Introducing this website
Clonlara (Cluain Lára – Meadow of the Mare) is situated in the south east of County Clare in the civil parish of Kiltonanlea and the barony of Tulla Lower. It lies between the River Shannon to the east and south and the Clare hills to the west and north.
Clonlara is a unique village that lies between two canals. These canals were important national Civil Engineering construction projects a century and a half apart. The Errina Canal, part of the Limerick Navigation system linked Limerick to Dublin and was built during the mid to late18th Century.
Clonlara was at the epicentre of the Shannon Scheme as it lay between Parteen weir and Ardnacrusha power station. The headrace Canal was constructed in the late 1920s and carries the water from the river Shannon to the power station. Many farms and townlands were divided, rivers diverted, bridges built and new roads created as a result of these works. Clonlara’s landscape has experienced great changes through the past two centuries.
Clonlara has many remaining features from various historical eras. A well-preserved ring fort from the Stone Age can be found to the north of the village. The Normans built several tower houses in the area, the best-preserved of which is at Coolistigue. Cromwell left his mark by the allocation of large tracts of land to loyal supporters. The Earl of Thomond’s lease to the Massy family meant many “Gentrified” demesnes were built along the scenic river side and the remaining grand houses were situated on Clonlara’s prime land (a total of seventeen houses, ten of which were situated along the banks of the Shannon).
As a result of these large residences there was employment available for the locals in the “big houses” on these estates. There was also employment at the local industrial projects; limekilns (including a double limekiln), saving turf on the bogs and bleaching linen at the local mill at Waterpark House. By the 19 th Century, Clonlara was a busy village, containing three forges, two grocers, a post office, a constabulary barracks, a dispensary, a courthouse, two schools and two churches.
Welcome to the Clonlara Community History and Heritage Website. We extend a warm welcome to you, whether you’re a Clonlara local, a member of the global Irish diaspora, or simply a lover of rich and layered history. As part of the Irish Community Archive Network (ICAN), we’re dedicated to preserving and sharing the unique history and vibrant cultural heritage of Clonlara, a charming village nestled in the heart of Co. Clare.
Our digital archive is a treasure trove of captivating local stories, archival photographs, informative articles, and fascinating oral histories. Additionally, you will discover an extensive collection of maps and school records that offer unique insights into Clonlara’s past. These resources not only chronicle our village’s history but also reveal the heart of a community shaped by its natural surroundings, built environment, and rich cultural tapestry.
We believe that this digital archive is an important tool in informing future generations about the experiences and accomplishments of their forebears. It also serves as a beacon for those from the Irish diaspora and descendants of Clonlara, reconnecting them with their ancestral roots and helping to strengthen the ties that bind our global community.
This community archive website was developed by Clonlara Heritage Group in partnership with ICAN, an initiative of the National Museum of Ireland delivered in partnership with the Heritage Council and & Clare County Heritage Office
This website is created by a group of volunteers. We’re always interested in new recruits, so if you’re interested please contact us.
Together, we can ensure that the tale of Clonlara continues to be told for generations to come. Join us on this remarkable journey through time, exploring the life and history of Clonlara, Co. Clare. Welcome to our shared heritage.
Contributing to the site
We are continuously striving to expand and enrich our digital collection. Therefore, we warmly invite you to become an active participant in this community project. You can add a comment about anything on the website by clicking on the ‘Add a comment’ link at the bottom of each page.
Alternatively, if you have historical information, stories, or photographs related to Clonlara, we would be delighted to add them to our growing archive. For more details on how you can contribute, or if you wish to learn more about us and our mission, please use our contribution form.