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Clare County Library's Local Studies Centre is a reference library and research centre dedicated to the collection of material on any aspect of County Clare. Located at the Manse, beside the de Valera Library in Ennis, it is open to the public free of charge. The Centre also houses a collection of Irish interest material. Much of the material in the Local Studies Centre has been digitised and published online by the library's Information Services Department, based in Library Headquarters.
Books - The Centre aims to collect all published books relating to Clare, all books by Clare-born authors and any general publications containing Clare material. This Clare Collection contains c.3,000 titles dealing primarily with the history, archaeology and topography of the county. Directories, almanacs, topographical dictionaries and unpublished works such as theses and projects are also part of the collection. The Irish Collection comprises c.10,000 works on all facets of Irish society. The full collection of books housed in the Local Studies Centre can be searched online by selecting the 'Local Studies' option in the Collection list in OPAC, our online library catalogue.
Celtic Times 1887
Journals - The Local Studies Centre contains a comprehensive collection of Irish journal titles including all major Irish historical and geographical publications. Journals of specific relevance to Clare include The North Munster Antiquarian Journal, Dal gCais, The Other Clare, Molua, The Clare Association Yearbook and Sliabh Aughty. Local Parish and sporting magazines are also collected.
Newspapers - The following newspapers are available:
Clare Champion 1903-present (see Index to Biographical Notices in the Clare Champion 1935-1985)
Clare Freeman and Ennis Gazette Feb 1853-Jan 1884
Clare Independent and Tipperary Catholic Times 1877-1885
Clare Journal and Ennis Advertiser 1778-1779, 1787, 1791-1792, 1794-1799, 1801-1805, 1807-1812, 1815-1816, 1818-1822, 1826-1917
Clare People 1977-1980
Clare People 2005 - present
Copies of the national daily papers are held for three months
County Express 1979-present
Dunboyne Collection of newspaper clippings 1824-1873
Ennis Chronicle and Clare Advertiser 1788-1797, 1799-1812, 1814-1820, 1825-1831
Ennis Express 1979-1982
The Freeman's Journal 1763-1820
Irish Times 1859-1870; 1916-1922; 1987-2007
Kilrush Herald and Kilkee Gazette 1879 (5 June-18 December 1879), 1880 (1 January-18 March 1880), 1889-1896, 1900
Limerick and Clare Examiner 1846-1855Limerick Reporter 1845-1852
Limerick Evening Post 1811-1818
Pue's Occurrences 1752, 1758, 1759
Saturday Record 1885-1887, 1890-Sept 1936
Sunday Tribune 1983-1987
- The photographic collection contains c. 4,500 prints of Clare scenes.
The Lawrence Collection (1870-1914) is the largest in the archive. A
selection of the Lawrence prints can be viewed in Foto: Clare county
images online. Other collections include the Westropp
Collection (1900), the McNamara
Collection (1910), The
Irish Tourist Association Survey (1943), and the Bluett
Railways (1940s-1950s) and Postcard
Collections. The Schorman
Collections contain recent images of Clare's archaeological heritage,
and the Killaloe
Heritage Centre Collection comprises many private photographs of
the Killaloe area and its inhabitants.
Estate Records - The Petworth House Collection comprises filmed copies of some papers of Lord Egremont, who held extensive lands in Clare, during the 17th and early 18th centuries. The Studdert Papers includes details of the Burton, Arthur, Lloyd, Studdert, North and other estates between 1880 and 1930. The O'Brien Rent Rolls date from 1685 to 1828. Manuscripts relating to the Duke of Buckingham's estate in north-west Clare in 1847 and 1848.
Twigge Collections - Filmed copies of The Twigge Collections (held in the British Library) comprising "Materials for a history of Clann-Cuilein" by Robert William Twigge containing historical, topographical and genealogical collections relating to Clann Chuliéin, or "Macnamara's Country", in East Clare.
Office of Ulster King of Arms, later the Genealogical Office - The Local Studies Centre holds three reels of microfilm of documents [follow link here for more info...] from the Genealogical Office at the National Library of Ireland, before 1943 known as the Office of Ulster King of Arms, including some of the collection of the late Alfred Molony who compiled Clare material drawn from the Ennis Chronicle and the Clare Journal. The Irish Times wrote of the Molony compendium of genealogical information (11 March 1943): 'Molony's interest in genealogy led him to go through these newspaper files, painstakingly copying out all announcements of marriages or deaths of prominent merchants, landowners and clergymen and putting these notebooks in alphabetical order.'
Land Surveys - The Books of Survey and Distribution record landed proprietors and their estates during the 2nd half of the 17th Century. Thomas Moland surveyed the Earl of Thomond's estate, which included large tracts of land in Clare, in 1703 and 1711-12. The Tithe Applotment Books (1830s) and Griffith's Valuation (1855), similarly, give information on land holding in the 19th Century.
Records of Local Government - Grand Jury Presentment Books, outlining the construction of roads in the county, have survived, in part, since 1830 as has the Corporation Book of Ennis (1660-1810).
List of Proposals adopted by the Proposals Committee and Rural District Councils and considered by the County Council at half-yearly meetings, 1903-1920 (incomplete).
- The Scheme for the Collection and Preservation of Folklore and Oral
Tradition, known as the Schools'
Scheme, undertaken by the Folklore Commission in 1937-8, operated
in nearly 200 Clare National Schools. Under the scheme, senior pupils
were asked to collect folklore from their own areas and write essays
on the material they gathered. Copies of the resultant manuscripts are
available at the Local Studies Centre.
Parliamentary Legislation - A comprehensive collection of nineteenth and twentieth century statute law of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, starting in 1814 (54 Geo 111) and ending in 1921 (11 & 12 Geo 5) is held in the Local Studies Centre, along with the Public General Acts passed by the Oireachtas of Saorstát Éireann from 1922, and subsequently by Dáil Éireann. The Index to the Statutes 1922 to 1968 with chronological tables is also available.
Government Publications - One of the principal sources for local studies of the 19th Century are government publications known as the Parliamentary Papers. Many of these publications contain substantial material of a local nature included in minutes of evidence and appendices.
Some copies of the annual reports of the Deputy Keeper of the former Public Record Office of Ireland and of the former State Papers are also available.
The Census has been taken each decade since
1821 and provides information on population, housing, age, sex, occupation,
agriculture, emigration and other topics. The Centre also holds copies
of the 1901 and 1911 census manuscript forms for county Clare, which
provide detailed information on each resident of the county in those
years. The 1901
Census is available on this website. The Old
Age Pension Returns of 1841 and 1851 for the county are
Church of Ireland Parish Records
The Reports of Commissioners for enquiring into the condition of the Poorer Classes in Ireland, 1835-7, have data on the circumstances of impoverished women, children and the old and infirm.
Bureau of Military History, Clare Witness Statements,
The Bureau has assembled a total of 1773 witness statements along with other documentary sources such as voice recordings, photographs and press cuttings. Detailed instructions governed the taking of statements as obtaining an accurate factual account from witnesses was the paramount concern of the Bureau. General information on the military archives of the Bureau of Military History can be found in the publication “An Introduction to the Bureau of Military History 1913 – 1921” (Dublin, 2002). There are copies of 43 Clare witness statements available. These can be viewed online here.
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