County Clare.




County Clare from Samuel Lewis' Topographical Directory of Ireland 1837

Clare is a county on the west coast, it's area amounts to 3,188 sq. Km (1,231 sq mi)
The name comes from the Irish An Clar (the plain) It is situated in the province of Munster and is surrounded by the sea on three sides. It is bounded on the west by the Atlantic Ocean, on the south by the Shannon estuary, and to the north by Galway Bay.

The River Shannon and Lough Derg separate it from Limerick and Tipperary in the east. The county has become known as the banner county because it has produced more than its fair share of politicians..

Clare is very beautiful and attracts a large number of tourists. Its major towns are Ennis, Shannon, Kilrush, Newmarket on Fergus and Kilkee.


Clare sends four members of parliament to Dail Erreann. The county is administered by a county council based in Ennis. The town's of Ennis and Kilrush have their own urban district councils.

In the east of Clare, the Slieve Aughty and Slieve Bernagh mountains are formed of slate, shale, and sandstone. These uplands rise to a height of 530 meter's.(1,736 Ft) Beneath them lies the picturesque Lough Derg on the River Shannon, where pleasure boating is popular.

The major transport route is the national primary N18 road northward from Limerick through Ennis to Galway. The national secondary N67 serves the west of the county and is joined to Ennis by the N68. The railway carries only freight traffic and follows a route similar to the N18. The international Shannon Airport is the country's second busiest airport and is mainly for transatlantic traffic. It has the world's first duty-free shop. Irish coffee was invented there. A car ferry crosses the Shannon estuary from Killimer to Tarbert in Kerry.

The land rises to a low plateau in west Clare. In the north lies the unique Burren area of barren limestone landscapes. The Ailwee Caves are open to the public. There is no surface water in the Burren. But the remainder of west Clare has a damp landscape, with many rushes and peat bogs on top of shale's and sandstone's. These rocks end on the west coast in the spectacular Cliffs of Moher, which have a sheer drop of 200 metres (656 Ft.) into the Atlantic Ocean. There are also beaches on this coast at the resorts of Lahinch and Kilkee.

Ireland's largest power station is at Moneypoint on the estuary of the River Shannon. It burns imported coal. The country's first and largest river hydroelectric plant uses the water of the Shannon at Ardnacrusha.

Video of The Cliffs of Moher.


In the past its centre of power was n Tipperary at the rock of Cashel, now a cluster of buildings on the crest of an ancient mound. With a ruined Cathedral, round tower and the Romanesque Cormac's chapel. The area around the lower Shannon appears to have been populated from early times there are many prehistoric monuments. The most notable of which are a cluster of sites around Lough Gur in Co Limerick and the Poulnabrone Dolman on the Burren

The Celts left behind them a rich legacy of legend's of the pre Christian heroes. The hag Mal is said to have attempted to follow the Ulster hero Cuchulainn in making a giant leap at Loop or (Leap) Head, he fell into the sea and his body was washed ashore at Mal bay.

Several abbeys were founded in early Christian times, these grew and developed in medieval times under the protection of the Irish chieftains. However the region is better known for the monasteries which were founded in the 12th century by the austere and reforming Cistercians, such as Monasterananagh in County Limerick, and Kilcooly and Holycross in Tipperary.About 25 percent of Clare's people work in agriculture. Farming is almost entirely pastoral with only about one per cent of the land used for growing crops Farms are generally larger than other western counties the average being about 20 hectares in area. Cattle rearing and dairy farming are the main activities. Milk is sent to creameries for processing and most of the cattle are moved to farms in the east for fattening. Farmers raise sheep in northern and upland areas, and some farmers raise horses. There is forestry in the upland districts of eastern and western Clare.

Read about County Clare from Samuel Lewis' Topographical Directory of Ireland published in 1837.

Tourist Information
Aurthurs Row
off O'Connoll Square
Co Clare
Tel +353 (0)65 6828366
Fax: +353 (0)65 6821234
E Mail
Web Site

The lowland Centre of the county lies on limestone. There are many lakes on its surface. Some of these are turloughs (lakes which dry up in the summer). The River Fergus drains much of Clare and runs into the Shannon estuary.



Print the county map below
with a list of places to see,
and tourist office contact details.
View a large scale map of Ireland

Google Map of County Clare.