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County Clare

Situated on Ireland's scenic west coast, County Clare is home to some of Ireland's most awesome natural wonders. From the wide, rolling beaches to the majestic Cliffs of Moher, small shore towns such as Killaloe are favorite places to relax, unwind and enjoy the hospitality and local culture. Another significant aspect of the area's geography is the Burren, with its bleak but beautiful landscape that, amazingly, supports a wide variety of plant and animal life. The River Shannon forms one of County Clare's boundaries, providing yet another source of outdoor enjoyment and beautiful scenery. Culture thrives in County Clare; there are many traditional music venues, and festivals are regular events, especially in summer.  

County Clare Highlights

A land rich in sources of breathtaking natural beauty, County Clare also has plenty of historical sites and archaeological finds to interest those who wish to learn more about the traditional past and culture of Ireland. The Cliffs of Moher are one of the most widely recognized attractions in Ireland. Standing 710 feet tall, the views from below are powerful, while at the top, there are unparalleled views of the western coast to be enjoyed Heading north into the Burren, a 116 square mile area of ethereal limestone landscape, visitors are surprised and delighted in spring by the bounty of wildflowers and creatures that prosper among the massive stones. For a glimpse deep into Irish history and cultural tradition, the Craggaunowen Project focuses on lifestyle during the Celtic period, while Bunratty Castle and Folk Park celebrates the gracefulness of medieval entertaining with authentic banquets held in a many- times -rebuilt castle that once belonged to the famous O'Brien clan. Coastal towns such as Lahinch offer golf resorts and beach activities, including surfing. The County Clare countryside is dotted with genealogical research centres, heritage centres, museums and of course, great pubs, where heritage, culture and music can be fully explored and enjoyed. 

County Clare History

  • County Clare was formed from an area known as north Munster province
  • It was further divided into large land parcels controlled by a group of families called the Dalcassians - a designation that meant they were from the eastern part of the county
  • Primary member families included those belonging to the O'Loughlin, O'Garbh, O'Connor, MacMahon and O'Brien clans
  • A few centuries later, a member of the O'Brien clan named Brian Boru defeated the Vikings and drove them from the region in the 11th century
  • The years that followed brought invasions by the Danes and Normans, which were answered by various rebellions
  • Some of the lands of County Clare were appropriated from owners and transferred to exiles from other parts of Ireland who were banished to the west in the period following the 1641 rebellion
  • During the Famine years of 1845-47, the population of County Clare decreased by more than 70,000, due to death and emigration to Australia

Popular Clare Surnames

Popular surnames that have surfaced during the history of County Clare include:

  • O'Brien
  • Hickey
  • Griffin
  • Clancy
  • McMahon
  • Casey
  • Harte
  • Healy
  • Kilroy
  • Maloney
  • Murphy
  • Brady
  • Boland
  • Boyle


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