Friday, 15 March 2013


May will herald one of the most important events to be held in Ireland...

This is the full programme of events for the Kilrush Famine Commemoration, May 3rd to May 12th .

 The above is just one of the many heart wrenching illustrations on the Famine Commemoration site.. to view more visit

 The site is very comprehensive... you may like to read about the history, part of which is below...


CILL ROIS, meaning the church of the woods has existed since the 16th century but it was not until the 18th century that it underwent major development. This development coincided with the succession of John Ormsby Vandeleur as the wealthiest landlord in the district. Of Dutch origin, the Vandeleur Family was the most prominent landlord family in West Clare. They designed the layout of the town and many of the present day street names derive from Vandeleur family names.
John Ormsby Vandeleur built the large family home, Kilrush House in 1808 and by that stage he practically owned Kilrush.  Scots businessman James Patterson, who had been a gunboat lieutenant until 1802 became a friend of John Ormsby Vandeleur and entered the oats trade in West Clare, in 1802 he got a site on the square from Vandeleur and erected a six-storey building.
The Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815) lead to an improvement in agricultural prices and Kilrush and the neighbouring countryside began to prosper.  In 1812 Patterson went into the shipping business and by 1817 he had a steamboat operating regularly between Limerick & Kilrush. The increasing popularity of Kilkee as a bathing resort brought many transit travellers to Kilrush.
In 1837 Kilrush was described as a seaport, market and post town. The main industries were flannels, stockings and bundle cloth. The main trade was corn, butter, pigs, agricultural products and hides. There were works for refining rock salt for domestic use, a tanyard, a soap factory and a nail factory. Branches of the national and agricultural banks opened in the town and a constabulary police force was also stationed here.  A small bridewell was built in 1825 and a court house in 1831.
The famine years (1845-1849) brought much hardship to Kilrush, the evictions, fever and cholera reduced the population of south-west Clare to such an extent that it never attained its pre famine numbers.  In the post famine era, the Vandeleur name became synonymous with the worst of landlord evictions, with over 20,000 evicted in the Kilrush area. The Kilrush workhouse witnessed terrible deprivation and deaths. By that stage Hector Vandeleur had succeeded John Ormsby Vandeleur.


  1. Thanks for this info, Chris... especially the links.

  2. You're welcome, Catherine...


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