Park commemorates the thousands who were unceremoniously interred there during the great hunger 1845- 1851. It is now planted with the indigenous trees of County Clare and is a sanctuary for wild plants, insects, birds and animals.
Raheen oak wood is a very special place. The oaks are magnificent, their 30 metre high branches transforms the driveway into the nave of green cathedral and gives us some idea of what it was like to travel through East Clare 300 or more years ago. It is arguably richer in plant species, acre for acre, than the celebrated Killarney oakwoods.
There is evidence of early settlements around the village of Tulla. Megalithic tombs, ancient church sites and holy wells abound. There are the ruins of several castles from modern times.
On the windswept hill of Tulla, there are the ruins of a MacNamara church and a Protestant church erected in 1702. Preservation work is ongoing and they are well worth a visit.
St Mochulla is the patron saint of Tulla and fifteen wells throughout East Clare commemorate his name. One of the wells is beside Tulla Graveyard. Up to the middle of the 20th Century Mochulla was famous as a miracle worker.
Whitegate is a small rural village that has escaped the excesses of the Celtic Tiger. Clonrush graveyard and ruined churches on the shore of Lough Derg is a beautiful peaceful place to pass an hour or so. In pagan times it was thought to be very unlucky to approach a graveyard from any direction only the north. This tradition is still maintained here. The coffin is carried from the present eastern entrance and placed on the ground outside an arch on the northern side. It is then picked up and brought back into the graveyard.
There is a beautifully restored children’s burial ground or cillín at Derrainey, Whitegate. In less enlightened times, un-baptised children were interred in these places – permission having being refused to bury them in proper graveyards.
Shannon Castle Line Cruisers can be hired from Williamstown Pier to explore the Shannon system. Horse riding activities are also popular in the parish.
Weir Publishing Group
WEIR PUBLISHING GROUP
Tel: 061 927030
JUST SOME PUBLICATIONS BY HUGH WEIR ARE AS FOLLOWS:
HOUSES OF CLARE
A valuable record of 700 large and small but significant houses in County Clare erected prior to the twentieth century. Illustrated with over 150 pen drawings, a map and 50 photographs.
IRELAND - A THOUSAND KINGS
A collection of essays by selected experts exploring the development of Irish Kings and Kingdoms of all eras. Generously illustrated with maps, geneological charts and light-hearted cartoons.
A short but comprehensive account destilled from early sources, of the life of Ireland's great High King who, having defeated the Scandinavians at Clontarf in 1014, died violently at the hands of one of them.
ONE OF OUR OWN-MEMOIRS OF CHANGE
A fascination record of a busy life in a changing Ireland from a rare perspective.
A history of the Royal O'Briens, one of the oldest families in Europe and descendants of King Brian Boru.
EAST CLARE HERITAGE (local History publications)
1. Holy Island, Jewel of the Lough. Published 1990, Reprinted 1996, 2004
2. For God or King, The History of Mountshannon 1742 - 1992. Published 1993
3. The Famine Memorial Park, Tuamgraney. Published 1996
4. A History of Tuamgraney and Scariff since earliest times. Published 2000
5. History of the O'Maddens of Hy Many. Published 2004
6. History of the O'Gradys of Clare and Limerick. Published 2007
7. Holy Island. Island of the Churches. Published 2008
8. Sliabh Aughty Ramble. Musings on the Folklore, History, Landscape and Literature of the Sliabh Aughty Region. Published 2010
9. The Old Road. The Writings of Nora T. Goonane Leonard 1913-2007. Published 2011
10. Portraits of Mountshannon. Published 2012
11. Sliabh Aughty. An East Clare historical journal published annually. (14 editions to date)
12. North East Clare - A Glorious Past now Vanishing Fast. (a video on the region)
Further information from firstname.lastname@example.org
or phone 061- 921315 or mobile 086 - 8749710