County Clare

Maritime county in the south-west of Ireland in the province of Munster. Clare (1,332 square miles) has a population of 103,333. The county is surrounded by water; the Atlantic Ocean to its west; Lough Derg, the largest of the River Shannons lakes, on its east; Galway Bay to the north; and the Shannon estuary on its south. Clare is renowned for its spectacular and rugged beauty. a dramatic coastline runs northward from Loop Head to Ballyvaughan on the shores of Galway Bay. The Cliffs of Moher rise seven hundred feet above the Atlantic Ocean. The Burren, a geological and botanical marvel, resembling a lunar landscape, occupies a large portion of the northwestern part of the county. Prehistoric dolmens, such as Poulnabrone, a neolithic burial chamber dating from 3800B.C., rise starkly above the limestone plateau.

Mullaghmore, a spectacular site of limestone hills, lies in the centre of the Burren, close to a village of Corofin. in the eastern section of the county on the shore of Lough Derg, are the picturesque villages of Killaloe, Mountshannon, and Scarrif.

Clare has a long and rich musical tradition and is considered one of the major centers of traditional Irish music. Tulla, Kilfenora, Kilrush, and Miltown Malbay in particular, which hosts the annual Willie Clancy Summer School - a week long festival of traditional music, song, and dance - are known for the unique Clare style of traditional Irish music. Famous musicians associated with the county include Sharon Shannon, Junior Crehan, Tommy People, Jackie Daly, Noel Hill.

The rich and colorful folklore of the county includes the Biddy Early legend: a wise woman in the vicinity of the village of Feackle who reputedly could cure all manner of ailments and often ran afoul of the clergy. The writers Edna O'Brien and Brian Merriman are natives of the county.

Clare's economy is based on tourism, agriculture, and some multinational industry, mostly based in Shannon International Airport.

County Clare holds a unique place in Ireland's political history. It was here that two of the country's greatest nationalist leaders were first elected to Parliament, Daniel O'Connell in 1828 and Eamon de Valera in 1917. Between the tenth and twelfth centuries, the Dal Cais dynasty, which was centered in the eastern part of Clare, reached the peak of its power under Brian Boruma. John Holland, the inventor of the submarine, was born in Liscannor. Ennis, the county's capital, is the first totally on-line community in the country.

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