Places of Interest
RUAN CHURCH: No patron saint is associated with
this church nor is there a holy well dedicated to any particular
saint within the immediate area. The only holy wells nearby were
named after the townlands, according to Eugene OCurry in 1839.
He described this fifteenth-century parish church in some detail.
"There is a portion of the north wall elevated six feet above
the rest as if for the purpose of a ball-alley", was his less
than reverent account of that portion of the church. The most interesting
feature is the carved east window. There is a small chapel projecting
to the south from the south-west angle of the older church. The
elevated tomb in its northern end carried the following inscription:
"This chapel and tomb were erected by Donogh OKerine
the son of Dermot OKerine of Owan, for him and his posterities
use in the year of our Lord God, 1688".
The Roman Catholic church at Ruan was rebuilt by subscription in
1834. The present
church, St. Marys, was built in 1912. The stained glass windows
behind the altar were made at the famous Mayer studio in Germany.
They once adorned the chapel of St. Xaviers Convent of Mercy, off
OConnell Square, Ennis. The windows were transferred to Ruan
when the convent closed down in the 1990s. The window on the
left, as you face the altar, depicts the Nativity scene; in the
middle is the Sacred Heart and on the right is a scene at the home
of the Holy Family with Mary working on the loom, Joseph doing some
carpentry and Jesus by his side. A section of the middle panel also
features symbols of the consecration sheaves of wheat, grapes
and a chalice.
The mausoleum in the old graveyard is the resting place of Sir
Michael OLoghlen, baronet. His claim to fame is that he
was the first Catholic raised to the judiciary and became Master
of the Rolls. His statue can be seen in Ennis Courthouse. Also in
a corner of the graveyard can be seen a small mound of stones known
as the "Tragedy Grave". A number of people were drowned
at Porte Lake many years ago and it is said that they were all buried
together in this spot.
RUAN BARRACKS: The raid on Ruan Barracks was ordered
by Joe Barrett, the officer commanding the Mid-Clare Brigade Flying
Column. The raid took place on October 15th, 1920, under
the command of Ignatius ONeill. The previous day several dogs
in the area of the village near the fortified three-storey stone
building, which housed the Royal Irish Constabulary, were poisoned.
That night the Flying Column moved into position under cover of
darkness. The following morning as a policeman opened the back door
to collect the milk he was captured by two I.R.A. men before he
could give a warning to his colleagues. The rest of the column rushed
into the barracks and captured it with relatively little shooting.
The main resistance was on the second floor where a sergeant and
two constables were wounded. Ignatius ONeill put the remainder
of the police through a drill formation outside the barracks as
his men demolished it.
DROMORE WOOD AND LAKE are under the control of
the Forest and Wildlife Service. Covering close on 1,000 acres of
woodlands and lakes, the area has a rich historical and archaeological
heritage. In 1985 it was designated a nature reserve by the Office
of Public Works but public access has been allowed and there are
signposted walks and car parking facilities. Dromore is renowned
for its diversity of flora and fauna. The five lakes at Dromore
are populated by swans, herons and geese. It is one of the countrys
prime fishing areas. The wood is a wildlife sanctuary and the animals
of the forest include badgers, pine martens, squirrels and foxes.
DROMORE CASTLE was probably built in the early
sixteenth century and was later extended and repaired by Teige OBrien
in the 1600s, as the records of the castle predate Teige.
The inscription over the door with the obliterated date would then
be accounted for: "This castle was built by Teige, second son
to Connor, third Earle of Thomond and by Slaney OBrien, wife
to the said Teige Anno D". The castle and lands of Dromore
were granted to Teiges father at an inquisition in Ennis in
1579. Teiges son, Dermot, was an influential man during the
Confederate Wars and took an active part in the siege of Ballyalla
Castle. His sister, Sarah OBrien, earned herself an unenviable
reputation for cruelty during the same period. The castle was once
a most impressive, spacious tower house, built on the shores of
the lake and surrounded on three sides by water. Today, only the
building housing the staircase and small chambers remains. There
is a wide circular staircase to the right of the door, a small guardroom
to the left and a magnificent stone fireplace in the left-hand chamber
of the first floor. There is a circular shot hole cut into the stairs
between the first and second floors through which defenders could
fire if the ground floor was invaded by attackers. The roof houses
a wall walk around the gables, a high rectangular chimney crowned
with two diamond-shaped flues and corbels which once supported a
corner bartizan. The last OBrien to live here, Conor, left
Clare in 1689. The castle fell into ruin in the eighteenth century.
BALLYTEIGE EAST RING FORT is close to the road,
about one hundred yards south of one of the large electricity pylons,
and opposite another minor road leading off to the west. The fort
itself is just a mound of earth with some traces of a fosse around
it. The main feature of the fort however is its double souterrain.
This can be entered by sliding feet first in through the small hole
which gives access to it. Towards the far end another hole to the
left gives access to another slightly smaller chamber. Once within
either chamber one could see how easily they could be defended.
Ballyteige is the finest example of its type in this part of the
county. There are, however, several other souterrains in the forts
around the Ruan area. There are the remains of a portal dolmen on
Moyree Commons, west of the road leading north from Ruan to Tubber.
PORT is an eighteenth century house with some nineteenth
century features and faces south over Dromore Lake. It has been
in the possession of the Kelly family since it was purchased by
their ancestor, Jeremiah, in the 1860s. The family mausoleum is
situated by the side of the roadway between Port and Ruan. The ruins
of Ballyharahan Castle, now merely a site, can still be seen within
the grounds of Port. This was owned by Donogh Duff MacConsadine
in 1580. Frost believed the name meant OHarraghans residence.
BALLYGRIFFEY CASTLE derives its name from "Baile
Ua Griobhtha", OGriffeys place of residence. According
to Rev. Patrick Woulfe, the family name of OGriobhtha was
usually anglicised to Griffin but there were several other variations
such as OGreefa, OGriffy,OGrighie, Griffey, Griffy,
Greehy, Griffith and Griffiths. This ancient Dalcassian family were
chiefs of "Cinel Cuallachta" in the south-east of the
barony of Inchiquin and they built their castle here in Ballygriffey.
It is in a fairly good state of preservation, although the roof
has fallen in and part of the upper floor has collapsed. There are
many defensive features to be seen including a shot hole and an
internal wall on the upper floor which, because of its strategically
placed window, could be defended if attackers penetrated that far
into the castle. There is a fine earth fort in Ballygriffey wood.