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Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland 1845


A fishing-village in the parish and barony of Moyarta, Co. Clare, Munster.  It stands at the head of a small bay of its own name, on the north side of the estuary of the Shannon, 8 miles east by north of Loop Head, and about the same distance in a straight line west by south of Kilrush.  The village conducts a comparatively important fishery, and has also a large turf trade with Limerick.  The bay is small, very much exposed, and almost destitute of natural harbour advantages.  An artificial harbour consisting of a pier 150 feet long, and a quay-wall extending 290 feet inland, with an excavated channel for the admittance of craft was constructed at the charge of the county on presentment, and afterwards repaired by the late Fishery Board; but, in consequence of its having been built upon the minor part of an extensive flat, it is of little use, and often wants sufficient depth of water in neap-tides for boats.  The Commissioners for improving the Navigation of the Shannon say, in reference to Carrigaholt bay: "From the mention that has frequently been made of this roadstead as a harbour of refuge, the urgent representations that have been put forth for improved accommodation for the shipment of agricultural produce, we caused a survey of the locality to be made; and, having given the subject every consideration, we are persuaded that no useful harbour could be formed without incurring an enormous outlay; nor could any sufficient improvement be made, even for the accommodation of boats and small vessels, except at an expense out of proportion to the advantages anticipated.  We have, however, prepared a plan for a pier, on the smallest scale, suited to the situation, the estimate for which amounts to 5,600."  Close on the margin of the bay, and at the spot where the pier planned by the Commissioners was proposed to commence, stands the old castle of Carrigaholt, similar in history to most of the one hundred and eighteen castles of the county, and not very many years ago inhabited.  In the village is a Roman Catholic chapel; a little to the north is the mansion of Nicholas Wesby, Esq., the proprietor of the grounds around the fishing-pier; and a little to the south, but nearer Kilcredone, is a coast-guard station.  The dispensary of Carrigaholt and Kilkee is within the Kilrush Poor-law union, and serves for a population of 17,730; and, in 1839-40, it expended 109 18s. 5d., and made 4,036 dispensations of medicine.  Area of the village, 25 acres. Pop., in 1841, 426.  Houses 69.

The Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland, 1845
Courtesy of Clare Local Studies Project

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