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Olive Carey, secretary, Brian O Dálaigh, editor, Hilary Gilmore, artist, P.J. Ryan, Mayor of Clare at the launching of volume 45 of The Other Clare

Clare’s rich history brought to light in new edition of journal

THE Shannon Archaeological and Historical Society has published the latest issue of its journal, The Other Clare, writes Owen Ryan.

While the pandemic has posed undoubted problems for the Society, spokesman John O’Brien said that it has actually attracted new members in recent months, having moved its events online.

The latest edition of The Other Clare is now available from local outlets, and as ever will be much appreciated by those with an interest in local history.

The new edition is the 45th volume of The Other Clare, and the cover carries a fine illustration of the former Sixmilebridge Market House, drawn by artist Hillary Gilmore.

The original structure was built to the design of the noted architect John Rothery in 1733, but regrettably only a much reduced remnant of the original building now survives.

About 20 authors contributed papers ranging in date from the early Christian period to the early twentieth century.

Among the medieval essays, Rosemary Power contributes a paper on the Viking influence at Killaloe in the twelfth century; Jim Higgins and Michael Lynch write about an early Christian grave slab from Kilmoon church yard and Luke McInerney describes the newly discovered ecclesiastical seal, belonging to the O’Meere family of Drumcliff, which was used to authenticate church documents in the 1300s and 1400s.

Michael Mac Mahon, who has contributed papers to the journal over many years, has a fine essay on the evolution of the parish system in the Diocese of Killaloe.
Martin Breen and Ristéard Ua Cróinín will be familiar to the readers of The Other Clare, they investigate O’Briensbridge, a fortified bridge stronghold that controlled the crossing of the Shannon from Thomond into north Tipperary during the disturbed 16th century.

Moving onto the early modern period, Brian Ó Dálaigh carries out a survey of Clare market houses. Market houses facilitated the commercial interaction of the farming community with townspeople. Approximately 11 market houses were built in the county, the first in Ennis c. 1630 and the last in Ennistymon in 1870.

Amy Louise Harris explores the background of Thomas Dingley, an English traveller, who left a journal with many illustrations of his visit to county Clare in the 1680s.

Both Eilís Ní Dheá and Father Martin McNamara research the literature of Irish language writers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Eilís describes the work of Conor Mulryan of Bunratty and Donncha Woulfe of Sixmilebridge.

Woulfe taught 100 children in the church of Sixmilebridge and was the first to translate Brian Merriman’s masterpiece Cúirt an Mheán Oíche into English.

Father McNamara details the lives and works of the McMahon scribes of Ennistymon.

The political agitation of the nineteenth century is also covered in depth.

Tomás Mac Sheoin outlines the activities of the commission set up to deal with the Terry Alt disturbances in 1831.

Alfred Sexton provides a comprehensive account of the Land War in county Clare, 1880-90.

The involvement of the Molohan brothers of Quilty in the setting up of the GAA in 1884 and the subsequent visit of a hurling team to the USA is examined by Jim Molohan.

Declan Baron details the history of New Bridge House in Ennis and provides an interesting account of John O’Donnell, one of the early bankers of the county town.

Brian Spring describes a visit to Ennis by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Ivor Churchill Guest, in February of 1915, where he inspected a guard of honour drawn from the National Volunteers, the same volunteers, who the following year would join in the 1916 Rising.

Altogether volume 45 of The Other Clare is a considerable achievement and reflects well on the Shannon society, who have endeavoured over many years to promote the culture and unique heritage of Clare.

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