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Ennis historical trails

Four walking trails through one of Ireland's most historic towns form a new attraction in Ennis. The concept is developed around the interpretation of Ennis’ heritage, through a range of colour coded directional signs and information boards along designated historic routes.

Established in the 13th century when the O'Brien's of Thomond built an Abbey on the banks of the River Fergus, Ennis has long thrived as a bustling market town and is famed for its narrow winding streets. The Clare County Capital is associated with pivotal moments in the careers of some of Ireland's most famous political figures, including Charles Stewart Parnell, Daniel O'Connell and Eamon de Valera. 

Each route commences and finishes outside the Clare Museum building in the town centre. There are forty-one information boards at key locations in Ennis' history, including O'Connell Square and Ennis Abbey, as well as the Cathedral, West Clare Railway, Workhouse, Causeway and Gaol.

Ennis is a late intrusion into the prehistoric landscape of what is now County Clare. The town evolved within the monastic termon of Drumcliffe, a community older than Christianity. It was the last-stand stronghold of the Royal O'Briens, a dynasty established by the sword. The O'Briens became patrons of the Anglo-Norman Church and established a Franciscan Friary.

Ennis replaced Cashel, Limerick and Kincora as the O'Brien capital of Thomond. It maintained its status as the capital town after the O'Briens abdicated in favour of English titles in 1543. The kingdom of Thomond was reduced and absorbed with the formation of County Clare in 1584. The O'Brien town of Ennis remained as official capital, a position it holds to the present day.

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