Clare County Library
Clare Places: Towns & Villages
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Historical Background

Kildysart Church County Clare: A History and Topography 1837 by Samuel Lewis
Parliamentary Gazeteer of Ireland 1845
Guy's Directory 1893
ITA Survey 1942/3

Kildysart, or Killadysert, is derived from CILL AN DISIRT MORTHUILE, the church of the deserted place of the big tides or the church of the hermitage of the swollen waters. MORTHUILE can mean a rush of water, a deluge or a tide. A less popular translation would be the hermitage church of the big tide or high tide because when the church was originally built it was erected above the high-water mark rather than on the hill above it. The parish was referred to, in Irish, as DISERTMURTUILE, and sometimes TUATH-NA-FEARNA, territory of the alder trees.

Kildysart is a progressive village. In 1703 the Moland Survey reported "Kildizert is distant from Lymerick 25 miles and 10 from Ennis, has on it ye ruins of an old church and several cabins". By 1837 the village and parish contained a total of 4501 inhabitants scattered over 9485 acres. Most of the land was given over to tillage. Seaweed and sand were in general use for manure and the state of agriculture was improving. In 1837 the village contained about 60 houses, irregularly built. A steamboat passed daily on the way to or from Limerick. There was a market on Wednesdays and fairs were held four times a year. The constabulary police had a substantial barracks in the village, which was one of their chief stations for the county. In 1837 an application had been made to the Board of Public Works for aid in the erection of a pier at Carriginriree, and also to improve the quay near Kildysart. From the latter pigs, corn, butter and other agricultural produce were sent to Limerick in boats; and building materials, groceries and other essentials were brought in. Vessels of 105 tons had been freighted at this quay in those days but it must have silted up considerably since then. Even then it was a tidal harbour and its use was restricted by the level of the water. Most of the islands in the Fergus estuary are in the parish of Kildysart.