Kilkee Historical Society

This society was set up in 2012 by local history enthusiasts to study, record and publish aspects of the history of Kilkee and its Loophead hinterland. The intention is to reveal more details of the hidden history of the area and put flesh on the bones of the national narrative.

While parts of Clare have field monuments dating back to the Mesolithic period the area under study only has such evidence of human habitation going back to the Neolithic period (approximately 2000 BC) as proven by the recent identification of Neolithic/Bronze Age wedge tomb on Dunlickey Road, Kilkee. Bronze Age artefacts in the Clare Museum (on loan from the National Museum) from this area show the early culture of the early inhabitants. Field monuments such as promontory forts, ring forts, medieval ecclesiastical sites and tower houses show the rich history of the peoples of Loophead. More recent modern history such as the development of Kilkee as a prominent seaside resort, the devastation of the famine in the area, the influence of various landlords of the area, the arrival of the West Clare Railway, as well as the lives and customs of previous generations of local inhabitants as recalled from living memory are all worthy of more detailed study.

If you would like to join the group or if you have information or records of historical interest or a question regarding some aspect of the history of Kilkee and West Clare please contact us.

History Articles

Holy Wells of West Clare Introduction

With the help of local people and the folklore department of UCD Tommy McGrath got a little history on Holy Wells in West Clare. He got more and more taken in as these are the some of the oldest known monuments that are slowly slipping away if we let it happen.

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Annie Curry’s Story of the Intrinsic Ship

On 30 January 1836 the Intrinsic, a ship from Liverpool bound for New Orleans, was blown into a bay at Look-Out cliffs in Kilkee. The ship was dashed repeatedly against the cliffs and all fourteen crew were drowned. This letter is possibly the only hand written account of what happened on that fateful morning.

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The White Sisters

Two regular visitors to the holiday resort of Kilkee after WWII stayed for 3 months each summer and continued their visits up until the early 60s.  These ladies fascinated the locals and holidaymaker alike due to their dress and unusual behaviours.

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Foogagh Races

The Foogagh race meeting was one of the most popular racing events in the West of Ireland.  Big prize money and a Gold Cup was its attraction and was known locally as the ‘Landlord Races’.

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Sinn Fein Courts in West Clare 1819-1925

By May 1920, Rules for the Courts were established, but in effect, there was already a system of local parish courts set up along the Western Seaboard, in particular in Clare and Mayo –  these were set up on an ad hoc basis without any formal legislative powers but had the wave of nationalism as its main support

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Sea Serpent off Kilkee

An artist’s impression of the scene, published in October 1871, has come to light during the digitisation of an archive of Victorian illustrated newspapers by the Mary Evans Picture Library in London.

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The Crook Memorial Church Kilkee

The opening and dedicatory services of the Crook Memorial Church, Kilkee in 1901 was a source of curiosity leading the author to ask who was the person to whom the church was dedicated, what was his relevance to Kilkee, what was his importance to the Methodist community.

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Coastal Architectural Survey

The Clare Coastal Architectural Heritage Survey is an almost comprehensive survey of structures of vernacular, engineering and architectural value, constructed over the past three centuries.

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Life of Eugene O’Curry

Eugene O’Curry was born in Doonaha in Co. Clare, on the bank of the Shannon some miles east of Loop Head, in November, 1794.

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A Flying visit to Bishop’s Island, Co. Clare

There can only be a handful of Irish church sites that have not been visited and described, however briefly, over the past 150 years. Until recently, Bishop’s Island belonged to this dwindling group.

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