(Inis - an islet or river meadow)
Ennis, on the banks of the River Fergus, is the county town of Clare, with quaint narrow streets and broad visitor appeal. It is also the cathedral town of the Catholic diocese of Killaloe.
The town developed round a 13th century castle built by a chief of the powerful O'Brien family, which established its headquarters at nearby Clonroad. It became a borough in 1612.
Visitors particularly enjoy the range of shopping - including craft shopping and superb dining options - to suit all tastes.
Ennis is a the Traditional music Capital of Ireland and music resounds from many centres, particularly from within its famous character pubs and the newly opened Glór, International Folk Music Centre.

Ennis Abbey
Founded by the O'Brien family in 1250 for the Franciscan Order, was restored about 1300 by Turlough Mor O'Brien (who added the strikingly tall east window with its five slender lights and pointed top.) There is a good deal of interesting sculpture and its monuments are famous, especially the McMahon tomb (15th century) with its carvings of the Passion.

Erected in 1831, (two years after Catholic Emancipation,), dedicated to SS. Peter and Paul and has paintings of their ascensions. Neo-Gothic style.

The De Valera Library and Museum
Housed in a converted Presbyterian Church, contains in addition to archaeological and historical museum pieces, valuable archival material. It was awarded a European Architecture Heritage Award in 1975.

West Clare Railway Engine
The railway, which opened for business in 1887, ran at first from Ennis to Miltown Malbay through Ennistymon. It was later extended to Kilkee and Kilrush, serving Lahinch and other coastal towns on the way.
One of its engines, the Slieve Callan, has been preserved and may be seen at the railway station and bus depot.
The railway was discontinued in 1961.

De Valera Monument
Eamon de Valera was a T.D. (member of Irish parliament) for Clare from 1917 to 1959 and taoiseach (prime minister) for much of that period. The memorial is a larger than life sized statue of the tall, austere figure.
Steele's Rock nearby commemorates "Honest Tom" Steele, a friend and supporter of Daniel O'Connell.

O'Connell Monument
On a corner of O'Connell Square the massive pediment and tall limestone column supporting a statue of Daniel O'Connell, toga-clad, who was M.P. for Clare from 1828 to 1831. The monument was erected in 1867.

Maid of Erin
This is the name popularly given to a memorial column erected in 1885 to three men: Allen, Larkin and O'Brien executed in Manchester in 1867 for attempting to rescue a group of Fenians. The limestone column is topped by the figure of a young woman with wolfhound and harp - romantic Irish symbolism.

The county courthouse, on a riverside site at New Bridge Road, is an impressive building fronted with a good Ionic portico. The vestibule has an 1850 statue of Sir Michael 0 Loghlen of Drumconora House, Ennis, who was the first Catholic to be made Master of the Rolls since Penal times.

The remains of a round tower and a 12th/13th century church can be found some 3 km off the road to Corofin. An earlier monastery was founded by St. Conall on the same site.

Limerick City
The city was founded in 922 by the Norsemen. Brian Boru drove them out of Limerick a century later and the city became for a long period the centre from which the O'Briens ruled Thomond. King John annexed the city to the English crown and built the imposing King John's Castle commanding the Shannon crossing in 1210.
The nearby St Mary's Cathedral was built about the same time.
The city remained an English trading centre and continued to grow, the old city comprising two parts, Englishtown and Irishtown. In the 18th century the city extended towards the south and west to form New Town Pery, a development characterised by handsome Georgian streets, crescent and squares, which is now the business and professional centre of the city. O'Connell Street, planned by Viscount Pery as the central feature of the new town, is now the city's main traffic artery.
The city boasts two museums, one in the beautifully restored Georgian John's Square and the Hunt Museum at the National Institute of Higher Education complex at Plassy.

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