Famous People

Brian Merriman
Poet and hedge-schoolmaster who wrote the epic poem Cuirt an Mhean Oíche (The Midnight Court) besides Lough Graney. The poem championed women's rights in 18th century Ireland. Merriman is buried in Feakle and a monument to his memory has been erected by An Cumman Merriman, (the Merriman Society) and may be seen in the graveyard.

Biddy Early
Famous cure-dispensing wise-woman or witch who came from Feakle. Augusta Lady Gregory collected much traditional lore about her and published it in her 'Visions and Beliefs of the West of Ireland'. Biddy Early's cottage has been restored and can be seen by visitors.

Eamon de Valera
Former President of Ireland who was a T.D. (member of Irish parliament) for Clare from 1917 to 1959 and taoiseach (prime minister) for the greater part of that period.
A memorial has been erected before Ennis courthouse.

"Honest Tom" Steele
Friend and supporter of Daniel O'Connell who restored Craggaunowen Castle in early 19th century. He came from Cullaun.

William Mulready
Painter from Ennis(1786-1863).

Thomas Dermody
Poet from Ennis(1775-1802).

Harriet Smithson
Actress and wife of French composer Hector Berlioz, also from Ennis(1800-1854).

Lady Augusta Gregory
Dramatist and folklorist (1852-1932). Her house had been frequented by such literary giants as Yeats, G. B. Shaw, Edward Martyn J.M. Synge, and Sean O'Casey during the 'celtic revival'. An famous copper beech tree, the 'Autograph Tree' on the grounds has carved into it, amongst others, the initials of Augustus John, An Craoibhín (Douglas Hyde, first President of Ireland).
Today the grounds, the Seven Woods of Coole, celebrated in verse by Yeats are open to the public. 4 km north of Gort.

William Butler Yeats
Spent the 1920s living at Thoor Ballylee near Gort.
The poems wrote here where published under title The Tower.
The Yeats Museum was opened in 1965 for the centenary of the poet's birth. The museum contains an audio-visual theatre, gift and gift shops and a tea room.

John P. Holland
Inventor of the submarine, was born in Castle Street, (renamed Holland Street in his honour), Lahinch. A headstone, commemorating his career, was presented (1977) to the town by the U.S. Navy and can be viewed at the harbour.

Edna O'Brien
The well-known novelist, was born at Drewsboro House between Tuamgraney and Scarriff.

Count Florimond de Basterot
Friend of Lady Gregory and W. B. Yeats who formerly owned Duras House, near Kinvara. The project for a national theatre, which emerged as the Abbey Theatre, was born here.(1835-1904).