Place:Clifden, Omey, County Galway, Republic of Ireland

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NameClifden
Alt namesAn Clochánsource: Wikipedia
TypeTown or village
Coordinates53.483°N 10.017°W
Located inOmey, County Galway, Republic of Ireland
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Clifden (meaning "stepping stones"[1]) is a coastal town in County Galway, Ireland, in the region of Connemara, located on the Owenglin River where it flows into Clifden Bay. As the largest town in the region, it is often referred to as "the Capital of Connemara". Frequented by tourists, Clifden is linked to Galway city by the N59.

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History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

19th century

The town was founded at the start of the 19th century by John D'Arcy (1785–1839)[2] who lived in Clifden Castle (built around 1818, now a ruin) west of Clifden. He had inherited the estate in 1804, when it was mostly inhabited by fishermen and farmers. The idea of establishing a town on the coast was first voiced by him in 1812. Bad communications and a lack of private capital prevented fast progress until the 1820s, when the potato crop failed in 1821–22 and D'Arcy petitioned the government in Dublin for assistance. The engineer Alexander Nimmo was sent to the area in 1822. He constructed a quay at Clifden (finished in 1831), and started a road to Galway.[1] With these improvements to its infrastructure, the town began to grow.[3]


It prospered until, in 1839, John D'Arcy died. By that time, Clifden had grown from virtually nothing to a town of 185 dwellings, most of them three-floored, two churches, two hotels, three schools, a police barracks, courthouse, a gaol, a distillery and 23 pubs.[1] The population had grown to 1,100 and the town already sported the (as yet unpaved) triangle of streets still visible today.[1] Products that were shipped out from Clifden Harbour included marble, corn, fish and kelp. However, John's son and heir, Hyacinth, lacked his father's abilities and confrontations with his tenants became commonplace.[3] In 1843, Daniel O'Connell held a 'Monster Meeting' at Clifden, attended by a crowd reportedly numbering 100,000, at which he spoke on repeal of the Act of Union.[1]

The town's surging growth and prosperity came to an end when the famine started in 1845. Large numbers of people died, as government help proved insufficient to deal with starvation, scurvy and other diseases. By 1848 90% of the population were on relief (receiving government money). Landlords went bankrupt as rents dried up. Many people emigrated to America. On 18 November 1850, Hyacinth D'Arcy put up his estates for sale and most of them were purchased by Charles and Thomas Eyre of Somerset. Hyacinth pursued a church career and became Rector of Omey and Clifden. Charles Eyre sold his share to his brother, who gave the estates to his nephew (Charles' son) John Joseph in 1864.[3]

In 1855, Sisters of Mercy from Galway came to Clifden and established St. Joseph's Convent, followed by an orphanage and St. Joseph's Industrial School in 1858.[1]

Early 20th century

Clifden gained prominence after 1905 when Guglielmo Marconi decided to build his first high power transatlantic long wave wireless telegraphy station four miles (6 km) south of the town to minimize the distance to its sister station in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. The first point-to-point fixed wireless service connecting Europe with North America opened for public service with the transmission of 10,000 words on 17 October 1907. At peak times, up to 200 people were employed by the Clifden wireless station, among them Jack Phillips, who later perished as Chief Radio Operator on the Titanic.

On 15 June 1919 the first non-stop transatlantic flight by Alcock and Brown crashlanded in Derrygimlagh bog, close to Marconi's transatlantic wireless station. When Captain Alcock spotted the green bog he thought it was a meadow where he could safely land his Vickers Vimy biplane. The plane's landing gear sank into the soft bog and was destroyed. Alcock and Brown were later transported back to Clifden town by stage coach with only minor injuries. When they returned using the Marconi Railway, the locals had helped themselves to parts of the plane as souvenirs.

War of Independence (1920–1921)

Events that would lead up to the "Burning of Clifden" began on 21 November 1920, Bloody Sunday. On that day, IRA members in Dublin attacked British officers and civilians believed to work for intelligence, killing eleven and wounding four.[3] Later that day, British paramilitary auxiliary forces opened fire at Croke Park, killing twelve and injuring sixty.[3] Thomas Whelan, born in 1899 in Clifden, was arrested and charged with the 21 November murder of Captain G.T. Bagelly. Although he maintained his innocence, Whelan was found guilty and executed on 14 March 1921.[3] Following its Two for one policy that required the killing of two members of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) for every Republican executed, members of the IRA shot and killed Constable Charles Reynolds and Constable Thomas Sweeney at Eddie King's Corner in Clifden on 16 March 1921. In response to the RIC's request for assistance, a trainload of Black and Tans arrived from Galway in the early hours of St Patrick's Day, 17 March 1921, and proceeded to "burn, plunder and murder".[3] They killed one civilian, seriously injured another, burned 14 houses, and damaged several others.[3]

Civil war (1922)

When the Civil War started in June 1922, Connemara was controlled by the Republicans. In Clifden, the population tolerated the Republicans but did not support them. The Republicans occupied several buildings. In addition, all petrol was confiscated, roads barricaded and made impassable, railway bridges were blown up and telegraph lines cut. Newspapers were forbidden.[3]

The Republicans burned the buildings they evacuated. In Clifden, the workhouse was burned in July.[3] In addition, on 25 July, the Republicans set fire to the Marconi Station and fired shots at it because they considered the station "a British concern",[3] and because the RIC had used the station to marshall reinforcements in March 1921. Transatlantic wireless service was transferred from Clifden to the more modern Marconi wireless station near Waunfawr, Wales. By one reckoning, the station's closure caused an estimated 1,000 people to lose their livelihood.[3]

The National Army sent 150 men, and in the night of 14/15 August the National Army marched to town. However, the Republicans retreated and there was only minimal fighting. The National troops were warmly welcomed by the people of Clifden.[3] The Republicans still controlled the mountains and waged a guerrilla war against the National Army. The Irregulars attacked Army posts and patrols, mainly by sniping, and attacked motor cars. On 13 October, Republicans burned down the Recess Hotel and nearby Glendalough House to prevent the National troops from using them as billets.[3]

On 29 October, the Republicans recaptured Clifden from the around 100 National troops stationed there. The attacking force consisted of around 350 men. They also had with them an "armoured car", called The Queen of the West.[1] This was used to advance towards a defended barracks building. Eventually, the National troops surrendered. However, the Republicans did not occupy the town, which had sustained some damage during the fighting. Communications were once again severed, and the Irregulars took up positions around the town.[3]

Finally, on 16 December, the National Army returned to Clifden and the Republicans once again slipped away before its arrival. The townspeople again welcomed the Army and soon repairs started on bridges and the railway line. Soon the first train in seven months arrived in Clifden.[3]

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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Clifden. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.