Clare County Council Crest

Clare Local Authorities
North Clare Local Area Plan 2005 - 2011

Appendix 1 - Architectural Conservation Areas

Kilfenora Architectural Conservation Area

Kilfenora is one of the oldest urban settlements in the county having originated around the mediaeval ecclesiastical complex associated with St Fachtna a sixth century hermit. Kilfenora has been recognised as a separate diocese of the Church since 1152.

The village is located at the southern side of the Burren karst limestone region and limestone is the predominant building material. Many of the houses, outbuildings and boundary walls are constructed of squared and dressed limestone block, which appear to have been recycled from earlier mediaeval structures.

Beside the Market Square stands the 12th century cathedral, recently restored by the National Monument Service. Kilfenora was once known as "the City of the Crosses" from its numerous illuminated carved limestone crosses, one of which was taken to Killaloe Cathedral in 1821. The former importance of the village is evident from the numerous forts, castles and 18th century country houses which surround it. The largest fair in north Clare was held here from late mediaeval times until the early 19th century, annually on October 9th.

The village contains many 18th and 19th century two storey shops and houses and has retained its unique market village character in spite of some modern interventions. The extent of the village has not significantly increased since it was mapped by the Ordnance Survey in 1839 and much of it existed and was depicted on Pelham's map of 1787. Since 1975 The Burren Display Centre has attracted many thousands of visitors to the village annually.

Miltown Malbay Architectural Conservation Area

Miltown Malbay is situated approximately one kilometre from the Atlantic coast and the beautiful golden beaches of North Clare. It takes its name from mediaeval corn and tuch mills, whose memories are retained in the townland name Poll a'Mhuilinn (Poulawillin).

The present market town grew quickly during the early 19th century from which most of the present buildings date, although the town existed in the 1780's probably as single storey buildings. It comprises today of one long commercial street with single and double-bay, two and three storey houses and shops. There are some very fine plaster shop-fronts which replicate classical, wooden traditional examples and date from the early decades of the 20th century.

Quite a number of 18th and 19th century Moher slate roofs survive, particularly in back streets and laneways. Its prominent building is the cruciform St Joseph's Catholic Church built in 1839. The town has benefited from the Town Renewal Tax Incentive Scheme which has allowed many derelict properties be repaired.

Miltown has an attractive rural and urban quality but care must be taken to preserve its character and protect its historic fabric from inappropriate development, which might remove its historic fabric and detract from its future tourism potential.

Lisdoonvarna Architectural Conservation Area

Although the curative properties of the Spa Wells of Lisdoonvarna were well known throughout Ireland for centuries, it wasn't until 1751 when the water was scientifically analysed that the place became popular as a visitor attraction.

The present town is the product of a tourism boom during the late 19th century, when most of the present guest houses and hotels were built to accommodate the huge increase in visitor numbers. The town comprises for the most part well designed and render-decorated Victorian two and three storey stone, gabled guest houses and an attractive well laid out, central market square.

The Spa Well complex to the south of the town ha an attractive pump house and bath house built in the early 20th century. Another well designed pump house to the west of the town now houses the local library. Other impressive buildings are Corpus Christi Catholic Church (1865), Maiville House (1870) (the neo-gothic residence of the Spa Well consultant physician) the corrugated iron, colonial Town Hall (c.1910) and the Spectacle Bridge (1850).

Ballyvaughan Baile Ui Bheacain Architectural Conservation Area

Ballyvaughan is a very pleasant and attractive coastal village on the southern shore of Galway Bay under the karst limestone Burren uplands to the south. The village grew around Ballyvaughan Castle, a 15th century stronghold of the O'Loghlens of Burren who also built the nearby tower houses of Newtown and Gragans. Nothing remains of the castle today save a few stones of its battered base.

In past centuries the village was important as a fishing and commercial port and was the centre for the importation of turf from Connemara, supplying the people of North Clare with winter fuel. There were no less than four piers built near the village. The latest being the "new" pier built by the Fishery Board in 1892.

The village centre consists of 18th and 19th century two storey houses accommodating a hotel, pubs, shops and restaurants and due to the large numbers of tourists which frequent Ballyyvaughan, is a hive of activity in spring, summer and autumn. Many recent developments, such as the thatched cottage-type holiday homes enhance the traditional appearance of this pleasant coastal haven. It is important that future development should be controlled in a manner, which will be sustainable and not adversely impact on one of Clare's most attractive scenic villages.

Auxiliary Workhouse, Knocknagroagh, Ballyvaughan Architectural Conservation Area

Soon after the Great famine of 1845 - 47 it was decided to construct an auxiliary workhouse to accommodate the large number of starving and destitute people who came for help.

The auxiliary workhouse, otherwise known as the Dispensary, Fever Hospital or Presbytery remains intact although many of the original buildings are derelict and ruined. All are now in private ownership and many of the single storey buildings have been appropriately repaired and fitted out as holiday homes.

The complex comprises a quadrangle surrounded by rows of terraced, single storey stone gabled houses roofed with Killaloe/Portroe slate. The limestone masonry walls are of high quality coursed rubble, unrendered stone with cut limestone dressings and chimneys. It has retained, for the most part, its mid-19th century character and has the potential to develop as a unique residential complex with panoramic views of Galway Bay and the bare limestone hills of Burren. It is important that future developments will be sympathetic to the character and integrity of the existing structures. Part of its special significance stems from the fact that it is the only surviving workhouse in Co Clare.

Ennistymon Architectural Conservation Area

Ennistymon is an ancient market town, which originated between the ecclesiastical settlement, where the ruined church and graveyard now stand and the 15th century Ennistymon Castle, now The Falls Hotel. The present town for the most part dates from the mid 18th and early 19th centuries and comprises three principle streets (Main St., Parliament St. and Bridge St.) and connecting lanes. The extent of the town appears virtually unchanged since the 1780s, when it was surveyed by Henry Pelham. It contains some impressive public buildings e.g. The Old Courthouse, (c.1790) The Market House (1860), the former Church of Ireland (1830) and the seven arch Ennistymon Bridge (c.1770)

Ennistymon is renowned for the survival of many of its traditional wooden shopfronts and stone slate roofs quarried between Liscannor and Doolin. The town contains no less than 42 protected structures, many of which are being conserved and repaired due to Tax Incentives under the Town Renewal Scheme. It is important that this town develops in a consistent and co-ordinated way, which will serve to preserve and enhance its character and amenity for future generations.