Clondagad (County Clare)

Welcome to Clondagad

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The 1821-1851 census returns were almost destroyed in a fire, the 1861-1891 census returns were destroyed by the Government. The 1901-1911 census returns are available on line free of charge on line on the National Archives of Ireland website.


Clondegad and Kilchreest parishes are now known as Ballynacally and Lissycasey with the neigbouring parishes been Kildysart, Ballyea, Kilmaley and Kilmihil.

People and Place...Our Past Is Who We Are..

We welcome you to Clondegad and its cascading falls, and the beautiful village of Ballynacally which binds our ancient parish townlands together in this hidden gem of Irelandas Shannon Region. This is a land steeped in traditions and lore, music and culture, and moulded by turbulent histories and dramatic events. Its enrapturing, stunning vistas over the island spangled confluences of the great Irish rivers of the lordly Shannon and Fergus, has entranced many visitors over the centuries and has inspired great works of literature.

The parish of Clondegad from the sweet heathered moors of Gleann and the ancient forts of Decomeadas valleys to the fertile crags and open pastures of the south has evoked a tirghra, the Irish word for love of place, that rests strong with its sons and daughters to this day both at home and across the world and inspired famed lives and legend. Its tranquil, tidal moods take you along from the soothing river embrace which hugs its southern borders, intersected only by the island studded Fergus estuary, to idyllic river meadows, corcasses and geological layers which bore up coal from the earth.

Then you are brought to the heartlands of the parish and you feel its history, its folklore and its faith at every pulse, an ecclesiastical land where once towering fortresses and churches prevailed. Its natural and built landscape has been pretty much shaped by God bar the rich mudflats or slob lands of the Fergus around Islandavanna which were reclaimed over a century ago due to the sweat of hardworking people and inspiration of the aptly named entrepreneur, H.G. Drinkwater.

This melodic and fertile region of eastern Corca Baiscinn is a place where ancient rocks and holy trails signpost the way to hidden histories and pilgrim rests. Through this all, there has remained a constant. A trade that was built up with far flung Iberian lands and North African kingdoms, over four thousand years ago by the earliest settlers in this Fergus estuary region, which witnessed the creation of great gold hoardes, as skilfully crafted and plentiful as anywhere in the Aegean and classical worlds, was continued in various forms over the years with new markets and civilisations

It was well remarked upon in a more recent era that there was as much commerce between this parish and neighbouring counties and peoples linked by the Shannon and its islands as with all of Clare. It has engendered an outward eye to lands beyond, a distinctive trait which manifests itself in the warm hospitality experienced by visitors to this day amongst locals.
We welcome you to Clondegad and Ballynacally the beautiful, a place local generations and visitors have been known to call Paradise.
It awaits you...

Within the many and varied regions of Clare are areas of distinctive beauty, enhanced by their hidden, secluded nature. Not often marked on tourist trails, they possess a capacity to surprise and delight, and it is here amongst such places and people in Clondegad that the true Banner of Clare unfurls. Clondegad could be soundly described as the beat of the heritage heart of Clare, and its story mirrors the story of our county and country at large.

The parish name derives from the Gaelic, Cluain an Da Ghad, or the river meadow of the two sticks, a reference to its early religious origins. If Rome had its legend of the wolf fed twins, Romulus and Remus, as an allegory for the birth of its eternal city, so too had Clondegad with its two spiritual fathers, Saints Scribhaun and Fiddaun. They too had their own quarrel.

When it was settled that the holy man who could perform the miracle of making aan osier of withesa or a stick float upriver against the flow of the Abhann Sliabh (mountain river) would remain in situ to administer to the spiritual beliefs of the area and the other to go further upriver, Scribhaun emerged victorious. To this day these saints are venerated in the parish, Scribhaun at Tobar Scribhaun by the Clondegad Falls and Fiddaun at Toberniddaun in Lissycasey.

The 10th of September was a day held sacred to Scribhaun and the recording of a nearby footprint etched in stone would have marked it out as a place of pilgrimage. The perpetual jousts and dalliances between Christ and Caesar, in the shape of monastic churches and nunneries, local chieftains and invading forces have left their mark not just on the architectural landscape but in the placenames of the parish itself.

Clondegad cemetery is situated in the barony of the islands beside the Owenslieve River. There is evidence in the area to suggest a very early settlement and it was once the focal point of the parish of Clondegad. OaDonovan believed that an earlier church existed on the site of the present protestant ruins which date to 1809. Local folklore tells us that the oldest stone in Clondegad dates to 1686. It is also recorded in aAntiquities of County Clarea by John OaDonovan and Eugene OaCurry in 1839 that on a stone inserted in the wall was the following inscription: aWithin this burial place lies interred the body of George Ross, Esq., who was the founder thereof. He died on the 19th May 1700, in the 79th year of his age. This monument was erected the same year by his kinsman, Mr. Robert Harrisona. No trace of this stone was found during the recent survey.

In all 152 inscriptions are recorded for Clondegad. There are some worthy of note:- the Whitstone Vault, the graves of the Reverend Canon OaShaughnessy, thirty years P.P. of Clondegad who died in 1846, the slab stone on Tho. Wright who died in 1777 which has interesting carvings including a hammer and anvil and also the grave of John Daly

Clondagad and its History

The parish is said to have derived its name from two druids, Screabaun and Fiddaun, having contested with each other in magic, making their agadsa float up the streamano great miracle in the tidal partaand Screabaun won. A rock recess or bed of Screabaun is shown near the river. The present Chruch with its rounded acornersa and western belfry, is very modern, having been rebuilt in 1809.

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O'Grady/ McMahon/Moy 13 Dec 2020 0:04
O'Brien and Kelly Families Clondegad Parish 8 Oct 2019 19:09
Searching for descendants of the Griffin Family of Lismorris 6 Jan 2017 18:04
McAuley of Ballynacally 26 Mar 2016 1:47

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