Milltown Malbay

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Miltown Malbay)

Milltown Malbay
Sráid na Cathrach
Aerial view
Aerial view
Milltown Malbay is located in Ireland
Milltown Malbay
Milltown Malbay
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 52°51′N 9°24′W / 52.85°N 9.4°W / 52.85; -9.4Coordinates: 52°51′N 9°24′W / 52.85°N 9.4°W / 52.85; -9.4
CountyCounty Clare
20 m (70 ft)
 • Total829
Time zoneUTC+0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-1 (IST (WEST))
Irish Grid ReferenceR054791

Milltown Malbay[2] (Irish: Sráid na Cathrach, meaning 'street of the stone ringfort'), also Miltown Malbay, is a town in the west of County Clare, Ireland, near Spanish Point. The population was 829 at the 2016 Census.[1]


There is a townland on the southern edge of the town called Poulawillin or Pollawillin (from Irish: Poll a' Mhuillinn, meaning 'hole/pool of the mill'). There is evidence that this name was once applied to the town – for example, in the Parish Namebook of the Ordnance Survey (1839) there is a reference to "Baile an Mhuillinn anciently Poll a’ Mhuillinn, Milltown Malbay".[2]

Malbay is the name of the bay to the west of Milltown. The name Malbay is thought to come from the Irish meall-bhaigh, which roughly means "treacherous coast". It could also stem from the legend of the witch "Mal" who was drowned in the bay by Fionn mac Cumhaill.[3]


The town has only existed since about 1800 but grew rapidly: by 1821 it had a population of 600. During the Great Famine (1844 - 1848) many farmers were evicted by the unpopular landlord Moroney. In the years after the famine the (Protestant) Moroney family went on with rack renting and evictions. At one time the population had enough and started a boycott. The government did not like that and imprisoned all pub-owners and shopkeepers who refused to serve the family or their servant. So at the end of 1888 most pub-owners and shopkeepers were in jail.[3]

In the lead up to the Irish War of Independence there were a number of incidents in Milltown Malbay. On 14 April 1920 the local population were celebrating the release of hunger strikers from Mountjoy Prison. It turned into the Shooting at Canada Cross when members of the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Royal Highland Infantry Regiment fired into the crowd wounding seven and killing three: Volunteer John O’Loughlan and two civilians Thomas O’Leary and Patrick Hennessy.[4]

Milltown Malbay was also the site of the Rineen Ambush, which took place near Rineen on the main road to Lahinch and Ennistymon. On 22 September 1920, a RIC tender was ambushed there by the Mid-Clare Brigade of the IRA mainly in retaliation for the killing of Martin Devitt at Crow's Bridge earlier in the year. Six policemen were killed in the ambush. In reprisal for the Rineen Ambush, the Black & Tans ran amok in Ennistymon, Lahinch and Milltown Malbay killing six people and burning 26 buildings, including Ennistymon and Lahinch Townhalls.

The Atlantic Hotel was one of the victims of the War of Independence. Owned by the Moroney family and mainly visited by English gentry it had no future and closed down around 1925.[5] Milltown Malbay was served by the West Clare Railway, which operated from the 2 July 1887 and finally closed on 1 February 1961.[6]


The main sources of employment in the area are tourism and hospitality, construction and agriculture.

The town has seven pubs, a hairdresser and a barber's shop. Other businesses are, amongst others, three supermarkets, a hardware shop, a haberdashery, a post office, a bridal shop, a bookmaker's office, a pizzeria/burger takeaway, a Chinese takeaway, a fish & chip takeaway, a clothes shop, and a beauty salon. There are two pharmacies and three restaurants in the town. There are two medical practices and veterinarian practice. The town has two petrol stations and two vehicle repair workshops.


There are 4 primary schools and 1 secondary school in the surrounding townlands. The primary schools are Milltown Malbay National School (in town), Rockmount National School (N.S.), Rineen N.S. and Moy N.S. (gaelscoil). The secondary school is St Joseph's Secondary School, Spanish Point. St Joseph's draws pupils from the parishes of Milltown Malbay, Kilmurry Ibrickane, Doonbeg, Inagh and Cooraclare.

The town is in the parish of Kilfarboy in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Killaloe, which covers Milltown Malbay and Moy.[13] Parish churches are St Joseph's in Milltown Malbay and St Mary's in Moy.[14]

Oidhreacht an Chláir Teo[edit]

Oidhreacht an Chláir Teo (Clare Institute for Traditional Studies) is a research institution located on Flag Road. Its main field of work is research and stimulation of the traditional culture in County Clare. Its stated goal is "the establishment of an institute for education in the traditional culture of Clare, directed primarily towards the higher education and lifelong learning sectors; the provision of a permanent, easily accessible, archive and library for material relevant to the traditional arts in general and, in particular, to the abundant material of local relevance; the provision of a performance centre and associated facilities."[15] The main target of the Institute are researchers, local people and students.[15]

Willie Clancy[edit]

The memorial to Willie Clancy in Miltown Malbay, Ireland.

The town is home to the annual Willie Clancy Summer School and Festival. The Willie Clancy Summer School (Irish Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy) is Ireland's largest traditional music summer school[16] held annually since 1973 in memory of and to honour the uilleann piper Willie Clancy.


Miltown Malbay is home to both St. Joseph's GAA (gaelic football) and Clonbony GAA (hurling).

Moy GAA is also located in the parish, but is more closely associated with the seaside town of Lahinch.

St. Joseph's GAA are the only senior football club in the parish. They have won the Clare SFC on fifteen occasions, most recently in 2019.

Clonbony GAA have won a senior camogie 'three-in-a-row' between 1983-1985.[17][18][19][20]

Miltown Massacre[edit]

The lowest point for the Clare Senior Football team came in the 1979 Munster Championship which is locally known as the 'Miltown Massacre'. During a game played in Hennessy Park, the Clare inter-county team lost to Kerry by a scoreline of 1-09 (12) to 9-21 (48), a difference of thirty-six points.[21]

Notable people[edit]

Musicians and singers


See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c "Sapmap Area: Settlements Miltown Malbay". Census 2016. Central Statistics Office (Ireland). Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Placenames Database of Ireland: Milltown Malbay/Sráid na Cathrach". Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Milltown Malbay Historical Background". 14 April 1920. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  4. ^ Ruairc 2009, p. 131-132.
  5. ^ Paddy Casey, lecture for the "Kilfarboy Historical Society, 13-10-2009.
  6. ^ "Miltown Malbay station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 4 November 2007.
  7. ^ For 1653 and 1659 figures from Civil Survey Census of those years, Paper of Mr Hardinge to Royal Irish Academy March 14, 1865.
  8. ^ "Census for post 1821 figures". Archived from the original on 20 September 2010. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  9. ^ Archived 2016-05-07 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "NISRA - Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (c) 2013". 27 September 2010. Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ 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.[dead link]
  13. ^ "Miltown Malbay (Kilfarboy)". Diocese of Killaloe. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  14. ^ "Miltown Malbay (Kilfarboy) Churches". Diocese of Killaloe. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  15. ^ a b "About OaC". Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  16. ^ Festival in danger due to cutbacks Last visited 21-11-2009.
  17. ^ "Camogie Senior Championship". Clare Champion. 18 November 1983. p.20
  18. ^ "Camogie Champions". Clare Champion. 23 November 1984. p. 21
  19. ^ "Camogie Senior Final". Clare Champion. 6 September 1985. p.17
  20. ^ "Ladies Football County Final Day In Cooraclare". Clare FM. 21 September 2013. Archived from the original on 22 September 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  21. ^ Ó Muircheartaigh, Joe (2000). The Chronicle of Clare 1900-2000. Ennis: Fág an Bealagh.


  • Ruairc, Pádraig Óg Ó (2009). Blood on the Banner: The Republican Struggle in Clare 1913-1923. Mercier Press. ISBN 9781856356138. - Total pages: 351