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Maps and Views of County Clare in the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office

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Maps and Views of County Clare in the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office

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Maps and Views of County Clare in the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
by Graham Hull, TVAS (Ireland) Ltd., Ballinruan, Crusheen, Co. Clare

While researching the historical background for the archaeological component of the Limerick Southern Ring Road, Phase II, a number of maps and ‘views’ were located at the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO). The archive of the UKHO is the repository for Admiralty charts and since 1958 has accepted the responsibilities of an authorised place of deposit under the Public Records Act, which allows it to maintain its own archive. This archive contains a vast collection of charts, books, journals, manuscript documents, letters and miscellaneous papers dating from 1755, used as source information for navigational publications. The UKHO is located at Admiralty Way, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 2DN ( There is a sizeable collection of material relating to Ireland in the archive.
Many of the maps were surveyed by the Royal Navy in the 18th and 19th centuries and some include topographic features and illustrations of man-made structures that are not recorded by, for example, the Ordnance Survey. Most of the maps show the rivers Shannon and Fergus and the land immediately adjacent (often including Ennis, Clare and Limerick). The views were probably made as aids for navigation and are part of a Royal Navy tradition that required Ships’ Masters to make notes and observations of harbours from around the world. The existence of some of these documents is not, I think, widely known in County Clare.
Copies of the maps and views have been deposited with the Local Studies Centre, Ennis.
While all maps and views are out of copyright, full acknowledgement is given to UKHO. I would like to thank the staff at UKHO archive for their helpfulness.
Graham Hull
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