Clare had formed part of the Limerick brigade up till December, 1916. In that month, representatives from all over Clare met in Ennis and decided to form a separate Volunteer brigade of their own, with Paddy Brennan of Meelick as Brigade Commandant. Arising out of this move, there was a recasting of the battalion areas, and so great was the rush of recruits once recruiting for Irish Volunteers re-opened, that now companies were formed in many districts. The area, from Inagh to Milltown-Malbay northwards to Galway and west of the village of Corofin, formed one battalion after this reorganisation, and the Battalion Commandant was Seamus Conneally, Cullinagh. In the selection of officers for the key positions created as a result of the reorganisation, the I.R.B. always played the guiding part behind the scenes and was able to ensure that such positions were filled by members of the I.R.B.
The victory of the Sinn Fein candidate in the East Clare by-election in August, 1917, gave a great boost to the Irish Volunteers, Sinn Fein and other national organisations not alone in Clare but throughout Ireland. In Clare, branches of Sinn Fein sprang up in every parish with the aid of the Irish Volunteers. Cumann na mBan groups and Fianna Sluagh were formed in a number of centres, especially in the big villages and towns. A branch of the Cumman na mBan, formed in Ennistymon about August, 1917, was the first to be started in North Clare, and about the same time a Fianna Sluagh was established in that town which kept going until after the Truce in July, 1921.
During the East Clare by-election, the Irish Volunteers from Clouna marched and drilled publicly when going to attend meetings in support of the Sinn Fein candidate who, of course, was Éamonn de Valera, and on polling day they were very active at the polling stations. The drilling and parading in public, which then began for the first time after the 1916 Rising, continued. In some parts of the battalion area, officers were arrested for having participated in public drilling, but in Kilfenora and Clouna the authorities did not interfere.
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