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Clare Places: Islands
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Coney Island or Innisdadrom

Coney Island, or Innisdadrom, the island of the two backs, is situated nearly in the centre of the river about a mile and a quarter from its western shore and was estimated to contain about 226 statute acres. In 1837 it was inhabited by about ten families. The land was remarkably fertile, and chiefly in tillage; the substratum of the soil is limestone, and there was an abundant supply of sea-manure. Between this island and a ridge of rock, called Rat Island, is a sound through which vessels drawing eleven feet of water could pass with a leading wind; it was narrow, and no more than two fathoms deep at low water, but the tide passed through it rapidly. The ruins of two ancient churches could be seen, the principal one being that in the eastern extremity of the island. Coney Island was mentioned in Dineley's Journal of 1680 as having taken its name from the great number of rabbits or coneys there. He also mentioned the ruins of an ancient chapel, but without monument or inscription.

The river Shannon in this area becomes shallow, and sometimes dangerous, in certain parts. Ships coming up from the Atlantic needed river pilots to guide them in to Clarecastle or Limerick. Michael Tuohy, last of the Fergus pilots, speaks of two church ruins on the island. The older church masonry consists of large blocks and the west door has a lintel and inclined jambs. It was founded by St. Brendan in 550. The Viking chief, Imar, and his two sons were slain on this island in 977.

Frost,the historian, mentions that "There is a high hill on the island, on the summit of which stands a monument to the memory of one of the children of the late Field Marshal Sir John Fitzgerald K.C.B." The monument is dedicated to Captain John Foster Fitzgerald, who was killed in a cavalry charge in the Punjab. From the same hill there is a magnificent view of Shannon Airport and Shannon Town.

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