Skellig Michael is a twin-pinnacled crag situated 11.6 kilometres west of the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland. Its sister island, Little Skellig is inaccessible; the two islands, along with some of the Blasket Islands, form the most westerly part of both the Republic of Ireland and Europe. The word "Skellig" is derived from the Gaelic sceilig; the island is named after the archangel Michael. The islands developed during a period mountain formation 374-360 million years ago when the region was part of a larger continental land mass, became adrift from the mainland after tides rose around 300 million years ago. Skellig Michael consists of 54 acres of rock, with its highest point, the Spit, 714 feet above sea level, it is defined by its twin peaks and intervening valley, which make its landscape steep and inhospitable. It is renowned for the Gaelic monastery founded between the 6th and 8th centuries, its variety of inhabiting species, including gannets, puffins, a colony of razorbills and a population of fifty grey seals.
The island is of especial interest to archaeologists as the remains of its early monastic settlement and hermitage are in unusually good condition. I The rock contains the remains of a tower house, a megalithic stone row and a cross inscribed slab known as the Wailing Woman; the monastery is situated at an elevation of 550 to 600 feet. Skellig Michael became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996; the monastery on the south peak can be approached by a number of narrow and steep flights of stone steps which ascend from three landing points, while the hermitage on the north peak contains a dangerous approach, is closed to the public. Because of the difficult crossing from the mainland and the exposed nature of the small landing spot, the island is only accessible to the public during the summer months. Skellig Michael is a steep rugged mass of rock of circa 45 acres, on the Atlantic coast off the Iveragh peninsula of County Kerry, it lies 7.25 miles west north west of Bolus Head, at the southern end of Saint Finian's Bay.
Its twin island, Little Skellig, is one mile closer to land more inhospitable and due to its sheer cliff faces, uninhabitable. The small Lemon Rock island is 2.25 miles further inland. The nearby Puffin Island is named after the variety of birds nesting there; the Skelligs, along with some of the Blasket Islands, constitute the most westerly part of both the Republic of Ireland and Europe. The island is defined by two its two summits: the north-east summit where the monastery is built, the south-west summit containing the hermitage; the peaks formed on either side of an island wide depression colloquially known as "Christ's Saddle". The islands are composed of Old Red Sandstone and compressed slate, similar to the formations found on the mountains of the County Kerry MacGillycuddy's Reeks and Caha Mountains; these ranges developed between 360 and 374 million years ago, during the Devonian period, when Ireland was part of a larger continental land mass and located south of the equator. The region's topography of peaks and valleys are characterised by steep ridges formed during the Hercynian period of folding and mountain formation some 300 million years ago.
Sea levels rose, creating deep marine inlets such as Bantry Bay, leaving the Skelligs detached from the mainland. The rock on Skellig Michael is compressed and contains a number of lines of fracture and jointing. Due to erosion along a major north–south-trending fault line, which contains bedrock much more brittle that that on the surrounding areas, it broke from the main elevation, leading to a depression situated between the north-east and south-west peaks; because of its exposure to wind and water erosion, the island's rock is corroded. The rock known locally as the "Wailing Woman" lies on the ascent before the Christ's Saddle ridge. Found in the centre of the island, 400 feet above sea level, on three acres of grassland, this patch is the only flat and fertile part of the island, contains traces of medieval crop farming; the path from the Saddle to the summit is known as the "Way of the Christ", a nomenclature reflecting the still present danger that such a steep climb presents to visitors.
Notable features on this stretch include the "Needle's Eye" peak, a stone chimney 150 metres above sea level, a series of 14 stone crosses with names such as the "Rock of the Women's piercing caoine", further references to the harsh climb. Further up is the "stone of pain" area, including the station known as the "Spit", a long and narrow fragment of rock approached by two feet wide steps; the ruin of the medieval church is lower and approached before the older monastery. The island's three main bays; each contains steps carved into the rock from landing point to above sea level. The main landing cove is on the recesses of the eastern side; the bay's pier is positioned under sheer cliff face, populated by high numbers of birds. It was built in 1826 from an area known as the "Flagstaff", leads to a small stairway leading to the now disused lighthouse; the steps split into two staircases, with the earliest and abandoned path leading directly to the mon
Mizen Head, is located at the extremity of the Mizen Peninsula in the district of Carbery in County Cork, southwest Ireland. Mizen Head is one of the extreme points of the island of Ireland and is a major tourist attraction, noted for its dramatic cliff scenery. One of the main transatlantic shipping routes passes close by to the south, Mizen Head was, for many seafarers, the first sight of Europe; the tip of the peninsula is an island, cut off by a deep chasm, now spanned by a bridge. The signal station, once permanently manned, is now a museum housing displays relating to the site's strategic significance for transatlantic shipping and communications, including the pioneering efforts of Guglielmo Marconi; the "99 steps" which formed part of the original access route have been supplemented by a series of paths and viewing platforms, a full range of visitor facilities is available at the entrance to the site. The villages of Ballydehob, Crookhaven and Schull are located on the peninsula to the east.
Mizen Head is not the most southerly point on the mainland of Ireland. Geography books have long measured the length of Ireland, diagonally northeast-to-southwest, as "from Fair Head to Mizen Head" or north-to-south "from Malin Head to Mizen Head". Malin to Mizen Carbery's Hundred Isles Wild Atlantic Way Mizen Journal, Archaeology Paddy O'Leary, No 11, 2003 ISSN 1649-203X Archaeological Inventory of County Cork, Vol 1 West Cork, Office of Public Works, 1992 ISBN 0-7076-0175-4 BHAS Journal vol 2 p.106-119, Townlands Donal Fitzgerald ISSN 0791-6612 Northside of the Mizen, General reading, Patrick McCarthy & Richard Hawkes Mizen Head Pictures and Travel Guide
Transatlantic flight of Alcock and Brown
British aviators John Alcock and Arthur Brown made the first non-stop transatlantic flight in June 1919. They flew a modified First World War Vickers Vimy bomber from St. John's, Newfoundland, to Clifden, County Galway, Ireland; the Secretary of State for Air, Winston Churchill, presented them with the Daily Mail prize for the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by aeroplane in "less than 72 consecutive hours". A small amount of mail was carried on the flight; the two aviators were awarded the honour of Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire a week by King George V at Windsor Castle. John Alcock was born in 1892 in Basford House on Seymour Grove, Manchester, England. Known to his family and friends as "Jack", he first became interested in flying at the age of seventeen and gained his pilot's licence in November 1912. Alcock was a regular competitor in aircraft competitions at Hendon in 1913–14, he became a military pilot during the First World War and was taken prisoner in Turkey after the engines on his Handley Page bomber failed over the Gulf of Xeros.
After the war, Alcock wanted to continue his flying career and took up the challenge of attempting to be the first to fly directly across the Atlantic. Arthur Whitten Brown was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1886 to American parents, shortly afterwards the family moved to Manchester. Known to his family and friends as "Teddie", he began his career in engineering before the outbreak of the First World War. Brown became a prisoner of war, after being shot down over Germany. Once released and back in Britain, Brown continued to develop his aerial navigation skills. In April 1913 the London newspaper the Daily Mail offered a prize of £10,000 to The competition was suspended with the outbreak of war in 1914 but reopened after Armistice was declared in 1918. During his imprisonment Alcock had resolved to fly the Atlantic one day, after the war he approached the Vickers engineering and aviation firm at Weybridge, who had considered entering their Vickers Vimy IV twin-engined bomber in the competition but had not yet found a pilot.
Alcock's enthusiasm impressed the Vickers' team and he was appointed as their pilot. Work began on converting the Vimy for the long flight, replacing the bomb racks with extra petrol tanks. Shortly afterwards Brown, unemployed, approached Vickers seeking a post and his knowledge of long distance navigation persuaded them to take him on as Alcock's navigator. Several teams had entered the competition and when Alcock and Brown arrived in St. John's, the Handley Page team were in the final stages of testing their aircraft for the flight, but their leader, Admiral Mark Kerr, was determined not to take off until the plane was in perfect condition; the Vickers team assembled their plane and at around 1:45 p.m. on 14 June, whilst the Handley Page team were conducting yet another test, the Vickers plane took off from Lester's Field. Alcock and Brown flew the modified Vickers Vimy, powered by two Rolls-Royce Eagle 360 hp engines which were supported by an on-site Rolls Royce team led by engineer Eric Platford.
It was not an easy flight. The overloaded aircraft had difficulty taking off the rough field and only missed the tops of the trees. At 17:20 the wind-driven electrical generator failed, depriving them of radio contact, their intercom and heating. An exhaust pipe burst shortly afterwards, causing a frightening noise which made conversation impossible without the failed intercom. At 5.00pm they had to fly through thick fog. This was serious. Blind flying in fog or cloud should only be undertaken with gyroscopic instruments, which they did not have, Alcock twice lost control of the aircraft and nearly hit the sea after a spiral dive. Alcock had to deal with a broken trim control that made the plane become nose-heavy as fuel was consumed. At 12:15am Brown got a glimpse of the stars and could use his sextant, found that they were on course, their electric heating suits had failed, making them cold in the open cockpit. At 3:00am they flew into a large snowstorm, they were drenched by rain, their instruments iced up, the plane was in danger of icing and becoming unflyable.
The carburettors iced up. They made landfall in County Galway, crash-landing at 8:40 a.m. on 15 June 1919, not far from their intended landing place, after less than sixteen hours' flying time. The aircraft was damaged upon arrival because of an attempt to land on what appeared from the air to be a suitable green field, but which turned out to be Derrygilmlagh Bog, near Clifden in County Galway in Ireland, but neither of the airmen was hurt. Brown said, their altitude varied between sea level and 12,000 ft. They took off with 865 imperial gallons of fuel, they had spent around fourteen-and-a-half hours over the North Atlantic crossing the coast at 4:28 p.m. having flown 1,890 miles in 15 hours 57 minutes at an average speed of 115 mph. Their first interview was given to Tom'Cork' Kenny of The Connacht Tribune. Alcock and Brown were treated as heroes on the completion of their flight. In addition to the Daily Mail award of £10,000, the crew received 2,000 guineas from the Ardath Tobacco Company and £1,000 from Lawrence R. Phillips for being the first British subjects to fly the Atlantic Ocean.
Both men were knighted a few days by King George V. Alcock and Brown flew to Manchester on 17 July 1919, where they were given a civic reception by the
Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are sea cliffs located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region in County Clare, Ireland. They run for about 14 kilometres. At their southern end, they rise 120 metres above the Atlantic Ocean at Hag's Head, eight kilometres to the north, they reach their maximum height of 214 metres just north of O'Brien's Tower, a round stone tower near the midpoint of the cliffs, built in 1835 by Sir Cornelius O'Brien continue at lower heights; the closest settlements are Doolin. From the cliffs, from atop the tower, visitors can see the Aran Islands in Galway Bay, the Maumturks and Twelve Pins mountain ranges to the north in County Galway, Loop Head to the south; the cliffs rank among the most visited tourist sites in Ireland, with around 1.5 million visits per annum. The cliffs take their name from an old promontory fort called Mothar or Moher, which once stood on Hag's Head, the southernmost point of the cliffed coast, now the site of Moher Tower; the writer Thomas Johnson Westropp referred to it in 1905 as Moher Uí Ruidhin.
The fort still is mentioned in an account from John Lloyd's A Short Tour Of Clare. It was demolished in 1808 to provide material for a lookout/telegraph tower, intended to provide warning in case of a French invasion during the Napoleonic wars; the cliffs are one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland and topped a list of attractions in 2006 by drawing one million visitors. Since 2011, they have formed a part of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark, one of a family of geotourism destinations throughout Europe that are members of the European Geoparks Network and recognized by UNESCO; the cliffs are a "signature point" on the official Wild Atlantic Way tourist trail. While the cliffs can be accessed at multiple points, there is an 18 kilometre Cliff Walk, the majority of visitors come to the official visitor centre. In the 1990s the local authority, Clare County Council, initiated development plans to enable visitors to experience the cliffs without significant intrusive man-made amenities.
In keeping with this approach, a modern visitor centre, the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience, was built into a hillside approaching the cliffs. The centre was planned to be environmentally sensitive in its use of renewable energy systems including geothermal heating and cooling, solar panels, grey water recycling; the €32 million facility was planned and built over a 17-year period and opened in February 2007. Exhibits include interactive media displays covering the geology, history and fauna of the cliffs. A large multimedia screen displays a bird's-eye view from the cliffs, as well as video from the underwater caves below the cliffs. There are two cafés and several shops. Accessibility is a priority, wheelchairs are available to borrow; as of 2018, the centre charges € 8 with children under 16 admitted free. This covers parking, access to the visitor centre and Atlantic Edge exhibition, a contribution towards conservation and safety at the cliffs; the visitor experience recorded 1.427 million visits in 2016, up 14% on 2015, up 52% in off-peak December, for example.
Numbers are so large, have grown so fast, that there are capacity problems at time, notably from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily in peak season, visitors are encouraged to come at other times, with discounts given to coach operators who book for off-peak slots, late opening of the centre introduced for July and much of August. Furthermore, later-arriving visitors have been facilitated by the fitting of automatically opening exit gates from the official car parking facilities; the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience won an award in the Interpret Britain & Ireland Awards 2007 awarded by the Association of Heritage Interpretation. Although the award was for the Atlantic Edge exhibition, the AHI assessed the entire visitor centre and site; the citation stated that the entire visitor centre was "one of the best facilities that the judges had seen." The official Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk runs for 18 km, from Hag's Head to Doolin, passing the Visitor Centre and O'Brien's Tower, with good viewing throughout, subject to rain or sea fog.
There are two paths near the visitor centre, the official one being set back a little for safety, while an unofficial path runs closer to the edge. In July 2016 the so-called Cliff Walk, outside the official Cliffs of Moher amenities, was temporarily closed because of the risk of rock falls. People were warned to stay on the official path further of the cliff edge instead of the unofficial seaside trail. Separate ferry trips allow tourists to view the cliffs from sea level, at certain times fixed-wing aircraft from Connemara Airport provide a viewing opportunity; the cliffs consist of beds of Namurian shale and sandstone, with the oldest rocks being found at the bottom of the cliffs. It is possible to see 300-million-year-old river channels cutting through, forming unconformities at the base of the cliffs. At peak season, there are an estimated 30,000 pairs of birds living on the cliffs, representing more than 20 species; these include Atlantic puffins, which live in large colonies at isolated parts of the cliffs and on the small Goat Island, razorbills.
The site is an Important Bird Area. A wide range of sea life can be seen, from grey seals through porpoises, minke whales and basking sharks, as well as sunfish. On land, feral goats, foxes and the Irish hare are found, along with various breed
County Kerry is a county in Ireland. It is located in the South-West Region and forms part of the province of Munster, it is named after the Ciarraige. Kerry County Council is the local authority for the county and Tralee serves as the county town; the population of the county was 147,707 at the 2016 census. Kerry is the fifth-largest of the 26 counties of the 15th-largest by population, it is the second-largest of Munster's six counties by area, the fourth-largest by population. Uniquely, it is bordered by only two other counties: County Limerick to the east and County Cork to the south-east; the county town is Tralee. The diocesan seat is Killarney, one of Ireland's most famous tourist destinations; the Lakes of Killarney, an area of outstanding natural beauty are located in Killarney National Park. The Reeks District is home to Carrauntoohil, Ireland's highest mountain at 1,039m; the tip of the Dingle Peninsula is the most westerly point of Ireland. There are nine historic baronies in the county.
While baronies continue to be defined units, they are no longer used for many administrative purposes. Their official status is illustrated by Placenames Orders made since 2003, where official Irish names of baronies are listed under "Administrative units". Clanmaurice – Clann Mhuiris Corkaguiny – Corca Dhuibhne Dunkerron North – Dún Ciaráin Thuaidh Dunkerron South – Dún Ciaráin Theas Glanarought – Gleann na Ruachtaí Iraghticonnor – Oireacht Uí Chonchúir Iveragh Peninsula – Uíbh Ráthach Magunihy – Maigh gCoinchinn Trughanacmy – Triúcha an Aicme Coolgarriv – An Chúil Gharbh Aghadoe – Achadh Deo Maglass Ard na Caithne Sliabh Luachra Corca Dhuibhne Bounard Kerry faces the Atlantic Ocean and for an Eastern-Atlantic coastal region, features many peninsulas and inlets, principally the Dingle Peninsula, the Iveragh Peninsula, the Beara Peninsula; the county is bounded on the west on the north by the River Shannon. Kerry is one of the most mountainous regions of Ireland and its three highest mountains, Carrauntoohil and Caher, all part of the MacGillycuddy's Reeks range.
Just off the coast are a number of islands, including the Blasket Islands, Valentia Island and the Skelligs. Skellig Michael is a World Heritage Site, famous for the medieval monastery clinging to the island's cliffs; the county contains the extreme west point of Ireland, Dunmore Head on the Dingle Peninsula, or including islands, Tearaght Island, part of the Blaskets. The most westerly inhabited area of Ireland is Dún Chaoin, on the Dingle Peninsula; the River Feale, the River Laune and the Roughty River flow into the Atlantic. The North Atlantic Current, part of the Gulf Stream, flows north past Kerry and the west coast of Ireland, resulting in milder temperatures than would otherwise be expected at the 52 North latitude; this means that subtropical plants such as the strawberry tree and tree ferns, not found in northern Europe, thrive in the area. Because of the mountainous area and the prevailing southwesterly winds, Kerry is among the regions with the highest rainfall in Ireland. Owing to its location, there has been a weather reporting station on Valentia for many centuries.
The Irish record for rainfall in one day is 243.5 mm, recorded at Cloore Lake in Kerry in 1993. In 1986 the remnants of Hurricane Charley crossed over Kerry as an extratropical storm causing extensive rainfall and damage. Kerry means the "people of Ciar", the name of the pre-Gaelic tribe who lived in part of the present county; the legendary founder of the tribe was son of Fergus mac Róich. In Old Irish "Ciar" meant black or dark brown, the word continues in use in modern Irish as an adjective describing a dark complexion; the suffix raighe, meaning people/tribe, is found in various -ry place names in Ireland, such as Osry—Osraighe Deer-People/Tribe. The county's nickname is the Kingdom. On 27 August 1329, by Letters Patent, Maurice FitzGerald, 1st Earl of Desmond was confirmed in the feudal seniority of the entire county palatine of Kerry, to him and his heirs male, to hold of the Crown by the service of one knight's fee. In the 15th century, the majority of the area now known as County Kerry was still part of the County Desmond, the west Munster seat of the Earl of Desmond, a branch of the Hiberno-Norman FitzGerald dynasty, known as the Geraldines.
In 1580, during the Second Desmond Rebellion, one of the most infamous massacres of the Sixteenth century, the Siege of Smerwick, took place at Dún an Óir near Ard na Caithne at the tip of the Dingle Peninsula. The 600-strong Italian and Irish papal invasion force of James Fitzmaurice Fitzgerald was besieged by the English forces and massacred. In 1588, when the fleet of the Spanish Armada in Ireland were returning to Spain during stormy weather, many of its ships sought shelter at the Blasket Islands and some were wrecked. During the Nine Years' War, Kerry was again the scene of conflict, as the O'Sullivan Beare clan joined the rebellion. In 1602 their castle at Dunboy was taken by English troops. Donal O'Sullivan Beare, in an effort to escape English retribution and to reach his allies in Ulster, marched all the clan's members and dependants to the north of Ireland. Due to harassment by hostile forces and freezing weather few of the 1,000 O'Sullivans who set out reached their destination. In the aftermath of the War, much of the native owned land in Kerry was confiscated and given to English settlers or'planters'.
The head of the MacCarthy M
Buncrana is a town in County Donegal, Ireland. It is beside Lough Swilly on the Inishowen peninsula, 23 kilometres northwest of Derry and 43 kilometres north of Letterkenny. In the 2016 census, the population was 6,785 making it the second most populous town in County Donegal, after Letterkenny, the largest in Inishowen. Buncrana is the historic home of the O'Doherty clan and developed around the defensive tower known as O'Doherty's Keep at the mouth of the River Crana; the town moved to its present location just south of the River Crana when George Vaughan built the main street in 1718. The town was a major centre for the textile industry in County Donegal from the 19th century until the mid-2000s. On the northern bank of the River Crana as it enters Lough Swilly sits the three-story O'Doherty's Keep, the only surviving part of an original 14th-century Norman castle; the first two levels of the keep were built after 1333. In 1601 the O'Doherty's Keep was described as being a small, two-story castle, inhabited by Conor McGarret O'Doherty.
In 1602 the third level was added and it was upgraded by Hugh Boy O'Doherty as an intended base for Spanish military aid that hoped to land at Inch. The keep was burned by Crown forces in 1608 in reprisal for the rebellion of Sir Cahir O'Doherty, who had sacked and razed the city of Derry. After Sir Cahir O'Doherty was killed at the Battle of Kilmacrennan, he was attaindered and his land seized; the keep was granted to Sir Arthur Chichester, who leased it to Englishman Henry Vaughan, where it was repaired and lived in by the Vaughan family until 1718. In 1718, Buncrana Castle was built by George Vaughan, it was one of the first big manor houses built in Inishowen, stone was taken from the bawn, or defensive wall, surrounding O'Doherty's Keep to build it, it was erected on the original site of Buncrana. Vaughan moved the town to its present location, where he founded the current main street and built the Castle Bridge across the River Crana leading to his Castle. During the 1798 Rebellion, Theobald Wolfe Tone was held in Buncrana Castle when he was captured after the British/French naval battle off the coast of Donegal, before being taken to Derry and subsequently to Dublin.
On 18 May 1812, Isaac Todd bought the entire town of Buncrana the townlands of Tullydish and Ballymacarry, at the Court of Chancery on behalf of the trustees of the Marquess of Donegall. His nephews inherited the castles, they became known as the Thornton-Todds; the castle remains as a private home today. In the forecourt there is a memorial rock in honour of Sir Cahir O'Doherty, a plaque dedicated to Wolfe Tone. One of the oldest remaining inhabited residences in Buncrana is a Georgian property called Westbrook House, situated at the entrance to Swan Park just north of the town center of Buncrana; the house was built in 1807 by Judge Wilson, who built the single-arch stone bridge leading to the house and the entrance to Swan Park. In October 1905, Buncrana was the first town in County Donegal to receive electricity, it was generated at Swan Mill which continued to provide electricity for the town until September 1954 when Buncrana was brought under the ESB Rural Electrification Scheme. On 30 July 1922, during the Irish Civil War, Buncrana was captured by the Free State forces from Republican forces without the loss of life.
The Free State forces held the railway station and telegraph offices and all the roads entering the town. At 4:00am a sentry stopped a car on the outskirts of the town and on discovering it contained the Republican commander, with five armed volunteers, arrested them. At around 7:00am the Republican forces' position was surrounded and were given fifteen minutes to surrender, they complied, were arrested and their weapons and ammunition seized. That day, 100 Free State troops commandeered a train at Buncrana station and proceeded to take Clonmany and other locations on the peninsula. Buncrana was the object of public attention in 1972, when after Operation Motorman it became the place of refuge for many Provisional Irish Republican Army members from Derry. In 1991, a local Sinn Féin councillor, Eddie Fullerton, was murdered by loyalists from Northern Ireland. In March 2016 Buncrana town came to public attention when five people of the same family died after their car slipped off Buncrana Pier into the waters of Lough Swilly.
Only a 4month old baby survived when the father, Sean McGrotty, passed his daughter through a window to a passer-by who swam out to help. On November 23, 2017 an inquest found that the driver died by'misadventure'. Post-mortem results showed that the driver was more than three times over the drink drive limit. Buncrana Town Council was the Local Authority for the town and provided an extensive range of services in the area; these services ranged from planning control, to the provision of social housing, to the upkeep and improvement of roads, maintenance of parks and public open spaces. The Town Council was abolished in June 2014 when the Local Government Reform Act 2014 was implemented, its functions were taken over by Donegal County Council in 2014. Buncrana is in the Inishowen Municipal District. Buncrana is part of the Donegal since 2016, it was part of the Donegal North-East constituency of Dáil Éireann. Buncrana is located on the eastern shore of Lough Swilly in north County Donegal; the main urban area of the town is situated between the Crana River to the north and the Mill River to the south.
The principle street follows a rough north-south r
County Clare is a county in Ireland, in the Mid-West Region and the province of Munster, bordered on the West by the Atlantic Ocean. There is debate whether it should be considered a part of Connacht. Clare County Council is the local authority; the county had a population of 118,817 at the 2016 census. The county town and largest settlement is Ennis. Clare is north-west of the River Shannon covering a total area of 3,400 square kilometres. Clare is the 7th largest of Ireland's 32 traditional counties in area and the 19th largest in terms of population, it is bordered by two counties in Munster and one county in Connacht: County Limerick to the south, County Tipperary to the east and County Galway to the north. Clare's nickname is the Banner County; the county is divided into the baronies of Bunratty Lower, Bunratty Upper, Clonderalaw, Ibrickan, Islands, Tulla Lower and Tulla Upper. These in turn are divided into civil parishes; these divisions are cadastral, defining ownership, rather than administrative.
Bodies of water define much of the physical boundaries of Clare. To the south-east is the River Shannon, Ireland's longest river, to the south is the Shannon Estuary; the border to the north-east is defined by Lough Derg, the third largest lake on Ireland. To the west is the Atlantic Ocean, to the north is Galway Bay. County Clare contains a unique karst region, which contains rare flowers and fauna. At the western edge of The Burren, facing the Atlantic Ocean, are the Cliffs of Moher; the highest point in County Clare is Moylussa, 532 m, in the Slieve Bernagh range in the east of the county. The following islands lie off the coast of the county: Aughinish Inishmore Island Inishloe Mutton Island Scattery Island County Clare hosts the oldest known evidence of human activity in Ireland; the patella of a bear, subject to butchering close to the time of death, was found in the Alice and Gwendoline Cave, near Edenvale House, Clarecastle. The bone features a number of linear-cut marks, has been dated to circa 10,500 BC, from the Paleolithic era.
This discovery, publicized in 2017, pushed back Ireland's occupation by 2,500 years - what was regarded as the oldest site of occupation was the Mesolithic site of Mount Sandel, County Londonderry. This bear bone was discovered in 1903 during an archaeological excavation but was not studied until over a century later. There was a Neolithic civilization in the Clare area — the name of the peoples is unknown, but the Prehistoric peoples left evidence behind in the form of ancient dolmen: single-chamber megalithic tombs consisting of three or more upright stones. Clare is one of the richest places in Ireland for these tombs; the most noted. The remains of the people inside the tomb have been excavated and dated to 3800 BC. Ptolemy created a map of Ireland in his Geographia with information dating from 100 AD. Within his map, Ptolemy names the areas in which they resided. Historians have found the tribes on the west of Ireland the most difficult to identify with known peoples. During the Early Middle Ages, the area was part of the Kingdom of Connacht ruled by the Uí Fiachrach Aidhne.
In the mid-10th century, it was annexed to the Kingdom of Munster to be settled by the Dalcassians. It was renamed meaning North Munster. Brian Boru became a leader from here during this period the most noted High King of Ireland. From 1118 onwards the Kingdom of Thomond was in place as its own petty kingdom, ruled by the O'Brien Clan. After the Norman invasion of Ireland, Thomas de Clare established a short-lived Norman lordship of Thomond, extinguished at the Battle of Dysert O'Dea in 1318 during Edward Bruce's invasion. There are two main hypotheses for the origins of the county name "Clare". One is that the name is derived from Thomas de Clare, embroiled in local politics and fighting in the 1270s and 1280s. An alternative hypothesis is that the county name Clare comes from the settlement of Clare, whose Irish name Clár refers to a crossing over the River Fergus. In 1543, during the Tudor conquest of Ireland, Murrough O'Brien, by surrender and regrant to Henry VIII, became Earl of Thomond within Henry's Kingdom of Ireland.
Henry Sidney as Lord Deputy of Ireland responded to the Desmond Rebellion by creating the presidency of Connaught in 1569 and presidency of Munster in 1570. He transferred Thomond from Munster to Connaught. About 1600, Clare was removed from the presidency of Connaught and made a presidency in its own right under the Earl of Thomond; when Henry O'Brien, 5th Earl of Thomond died in 1639, Lord Deputy Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford decreed Clare should return to the presidency of Munster, but the Wars of the Three Kingdoms delayed this until the Restoration of 1660. Clare's county nickname is the Banner County, for which various origins have been suggested: the banners captured by Clare's Dragoons at the Battle of Ramillies.