Clare County Library
Clare Places: Towns & Villages
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Historical Background

Quin Journal of Thomas Dineley, 1681
County Clare: A History and Topography 1837 by Samuel Lewis
Parliamentary Gazeteer of Ireland 1845
Guy's Directory 1893
ITA Survey 1942/3

Quin derives its name from "Cuinche", probably meaning the arbutus producing land.  According to local folklore, there was an arbutus grove here in bygone days.  The name could also refer to a quince tree, the acid fruit of which is still used in making preserves.  The names Quint and Quinchy were also applied to Quin in the distant past.

Quin was in the district of Ui Caisin, derived from Cas, which belonged to the MacNamara clan.(See John "Fireball" MacNamara). (Cas was a Celtic chief who had settled in Clare in 420 A.D. and became leader of a people known as Dal Cas.)  Their ownership extended from early in the fifth century up to the fourteenth century.  During this time the clan had complete mastery of their historically defined territories under the Brehon Law system.   The area stretched from Killaloe to Ennis and included the parish of Quin.

Quin is first mentioned as a village in the days of the Norman Castle which preceded the Abbey.

Quin AbbeyNews of the Great Rebellion of 1641 was first announced in Co. Clare "at the great fair of Quin", which must have been a big event in the county of those days.  Samuel Lewis, writing in 1837, gives the following description of Quin.   "A parish in the barony of Bunratty, Co. of Clare, 5 miles (S.E.) from Ennis, on the old road to Limerick; containing 2918 inhabitants, of which number 173 are in the village.  It was anciently called Quint or Quinchy, where, about 1250, an abbey was founded, which was consumed by fire in 1278".

In the 1830's the village of Quin contained 34 houses, was a station of the constabulary police and had a penny post to Newmarket on Fergus.  The land was chiefly in tillage but there was a considerable portion of rocky land and about 320 acres of bog.

Lewis also tells us that "The Quin River, which flows into the Fergus, abounds with fine eels.  At Ballyhickey is a productive lead mine, the property of Hugh Singleton, Esq.; worked by a mining Company; the ore, which is of superior quality, is conveyed to Clare, where it is shipped for Wales".  There was a dispensary in the village in 1837 and a handsome Roman Catholic Church, a spacious cruciform structure, was in course of erection.  This church is still in use today, having been extensively renovated some years ago.

Today, across the road from the Catholic Church stands a memorial plaque to Quin's famous son, PADDY HANNAN. This was unveiled in 1993. 

Quin at the end of the twentieth century is a growing village which has retained its character and charm.