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Acting as a region of Ireland, County Clare has geographical features such as lakes, cliffs, mountains, and fields. With signs of human life dating back to 10,500 BC, Clare has the most evidence of ancient life in the country.[1] Known as "The Banner County," the area is recognized for its history of symbolic banners. Multiple of these banners were led at political events.[7] The colors saffron and blue act as the county colors, which houses the most western airport in Europe.[9] Towns and villages are some of the most visited places in County Clare, along with places like Knappogue Castle, the Cliffs of Moher, Doolin Cave, the Doolin Cliff Walk, Fanore Beach, the Burren Way, and the Aillwee Caves.[2] With temperatures ranging from 3 to 18 degrees Celcius, the weather in County Clare is often consistent, with January and February being the coldest months of the year, while July and August tend to be the hottest. Rain falls throughout the year, specifically in November and December, while February receives the most snow.[5] Plants and animals that reside within the area include purple orchids, Atlantic puffins, sea thrifts, meadow pipits, European goldfinches, humpback whales, red deer, pygmy shrews, Eurasian stoats, eight-metal mountain-avens, great cormorants, black-backed gulls, and common hazel.[6]

What Clare is known for

County Clare, located in Ireland, has the oldest known evidence of human existence in the country, the main one being the patella of a bear, which had been subject to butchering close to the time of death. Other signs include megalithic tombs, which often consist of upright stones.[1] Currently, the county has a population of 118,817 people.[4] Given the nickname of "The Banner County," the area has traditions related to carrying banners, specifically to political events.[7] Other facts about the county are that Clare is home to the most western airport in Europe, and the county colors are saffron and blue.[9] 

Filled with towns, villages, natural features, and hiking trails, County Clare offers a number of activities to tourists who come. Things like the Bridges of Ross, Doolin Cave, and the Aillwee Caves are relatively rare features that can be explored. Examples of walking and hiking trails are the Burren Walks, Doolin Cliff Walk, Burren Way, and the Kilkee Cliff Walk. Other features include the Cliffs of Moher, Fanore Beach, Killaloe, Father Ted's House, and Knappogue Castle.[2] 

County Clare has four nature reserves within its borders. The Ballyteigue Nature Reserve has five parcels of wet meadow heath, while the Caher Nature Reserve is in the Slieve Aughty Mountain Range. Other protected areas include the Dromore Nature Reserve and the Keelhilla Nature Reserve, which feature various vegetation communities. Burren National Park is located in the southeastern corner of Burren. The word "Burren" comes from the Irish word "Boireann," which means "a rocky place." Burren National Park features limestone pavement, hazel scrub, calcareous grassland, hazel woodlands, lakes, cliffs, petrifying springs, turloughs, and fen.[3]


Located near the southwest of Ireland, County Clare is made up of hills, lakes, loughs, forests, and other natural features. With multiple cities, most of which are along the area's western border, the county has numerous nature reserves, some of which are Ballyteigue Nature Reserve, Caher Nature Reserve, Dromore Nature Reserve, and Keelhilla Nature Reserve.[3] Today, County Clare houses antiquities and archaeological remains, most of which date back thousands of years ago. Some of these features are megalithic tombs, ancient churches, castles, cathedrals, stone crosses, monasteries, round towers, and stone forts. Sandy beaches and sheltered bays are also typical landmarks that can be found, along with trails, coasts, and cliffs such as the Cliffs of Moher. [7] 

As a result of the many landmarks and habitats in County Clare, there is a wide variety of plants and animals. Sea thrifts are relatively common in the region, along with Hart's-tongue ferns, common yarrows, and eight-metal mountain-avens. Other plants include early purple orchids, spring gentians, bee orchids, Germander speedwells, standard barbells, common hazel, and purple loosestrife. Birds, another commonly-found type of fauna, inhabit multiple areas such as beaches and forests. Atlantic puffins can often be found on or near the ocean, and great black-backed gulls can sometimes be found on beaches or rocks. European goldfinches, Eurasian oystercatchers, great cormorants, rooks, meadow pipits, and Eurasian bullfinches can also be found throughout the county. Multiple mammals that inhabit the area live in or near the ocean. Some of these particular animals are common bottlenose dolphins, harbor seals, humpback whales, orcas, sei whales, and North Atlantic bottlenose whales. Land-dwelling mammals include red deer, various types of rabbits and bats, Eurasian stoats, Eurasian pine Martens, and Eurasian pygmy shrews.[6] 

Temperatures in the city of Clare fluctuate throughout the year. Rainy days usually average somewhere between five and eight days each month, while snow falls from December to March. January and February have lower temperatures than most months and also have higher average humidity. Temperatures often rise from April to August, then begin to drop from September to December. With a range from 3 to 18 degrees Celcius, Clare tends to fluctuate consistently, though this does not happen every year. Clare often receives thunder, fog, and cloud cover, all of which vary annually.[5]


Housing the oldest known evidence of human activity in Ireland, County Clare was inhabited by prehistoric peoples who left evidence behind. Some of the specific signs of early life include a patella of a bear, which was found in Alice and Gwendoline Cave, and single-chamber megalithic tombs, which often consisted of upright stones. Most of the tombs, and the bodies inside of them, have been estimated to date back to 3800 BC. Other signs of early life have been found over the years, presumably making County Clare one of the more historical places in Ireland.[1]
When County Clare was first formed, the land was divided into baronies or cantreds, each of which was occupied by its own families. Some of these families, like the O'Loughlins, O'Briens, O'Deas, O'Connors, and McNamaras, became the main clans within the region. Referred to as the Dalcassian families, these people took up the eastern half of the county.[7] 

Over the course of a few years, the O'Briens became one of the more powerful families in the area. They acted as a relatively major force in Thomond for years, and they also helped to defeat the Danish Vikings when they raided Clare. Later, during the Norman invasion, the O'Briens once again acted as an opposing force against the invaders and were able to drive them out. This family continued to be a significant force in County Clare for centuries.[7] 

From 1568 to 1578, the English began establishing county boundaries. What had initially been the region of Connacht became several counties, including Mayo, Clare, Sligo, and Galway. At the time, Clare belonged more to Connacht than to Munster, but it was later returned to Munster in 1839.[7] 

County Clare experienced general hardships during the Great Famine of 1845 to 1847. During the famine, the population was reduced from 286,000 to 212,000 people. Over 50,000 people died between 1845 and 1850 because of this famine. As a result, many of the remaining people emigrated to the United States and Australia. Since then, the population has gradually increased.[7] Currently, County Clare has a population of 118,817 people.[4] 

There are two main theories as to the name of County Clare. Firstly is the theory that its name is derived from Thomas de Clare, who was a famous politician in the 1270s and 1280s. Another hypothesis is that the name comes from the settlement of Clare, whose Irish term, which means "plank bridge," refers to a crossing located over the River Fergus.[1] 

County Clare has been given the nickname "The Banner County." Because of the custom of carrying banners, which goes back a long way, it is likely that multiple banners were taken throughout the region. Supposedly, the Dal gCais carried banners at the battle of Clontarf in 1014. It is also rumored that the Clare Dragoons carried banners at Fontenoy in 1745, along with conflicts that were fought by the Clare Regiments during the eighteenth century. Despite this, the name "The Banner County" likely is of a more recent origin. In the last century, the population became more politicized, leading to the custom of carrying banners to political meetings.[7]