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Ireland Gazeteer

Ennis in 1837

ENNIS, the assize town of the county of Clare in Ireland; situated in the barony of Islands on the west bank of the river Fergus, about three miles above the small town of Clare, at which place this river is navigable. The direct distance from Dublin is 136 English miles.

The borough, as settled under the Boundary Act, embraces 469 statute acres, and comprises 1,390 tenements, of which 564 only are slated houses. It is incorporated by charter of the 10th January, and returns one member to the Imperial Parliament. The corporation, consisting of provost and free burgesses, is virtually extinct.

The name of the place was originally Ennis Cluainruadha, so called from Clonroad, a favourite dwelling-place here of the O'Briens, Lords of Thomond. In 1240 Donogh Carbrac O'Brien built a monastery at Ennis for Franciscan friars, the erection of which probably gave origin to the town. It was repaired in 1305 by Turlogh Mac Tiege, and destroyed in 1306 by Dermot Mac Donogh, both of the same family. The ruins are still standing.

Ennis consists of two chief streets, one parallel to the Fergus, over which are three bridges, and one diverging towards Kilrush.

Near the latter are the county gaol and court-house, the only buildings of consequence in the town.

The suburbs consist of wretched cabins. There is no police, neither is Ennis watched, lighted, or regularly cleansed.

There are no manufactures; but there is a moderate trade in grain and cattle.

In 1821 the population of Ennis was 6,701; and in 1831 it was 7,711; the total population within the boundary of the borough in the latter year was 9,727.

In the parish of Drumcliffe, in which Ennis is situated, there were, in 1834, 21 schools educating 772 males and 428 females. Of these schools, four were Sunday-schools, seven were hedge-schools, and one was in connection with the National Board of Education.