The Wooden Bridge fording the two Weirs.
The name: Clár Átha Dá Caradh = The Wooden Bridge fording the two Weirs. Clár, anglicised as Clare, meaning timber, gave the name to the ancient village of Clarecastle and in 1570 gave the name to the County of Clare.
Clarecastle is located just south of Ennis. The village has a history stretching back hundreds of years owing to its prominent location on the River Fergus with its tidal estuary and maritime trade. A mapped Heritage Trail enables the visitor to self-explore the heritage of Clarecastle Village in a leisurely manner. To the west of the Village is the renowned Killone Abbey and St. John’s Well. To the north are Ballybeg Woods with looped trails and the 12th C. Clare Abbey. A 15th century Castle and an Army Barracks of the 1740s provides a wonderful scenic backdrop from the Quay and river. An annual Regatta on the river brings the whole community together. A fine restaurant and a variety of pubs welcome the visitor.
The tidal estuary contains the remains of 600-year old fish-traps. The landmass of Clarecastle was increased by 600 acres by the reclamation of mudflats in the estuary in the 1880s. Old cine-film taken in Clarecastle in the 1950s shows the unloading of ships at Clarecastle Quay. The film captures the maritime history of our port of Clare in colour, with the importation of coal, timber and other products from England, the Baltic countries and Canada.
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AN TEACH MARGAIDH
A Market House was built here circa 1765 and Bannatyne’s Corn Store c. 1830. The corn store was used as an auxiliary workhouse during the Famine. Bannatynes were a Scottish family with extensive mills, shipping and corn business in Ennis, Limerick and Glasgow.
Bloc Gléasta - Mounting Block
These stone steps were used for mounting or dismounting a horse or coach. The mounting-block is perhaps the only one of its kind in Ireland. It could be 200 years old, with shallow steps and a concave face on the top step. The block originally stood on the Main Street. Locals refer to it as the ‘Bianconi Stone’ as Clarecastle was a staging point for the Bianconi stage-coaches that operated in Irelandbetween 1820 and 1860.
Stór Scott agus Clós Déil - Scott's Corn Store and Deal Yard.
Richard Scott built a six storey corn store in 1846/1847. It was used as an auxiliary workhouse during the Famine, housing more than 300 women and children from the Ennis Union between 1848 and 1852. Since the mid-eighteenth century white deal timber was imported from Canada and the Baltic countries and stored in a yard behind the Corn Store. It is still remembered as the ‘Dale’ Yard.
Port an Chláir - Port of Clare
This was the chief port for mid Clare. The range of goods exported from the port here was extensive and included oats, wheat, butter, timber, flour and lead ore from the Ballyhickey Mines for smelting in Wales. The main imports were coal and timber. Trade was mainly with British ports such as Liverpool, Glasgow and London. There was a weekly steamship service to Limerick port in 1836. The main quay was built in 1845 and the lower wharf in 1881.
Castle and Barracks
The O’Brien castle dates from the fifteenth/sixteenth century and the barracks from 1748-51. This strategic fortress was captured by Cromwellians in 1651 and by Williamites in 1691.The garrison at Clarecastle came into being in the mid-1600s and from 1691 to 1881 it was the main British army garrison in Clare. Séipeal Naomh Pheadar is Phóil Ss. Peter & Paul Church. S.S. Peter and Paul Catholic Church dates from 1839. It replaced a much earlier Church in Creggaunnahilla, located about 100 metres south of the present building. The Michael Healy stained-glass window c.1925 is of note. In 1985 a major reconstruction, involving structural changes both inside and outside the Church was carried out. Much of the work was done by voluntary labour.
Séipeal Naomh Pheadar is Phóil Ss. - Peter and Paul Catholic Church
This church dates from 1839. It replaced a much earlier Church in Creggaunnahilla, located about 100 metres south of the present building. The Michael Healy stained-glass window c.1925 is of note. In 1985 a major reconstruction, involving structural changes both inside and outside the Church was carried out. Much of the work was done by voluntary labour.
Sean Reilig an Chláir Old Clare Hill Cemetery
This graveyard dates from medieval times with over 170 inscribed headstones and a large number of uninscribed headstones.in this cemetery. 122 victims of the cholera epidemic that broke out in Clarecastle in 1832 are buried in the lower part of the cemetery which also contained a medieval holy water font discovered in the 1940s.
Faiche an Aonaigh Fair Green - (including the GAA Centenary Stone and Famine Memorial Stone)
The site of perhaps the oldest fair in Clare. King Henry III granted Robert de Muscregos, a Norman settler, the right to hold annual fairs and weekly markets at Clarecastle in 1253. This patent for the Fair of Clare was renewed by King James I on 4 October 1606 to Donough O’Brien, Earl of Thomond. The last Fair of Clare was held in May 1968. Also located on the Fair Green are the GAA Centenary Stone erected by the local GAA and unveiled by President Patrick Hillary in 1987 and the Famine Memorial Stone erected by Clarecastle Ballyea Heritage and Wildlife Group in 2013.
“Beidh aonach amárach i gContae an Chláir”
Droichead an Chláir - Clare Bridge
The beautiful five-arched cut-stone bridge of Clare was built by George Semple c. 1780. This bridge was demolished by Clare County Council in 1971. The County of Clare is named after the Bridge of Clare Scoil Náisiúnta an Chláir Clarecastle Village National School Clarecastle National School was built in 1843 and was used until 1935. Since then, it has been used for community purposes. John Wesley– bunaitheoir na hEaglaise Modhach John Wesley—founder of the Methodist Church During his missionary tours of Ireland in the eighteenth century, John Wesley preached on four occasions at this site in the village of Clare between the years 1758 and 1770. Séipéal Eaglais na hÉireann Church of Ireland St. Mary’s Church of Ireland and Parochial School was built here in 1813. It was burnt during the War of Independence in 1920 and demolished by Clare County Council in 1961.
Suíomh Cistin anraith an Ghorta Site of Famine Soup Kitchen
During the Great Famine more than 4,000 people from this parish received daily rations of meal here between 28 February and 12 September 1847. This was more than two-thirds of the total population of the parish during Black '47.
Séipéal Eaglais na hÉireann Church of Ireland
St. Mary’s Church of Ireland and Parochial School was built here in 1813. It was burnt during the War of Independence in 1920 and demolished by Clare County Council in 1961.
John Wesley– bunaitheoir na hEaglaise Modhach John Wesley—founder of the Methodist Church
During his missionary tours of Ireland in the eighteenth century, John Wesley preached on four occasions at this site in the village of Clare between the years 1758 and 1770.