ENNISTYMON, a market and post town, in the parish of Kilmanaheen, barony of Corcomroe, county of Clare, and province of Munster, 16 1/2 miles (W. by N.) from Ennis and 128 (W. by S.) from Dublin, on the river Inagh, and on the mail road from Ennis to Milton-Malbay; containing 241 houses and 1430 inhabitants. The town, though irregularly built, has a picturesque appearance. A little below the bridge the river, which has its source in the mountains to the sourth-east, rushes over an extensive ridge of rocks and forms a beautiful cascade, at a short distance from which it joins the river Derry; the latter forms a junction with the river Inagh, and the united streams fall into the Altantic at Liscanor bay, about 1 1/2 miles west of the town. Races are occasionally held at Lahinch, on the bay of Liscanor, for the amusement of visiters during the bathing season. This place had formerly a considerable market for strong knit woollen stockings, which were purchased in large quantities by dealers for supplying Dublin and the north of Ireland; but since the improvement of the stocking machinery this trade has gradually declined, and is now chiefly confined to the immediate neighbourhood. The market, which is held on Saturday, is well supplied with provisions, and is also a good mart for the sale of corn and pigs; and fairs are held on March 25th, May 15th, July 2nd, Aug. 22nd, Sept 29th, Nove 19th and Dec. 17th, for general farming stock. Sea sand for manure is brought up the river, and in the vicinity are raised thin flags, used for roofing and other purposes; a body of manganese appears on the edge of bog near the river. Coal was found in the neighbourhood several years since, and some of it sent to Galway and Limerick, but from its inferior quality the works were discontinued. Quarter sessions are held here four times in the year; also petty sessions weekly on Monday. The session house and district bridewell form a neat and commodious building, considered one of the best in the county. A senescals' court for the manor of Ennistymon is held about once in each month for the recovery of small debts. Here is a chief constabulary police station. The church, erected in 1830, is a handsome cruciform struction, in the later English style, with an octagonal tower on its south side resting on a square base; it is advantageously situated at the northern entrance of the town; and on an eminence to the east are the ruins of the old church. The RC chapel is a large and substantial building, erected about 12 years since; the old chapel has been converted into a school. The male and female free schools are supported by subscriptions, and by the proceeds of an annual charity sermon at the chapel; a school is also supported partly by Archdeacon Whitty, and partly by pupils' fees; and there is a public dispensary. Immediately adjoining the town is Ennistymon Castle, formerly a seat of the O'Brien family, descendants of the Earls of Thomond, and now the residence of Andrew Finucane, Esq.: it is boldly situated on the north bank of the river, is surrounded by a richly wooded park, and contains some fine old family pictures. At a short distance is a glebe house, the residence of the Ven. Archdeacon Whitty, a handsome and substantial mansion of recent erection, situated in a pleasing demesne, which is ornamented by young and thriving plantations. An abbey is said ot have formerly existed here, over which St. Luchtighern presided--see Kilmanaheen. Samuel Lewis, 1837
The Clare Guild. Official Guide of County Clare, by D. Roche
County Clare, A History and Topography. Reprinted by Clasp Press, 1995, from A History and Topography of County Clare which was originally published in 1837 as part of A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland.
Ennistymon may be reached directly from Ennis by the N85 road through Inagh. The town, on the River Cullenagh, is a noted fishing centre. The river at this point passes over the famous falls. Ennistymon, now a small market town, grew up around an O'Brien castle, build in 1588. The poet, Brian Merriman, was born here in 1749. Its Catholic parish church, built in 1853, deserves inspection. The remains of an earlier church in the graveyard date from 1778. Its site is that of St. Mainchin's Church (580) which has disappeared. The town is remarkable for its shopfronts, which according to a commentator, "provide a rare panorama of contrasting colours and a lively rhythm of shapes and planes of truly human scale." There is a very pleasant riverside walk in the village.
Lahinch (Leacht Ui Chonchuir - O'Connor's Grave), formeraly know as Leath Inse, or peninsula, from its water-boung location its present Irish name derives from a prominent member of the O'Connor clan whe is buried here. Lahinch, some 3 km west of Ennistymon is a very popular holiday resort, noted for its bathing beach and even more famous for its championship links and 18 hole golf course.
Liscannor (Lios Ceannuir - Ceannur's Fort), on the far side of Liscannor Bay, 5 km north west of Lahinch. It is a smal fishing village. Kilmacreehy, or St. Macreehy's Church, 1.5 km east of Liscannor, is a medieval parish church, with nave and chancel. It was built in the early 12th century, on the site of a famous school founded by St. Macreehy in the 6th century. The castle ruin in the village, built by the O'Connors, became an O'Brien stronghold and was occupied by Sir. Turlough O'Brien during the threatened invasion at the time of the Spanish Armada.
Cliffs of Moher (Ailltreacha Mothair), are majestic cliffs, among the most magnificent stretches of cliff scenery in these islands, front the Atlantic to the height of nearly 200 m and extend for a distance of 8 km from Hag's Head due west of Liscannor to a point beyond O'Brien's Tower. They take their name from a ruined promontory fort, Mothar, which was demolished during the Napoleonic wars to make room for a sign tower.
Hag's Head promontory, on the road from Liscannor is visible in the distance but can only be reached by foot. The old lady who gave her name to the point is said to have been Mal of Malbay. The attribution was helped by the large rock formation on the point which bears some resemblance to a seated woman looking out to sea.
O'Brien's Tower was built in 1835 by the altruist, Sir Cornelius O'Brien, M.P. as an observation point for "strangers visiting the Magnificent Scenery of this neighbourhood". The tower marks the highest point (200 m) of the cliff range and gives the best and most comprehensive view of cliff and ocean.
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Ennistymon derives its name from INIS DIAMAIN which is generally translated as Diamain’s river meadow. Westropp thought the name might signify the fruitful riverside meadow. Dinneen’s dictionary gives a choicer translation of the name which could signify the hidden or secret island and a more prosaic rendering of DIA-MHAOIN, as in reference to ecclesiastical property, may be more exact as a Saint Luchtighern is reputed to have had an abbey here.
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The Ennistymon Teach Cheoil is located 25km northwest of Ennis on N85 Lisdoonvarna Road. The Ennistymon branch of Comhaltas was originally formed in 1958, but ceased to function in 1961. It was re-established in 1981 and has gone from strength to strength since then. The branch has many junior and senior members. The branch musicians have won many trophies, including All-Ireland trophies in solo, duet, trio, and céilí band competitions.