Clare County

The open setting of the limestone in the Burren would be considered, somehow, as an open-air museum with the naked containing of it, holding a great amount of Neolithic tombs, Celtic crosses, and early Christian churches. Among those considered to be the best examples of this megalithic tradition in Ireland are the Poulnabrone Dolmen, dated to around 2500 BCE. It stands as a mute testimony to their ancient inhabitants.

Clare’s medieval history is visible in its many castles and ruins, with Bunratty Castle being the most famous. Once more restored to its former glory, the castle and its adjoining folk park bring to life the sights and sounds of medieval Ireland with banquets and craft demonstrations.

While the battle of Clontarf in 1014 is most often linked with Dublin, far-reaching consequences resulted for Clare ruling families and their position within the political structure of the territory.

The Great Famine left its extraordinary print on Clare of the 19th century; the population dropped most dramatically because of hunger, disease, and emigration. Up to this day, one will be able to see the landscape of that era, marked by deserted homes and workhouses that always evoke the concept of suffering. The cultural expression of Clare always thrived on music and dance as the central theme. It was even the capital contribution of Ireland toward traditional Irish music. Clare was home to the legendary figures of Willie Clancy and Martin Hayes, while its festivals, from the Willie Clancy Summer School to countless others, have drawn musicians and fans from the world over.

The cornerstone of social life in Clare, this traditional music scene offers regular sessions in pubs and community halls, providing a wonderful sense of continuity and community. Although spoken to a lesser extent these days, the Irish language can be considered part of what identifies Clare to the extent that some of the areas where it is still spoken have kept and fostered spoken language and Gaelic traditions.

This sense of belonging to culture and heritage infuses into its literature, art, and festivals which all holler about the rich and long history of Clare. History, culture, and rich heritage of County Clare are not dead pieces of bygone ages but are vivid and pulsating alive with the pride of its people aiming at preservation by sharing. It is a county that wears its Irishness on its sleeve, a true beacon both of Irish cultural resilience and Irish creativity, and one is most welcome to be part of its past and living traditions.