Doolin and the West of County Clare
Doolin derives its name from two pools, Dá Linn, that were located to the east of Doolin House. These linns or pools no longer exist but the town land of Doolin gives its collective name to a large section of the old parish of Killilagh extending from the church at Knockfinn to the pier at Ballaghliine and comprising the villages of Toomullin, Roadford and Fisherstreet. Ring forts, earth forths, souterrains, the ruins of two fifteenth-century churches, the site of an ancient axe factory, a court cairn, Iron Age barrows the remains of Doonmacfelim Castle, the restored Doonagore Castle, a silver mine phosphate mines and flagstone quarries are evidence of continuous human presence here over a period of 6,000 years.
Doolin was a Gaeltacht area into the 1940, is renowned for Traditional Irish Music since the 1950s, is the home of the late Russell brothers, and is the nearest mainland link with the Aran Islands. Ballaghline, from Bealagh A’ Laighean, the way to Leinster, is an eighteenth- century smugglers’ name given to an area near the pier from which Captain Anthony Mac Donagh sent his Wild Geese to serve in France.
The River Aille was mined for phosphate to such a degree that it now disappears underground in dry weather. The flat shale pebbles found in the river bed here were easily converted into the axes with sharp cutting edges. The stone axes manufactured in Doolin over five thousand years ago have been found on the Islands of south Connemara as well as in Inverin, Rosaveel, Roundstone, Omey Island and Clifden. There is a court cairn in Teergonean, on the Doolin Commons. Like other such monuments it seems to have served as a tomb, shrine or place of ritual worship. Three such tombs are noted in Clare and a total of four between the other southern counties of Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford and Kilkenny. Cremated remains were interred in the chambers of these court cairns and people, worshippers or mourners, gathered in the oval courts which opened to face northwards.
Doolin was a Gaeltacht area where many of the older inhabitants spoke only Irish. Between 1929 and 1930 , two young American anthropologists Seamus and Conrad Maynaider Arensberg and Solon Toothaker Kimball came to record a vast collection of North Clare folklore. In fact they lived at Carey’s Farmhouse, Doolin using what they observed and what they were told, they wrote about the lives , relationships and economy of the small farmer class and the people of the town. Family and Community in Ireland and The Irish Countryman are products of their work. To day the tradition lives on with guests coming from all over the world to visit Emohruo Careys Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast in Doolin by the sea on the coastal road to the Cliffs of Moher on the West Coast of Ireland.
Just 3.5 kms south of Doolin are the majestic Cliffs of Moher, battling daily with the Atlantic ocean. They rise in places to over 200 mtrs. A modern visitor centre is open all year round.
6 kms east of Doolin is Lisdoonvarna, Ireland's only Spa town.
Doolin is on the fringe of the world famous Burren, a remarkable limestone area which has a combination of many visual features that make it unique in Europe. Its geology, flora, caves, archaeology and history set it apart as a place of mystery and beauty - an explorer's dream. The Burren Display Centre in Kilfenora helps unravel many of the Burren's mysteries.