Killaloe, County Clare

Coordinates: 52°48′N 8°27′W / 52.8°N 8.45°W / 52.8; -8.45
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Irish: Cill Dalua
Killaloe on the River Shannon with St Flannan's Cathedral on the left
Killaloe on the River Shannon with St Flannan's Cathedral on the left
Killaloe is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 52°48′N 8°27′W / 52.8°N 8.45°W / 52.8; -8.45
CountyCounty Clare
20 m (70 ft)
Time zoneUTC+0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-1 (IST (WEST))
Irish Grid ReferenceR704736

Killaloe (/ˌkɪləˈl/ kil-ə-LOO; Irish: Cill Dalua, meaning 'church of Dalua'[7]) is a small town in east County Clare, Ireland. It lies on the River Shannon on the western bank of Lough Derg and is connected by Killaloe Bridge to the "twin town" of Ballina on the eastern bank of the lake.

The Killaloe Electoral Area is one of six such areas in County Clare and returns four members to Clare County Council. Killaloe is at the center of the Killaloe Civil parish.


St Lua's church next to the Catholic Church of St Flannan's, Killaloe

The town owes its origin to a sixth-century monastic settlement founded by Saint Molua, or Lua, on an island in the Shannon 1 km downstream from the present Killaloe Bridge which later moved onto the mainland.[8] In the tenth century it was base for Brian Boru as it controlled the strategic crossing of the Shannon above Limerick, where the Vikings were in control. Brian Boru had his palace, Kincora (Ceann Coradh), on the high ground where the current Catholic church stands. Therefore, between 1002 and 1014, when he was the High King, Killaloe was effectively the capital of all Ireland. 2 km north of the town, his fort, Beal Boruma, stood on the site of an Iron Age ring at the head of Lough Derg, where a ford crossed the river. The word "Boruma" comes from the tribute paid by those crossing the river and is thought to be the origin of Brian Boru's name.

St Flannan's Cathedral (Church of Ireland) was built between 1185 and 1225, with an oratory for the same saint, who had been the abbot of Killaloe in the seventh century. The cathedral was destroyed and rebuilt in the fourteenth century. Of the original building, only a romanesque arch survives. In Elizabethan times, Ennis was chosen as the county town of Clare, and the importance of Killaloe declined.

In 1650, Cromwell spent 10 days on the opposite side of the Shannon at Ballina, exploring ways to cross the river, which was the defensive line of Catholic and Royalist forces before the Siege of Limerick.[8] 40 years later, Patrick Sarsfield was the leader of the Jacobite forces here, harrying the Williamite forces advancing on Limerick.

The earliest mention of a (wooden) bridge across the river is in 1013. This was often repaired and eventually replaced by a 17 arch stone bridge in the early eighteenth century, later reduced to 13 arches.[9] Most of the houses in the lower part of the town were built in the eighteenth century. In the nineteenth century the Shannon Steam Navigation Company had its headquarters here and constructed a canal to bypass the rapids below the town.

Main Street

St. Lua's oratory, built between 1000 and 1150, was moved from Friar's island to the site of the Catholic Church when the hydroelectric scheme at Ardnacrusha was constructed in the 1920s.[10] Killaloe parish is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Killaloe. Parish churches are Sacred Heart & St Lua's in Garraunboy, St Flannan's in Killaloe and St Thomas' in Bridgetown.[11]

In 2022, Killaloe became twinned as a sister city with New London, Wisconsin USA.[12]


Killaloe Marina

Killaloe is home to the secondary school, St Anne's Community College, which opened in 1987.[13] The University of Limerick has an outdoor pursuits centre near Killaloe on the shore of the lake.

Killaloe has marina facilities for private and rented pleasure craft on the River Shannon network. A parkrun takes place in Clarisford Park each Saturday.[14]

Natural environment[edit]

A trap and transport scheme is in force on the Shannon as part of an eel management programme following the discovery of reducing populations within the River Shannon. This scheme is intended to ensure safe passage for young eels between Killaloe Bridge and the Shannon Estuary.[15][16]


Killaloe was the birthplace of Ireland's noted High King, Brian Boru. He ruled from Kincora, which is believed to have been in modern-day Killaloe. American president Ronald Reagan's history has been traced back to Killaloe, to Brian Boru's father, Cennétig mac Lorcáin.[17]

Former Ireland rugby international captain Keith Wood, also the inaugural IRB International Player of the Year in 2001, is a Killaloe native and owner of the Wood & Bell Café and Restaurant.[18]

Anthony Foley, also a rugby international, and captain of Munster's 2005–06 Heineken Cup winning team, was also a resident.

Brendan Grace, an Irish comedian, also had a house and a pub called Brendan Grace's in Killaloe. It closed in 2011.[19]

In fiction[edit]

Killaloe is the home town of Phineas Finn, the fictional hero of two of Anthony Trollope's Palliser novels, Phineas Finn and Phineas Redux. In Phineas Finn, Killaloe is presented as a lively, if provincial, social centre. Phineas's father, Dr Malachai Finn, is well known and respected 'in counties Clare, Limerick, Tipperary, and Galway'. Dr Finn is a friend of the Roman Catholic Bishop, another prominent Killaloe resident, and personal physician to the Earl of Tulla, who lives on his estate 'not more than ten miles from Killaloe'. Phineas returns to Killaloe for extended periods to spend time with his parents and with his five sisters and their friend, Miss Mary Flood Jones, who later becomes his first wife.

The 1917 comic song Paddy McGinty's Goat mentions Killaloe as the scene of the events it describes, while the Gaelic Storm song "Damn Near Died in Killaloe" from the 2017 album Go Climb a Tree is set in the town and mentions it repeatedly.

Annalistic references[edit]

See Annals of Inisfallen (AI)

  • AI991.5 Repose of Scandlán son of Tadc, erenagh of Cell Dá Lua.
  • AI1027.7 Tadc son of Eochu, abbots of Cell Dá Lua, rested.
  • AI1031.2 Ua Taidc, coarb of Flann, son of Fairchellach, was killed.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Sapmap Area: Settlements Killaloe". Census 2016. Central Statistics Office. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  2. ^ "Central Statistics Office : Census 2011". Archived from the original on 20 September 2010. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  3. ^ "Histpop - The Online Historical Population Reports Website". Archived from the original on 7 May 2016. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  4. ^ "NISRA - Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (c) 2013". 27 September 2010. Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  5. ^ Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". In Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A. (eds.). Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
  6. ^ Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November 1984). "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700–1850". The Economic History Review. 37 (4): 473–488. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x. hdl:10197/1406. Archived from the original on 4 December 2012.
  7. ^ "Cill Dalua/Killaloe". Placenames Database of Ireland ( Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Clare Places - Killaloe: Historical Background". Archived from the original on 3 December 2008. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  9. ^ Sean Kierse (1995). Portraits of Killaloe. Boru Books, Killaloe.
  10. ^ "9 St Lua's Oratory, Co. Clare". Archived from the original on 19 November 2007.
  11. ^ "Killaloe". Diocese of Killaloe. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  12. ^ "We've Been Twinned!". Retrieved 8 July 2023.
  13. ^ "About us - Welcome". St. Anne's CC Killaloe. 31 July 2020. Retrieved 3 January 2022. Since opening in 1987 on the Clarisford site [..] the school has expanded several times
  14. ^ "Parkrun in Clarisford park". Archived from the original on 4 September 2019. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  15. ^ "Shannon International River Basin District Eel Management Plan" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  16. ^ "ESB's Fishery Role - Fisheries - Sustainability & Environment - Electricity Supply Board". Archived from the original on 4 August 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  17. ^ The Palm Beach Post, 21 May 1984, p. 12
  18. ^ "Keith Wood kicks off Killaloe restaurant Wood&Bell". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 1 July 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  19. ^ "Brendan Grace exits pub trade". The Times. Archived from the original on 14 December 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2018.