County Clare

Published in Early Modern History (1500–1700), Issue 6 (Nov/Dec 2012), Letters, Volume 20

Sir,—May I point out an error in the article on counties, palatinates, boroughs and ridings in the last issue (HI 20.5, Sept./Oct. 2012)? County Clare (now Clarecastle), which was briefly named as the county town by Elizabethan administrators in the 1570s. This is attested to in the Annals of the Four Masters (James Frost, The history and topography of the County of Clare (1891), p. 121). Was the village of Clare named after de Clare? Clare was so named at least prior to 1251. A document from the king of England to another Norman adventurer, Robert de Muscegros, remitted rent for the castles at Bunratty and Clare in that year (Cal. Doc. Ire., 1171–1307, i, no. 3126). This pre-dates the grant of Thomond (much of modern-day County Clare) by Edward I to Thomas de Clare by 25 years. The castle was sited on an island in the River Fergus, which was connected at either side by two weirs. In the Irish Annals the place is called Clár Átha an Dá Choradh—‘the board of the ford of the two weirs’. The same mistake has been made with regard to Richard de Clare, the better-known son of Thomas, who was killed at the battle of Dysert O’Dea in 1318.—Yours etc.,

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