County Clare is a county in Ireland. It is located in the Mid-West Region and is also part of the province of Munster. Clare County Council is the local authority for the county. The population of the county is 117,196 according to the 2011 census.
There was a Neolithic civilisation in the Clare area — the name of the peoples is unknown, but the Prehistoric peoples left evidence behind in the form of ancient dolmen; single-chamber megalithic tombs, usually consisting of three or more upright stones. Clare is one of the richest places for these tombs in Ireland, the most noted is in The Burren area, it is known as Poulnabrone dolmen which translates as the hole of sorrows. The remains of the people inside the tomb have been excavated and dated to 3800 BC. Ptolemy created a map of Ireland in his Geographia with information dating from 100 AD, it is the oldest written account of the island with geographical features. Within his map Ptolemy names the Gaelic tribes inhabiting it and the areas in which they resided; in the area of Clare he identified a tribe known as the Gangani. Historians have found the tribes on the west of Ireland hardest to identify with known peoples, however Camden and O'Conor speculated a possible connection between the Gangani and the Concani, one of the eleven tribes in the confederacy of the Cantabri in the northern part of the Iberian Peninsula.
Sovereignty of Thomond was handed over to the Tudors in 1543 and the area joined the Kingdom of Ireland as a county. After the kingdom was merged into the United Kingdom, there were wars in the 20th century which resulted in secession of the Irish Free State. The conclusion of the pro-treaty, anti-treaty Irish Civil War confirmed its status — the state became the present republic Ireland in 1937.
County Clare succeeded the district of Thomond (which was part of Connacht), and when first created it was sometimes called County Thomond. Its nickname is the Banner County, which may refer to a former local tradition of carrying banners at political meetings and public occasions.
Under the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898, part of the judicial county of Galway (Drummaan, Inishcaltra North and Mountshannon electoral divisions) was transferred to county Clare. This area contains the village of Mountshannon on the north-western shore of Lough Derg.
Geography and political subdivisions