The name comes from the Clare River, which flows through the parish. The parish covers a total area of over 12,000 statute acres.
There are many ancient ruins in the parish, such as the Friary, the DeBurgo Castle (presently being restored) and the Nine Arches Bridge which was recently restored. Claregalway itself is divided into 31 official townlands, used for present day administration. The village has recently transformed into a vibrant, semi-suburban hub, with thousands of new residents now calling it home.