County Library, Mill Road, Ennis
has a special collection
of books useful for Clare research
Clare Heritage Centre, Church Street, Corofin, Co. Clare
Registrar General, The Courthouse, Ennis
Dal gCais (annual),
Mr. G. Hughes, Glandine, Milltown, Malbay, Co. Clare
The Other Clare (annual), Ms. R. Donovan,
Shannon Archaeological and Historical Society, 5 Tullyglass Hill, Shannon,
North Munster Antiquarian Society Journal. NL Ir 794105 (Index 1897-1919, NL Ir 7941 n 1)
Clare Archaelogical and Historical Society
Mr. John Culliney>br> Ballyalia, Ennis, County Clare
Killaloe Heritage Society
Ms. Lesley Mawson
Killaloe, Co. Clare
North Clare Historical Society
Ms. Frances Madigan
Ennistimon, County Clare
Extracted from "Irish Records - Sources for Family and Local History" by James Ryan (Available through Barnes and Noble Bookstores). This county occupies the area between the lower parts of the Shannon River and the west coast. It contains the towns of Ennis, Kilkee, Killaloe, and Kilrush.
In the old Gaelic system the county was part of the Kingdom of Thomond. The major families were those of O'Loughlin, McNamara, and McMahon, and the chief family was the O'Briens. Together these families are generally referred to as the Dalcassian families.
Following the Norman invasion, the area was granted to Norman knights, but the Clare chieftains kept them from holding any substantial power in the county. In 1275 it was granted to Thomas de Clare, who attempted to take control of the county but was totally defeated by the O'Briens. When the boundaries were established by English administration in 1565, the county was still named after the family, irregardless of his defeat. In 1602, the county was joined with the province of Munster.
The major Norman settlements in the county were at Clare town and at Bunratty. The Norman castle at Bunratty was captured by the O'Briens in 1355 and held by them until the seventeenth century. In the fifteenth century, the O'Briens rebuilt the castle on the same site, and this castle, restored and refurbished, is now open to the public.
The county was badly affected by the Great Famine of 1845-7. The population was 286,000 in 1841 and in 1852 had been reduced to 212,000. Over 50,000 people died between 1845 and 50 and thousands emigrated, many to Australia. Current population is about 88,000.
Most all original or copies of Clare records are held at the National Archives in Dublin and at the National Library in Dublin. The Clare Heritage Society has only extracts and indexes of these records.