Picture: Cappa Pier in the 1890s
Like numerous towns and villages in Ireland whose names begin with Kil-, the origins of the name Kilrush refer to a church. It is believed that this refers specifically to the remains of a church to be found in the churchyard of the former Church of Ireland church at Grace Street. The -rush may come from the Irish word, ross, usually taken to mean a wood, so Kilrush, or Cill Rois in Irish, means church of the woods.
Kilrush is considered an oddity among Irish country towns: the street layout was carefully planned by the local landlords, the Vandeleur Family. The most spectacular street, Frances Street, runs from the square towards the 120 berth state of the art marina facility. Boat trips depart from here to spend some time in the company of the Shannon bottlenose dolphins and also to see the early Christian ruins on Scattery Island, now uninhabited. The ruins consist of a well-preserved round tower, an ice-house and some churches. The original monastic settlement was an important one; the founder was St. Senan, still a popular local first name. However the Vikings found it an easy prey and sacked it several times.
Kilrush is a town of great historical significance, being one of the listed Heritage Towns of Ireland. It is in the province of Munster. The population in 2006 was Town: 2,694 and Urban 2,657. Ten kilometres from Kilrush is the seaside resort of Kilkee, situated on a sandy horseshoe bay on the Atlantic coast. Some seven miles from Kilrush is the river-side village of Killimer. A steady stream of road traffic uses a ferry which sails back and forth to Tarbert on the Kerry shore, a voyage of about 20 minutes which obviates the need for a lengthy detour by way of Limerick.
Please plan to visit the parish, where you will be guaranteed a warm welcome.