Clare County Library
Clare Places: Towns & Villages
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Historical Background

Holiday Haunts on the West Coast of Clare by H B H 1891
Guy's Directory 1893
Micho’s Dozen: Traditional Songs from the repertoire of Micho Russell

Doolin probably derives from "dubh linn", the dark pool. The area known as Doolin is really the parish of KILLEILAGH or the ancient territory of "Tuath Clae". It belonged to a distinct branch of the O’Briens, called Glae (or Clae) after the name of their lands.

Doolin was a gaeltacht area where many of the older inhabitants spoke only Irish. Between 1929 and 1930 Seamus Delargy came here to record a vast collection of North Clare folklore. In the 1920s and 30s when Doolin was a sleepy fishing village it was discovered by the bohemian set. Artists and writers, including J.M. Synge, George Bernard Shaw, Dylan Thomas, Augustus John and Oliver St. John Gogarty spent some time here, mainly in the welcoming atmosphere of O’Connors pub. The pub dates back to 1832 and was originally known as Shannons.

A visit to Doolin would be incomplete without touching on music. It is intrinsic to the place and its people. The RUSSELL BROTHERS, Micho, Pakie and Gussie, played a major role in putting Doolin on the music map. By the 1960s their names, and that of Gussie O’Connor, were synonymous with Irish music and song at Doolin. With the increasing popularity of Irish music, international visitors started to visit Doolin from 1970 onwards. You are likely to come across a music session in one of Doolin’s three pubs (O'Connors, McDermotts and McGanns) at any time of year. Doolin has been described as a national shrine to Irish traditional music and a paradise for geologists, botanists, ornithologists, speleologists and walkers. The Community Council is very active locally and tourism numbers continue to grow.