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Milltown Malbay

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Milltown Malbay

Sráid na Cathrach
Aerial view of Milltown Malbay
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)
 • Town1,580
 • Urban
 • Rural
Time zoneUTC+0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-1 (IST (WEST))
Irish Grid ReferenceR054791

Milltown Malbay (Irish: Sráid na Cathrach, meaning "street of the stone ringfort")[2] is a town in the west of County Clare, Ireland, near Spanish Point.


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.[4]

Milltown is also home to the site of the Rineen Ambush which is located near Rineen on the main road to Lahinch and Ennistymon. On September 22, 1920 a RIC tender was ambushed there by Mid-Clare Brigade IRA mainly in retaliation for the killing of Martin Devitt at Crow's Bridge earlier in the year. The ambush led to the deaths of six policemen. In reprisal for 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 town had a population of 575 according to the 2011 Census. Including the rural area around the town it counts 1,580 inhabitants.[13]


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

The town has thirteen pubs and five hairdresser/barber's shop. Other businesses are, amongst others, five supermarkets, a hostel, a hardware shop, a bank, a post office, a bridal shop, a bookmaker's office, two pizzerias/take-aways, a clothes shop, a surf shop, a salon, and two barber shops. There are two pharmacies and several restaurants in the town.

There are two large hotels in the vicinity, the Armada Hotel and The Bellbridge House Hotel. There are numerous B&Bs in Milltown Malbay and its surrounding area.


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.[14] Parish churches are St Joseph's in Milltown Malbay and St Mary's in Moy.[15]

Oidhreacht an Chláir Teo

Oidhreacht an Chláir Teo (English: 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. Oidhreacht an Chláir Teo tries to reach her goals by "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.[16] The main target of the Institute are researchers, local people and students.[16]

Willie Clancy

The memorial to Willie Clancy in Miltown Malbay, Ireland.
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[17] held annually since 1973 in memory of and to honour the uilleann piper Willie Clancy.


Milltown is home to St. Joseph's Milltown Malbay GAA (only Gaelic Football), Clonbony GAA (only hurling) and Moy GAA.

St. Joseph's are the only senior Gaelic Football team in the parish. They have won the County Clare Senior Football Championship on 14 occasions with the latest win in 2018. Clonbony GAA has three County Senior Camogie Championship titles: 1983,[18] 1984,[19] 1985.[20][21]

Notable people

  • Aindrias Mac Cruitín (Andrew MacCurtin) (c.1670–1738) - poet and scribe.
  • Dr. Patrick Hillery - President of Ireland 1976-1990, was born at Spanish Point near Milltown Malbay in 1923.
  • Matthew Joseph Kenny - lawyer and politician
  • Chief Superintendent Anthony McMahon - founder and former head of the Murder Squad of the Garda Síochána and Irish Liaison to Interpol was born in Milltown Malbay. He was responsible for the hiring of the country's first State Pathologist, Dr John Harbison.
  • Colonel Noel S. Walsh (1935) was Commanding Officer of the First Battalion of the Irish Army and former Chairman of the Munster Council of the Gaelic Athletic Association

Musicians and singers

Spanish Point Airfield

Spanish Point Airfield
OperatorShane Burke
LocationMilltown Malbay, Spanish Point,
County Clare, Ireland
Elevation AMSL17 ft / 5 m
Coordinates52°51′00″N 09°25′00″W / 52.85000°N 9.41667°W / 52.85000; -9.41667
Direction Length Surface
m ft
24/06 580 2,165 Grass

Spanish Point Airfield is a privately owned airfield between Milltown Malbay and Spanish Point. The airfield, located on Sandhill Road in the townland Leagard South, was established by three local pilots in 1991, and the original clubhouse was opened by then Irish Minister for Defense Mr. Brendan Daly that year.

The airfield has a single 580m grass runway (coded: 24/06), that is serviceable for approximately 10 months of the year. It has a clubhouse and hangarage for a number of aircraft. It also possesses two landing pads for rotary winged aircraft. The airfield is mainly used by small aircraft, microlights and helicopters.[citation needed]



See also


  1. ^ Census 2011 – Population Classified by Area Table 6 Population of each province, county, city, urban area, rural area and electoral division, 2006 and 2011
  2. ^ a b "Placenames Database of Ireland: Milltown Malbay/Sráid na Cathrach". Retrieved 2013-12-15.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "Milltown Malbay Historical Background". 1920-04-14. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
  5. ^ Paddy Casey, lecture for the "Kilfarboy Historical Society, 13-10-2009.
  6. ^ "Miltown Malbay station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-11-04.
  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 2010-09-20. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
  9. ^ Archived 2016-05-07 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "NISRA - Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (c) 2013". 2010-09-27. Archived from the original on 2012-02-17. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
  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.[dead link]
  13. ^ Population and Actual and Percentage Change 2006 and 2011 by Electoral Division, Statistical Indicator and Year Last visited 23 April 2012.
  14. ^ "Miltown Malbay (Kilfarboy)". Diocese of Killaloe. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  15. ^ "Miltown Malbay (Kilfarboy) Churches". Diocese of Killaloe. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  16. ^ a b "About OaC". Retrieved 2013-12-15.
  17. ^ Festival in danger due to cutbacks Last visited 21-11-2009.
  18. ^ "Camogie Senior Championship". Clare Champion. 18 November 1983. p.20
  19. ^ "Camogie Champions". Clare Champion. 23 November 1984. p. 21
  20. ^ "Camogie Senior Final". Clare Champion. 6 September 1985. p.17
  21. ^ "Ladies Football County Final Day In Cooraclare". Clare FM. 21 September 2013. Archived from the original on 22 September 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
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Milltown Malbay
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