The Clare Heritage Museum is housed in what was once St Catherine’s Church of Ireland, which was built between 1715 and 1720 by Catherine Keightly – a first cousin of Queens Mary and Anne. Her husband was Lucius O’Brien, the grandson of the famous Maire Rua of Leminagh Castle.
The quaint church setting and broad range of local and personal artefacts, displayed in old-style, wood-framed cabinets, create an evocative and emotional interpretation of the harsh reality of 19th century life in County. Clare. Here you see, touch and sense the day to day lives of people struggling to survive or forced to emigrate.
The themes and artefacts within the museum reflect the social, political and cultural history of County Clare in the 19th century. Famine, emigration, landlords and tenants, music, culture and a traditional way of life are among its many themes. Locally sourced artefacts provide a direct link to that period of history and include: ledgers, diaries and documents; household items and utensils from workhouses, landlords’ houses and family homes; farm implements and fishing gear; musical instruments; schoolroom artefacts and roll books. Also on display is the Tau-Cross, a unique local ecclesiastical boundary marker from the 12th Century as well as a stone carving depicting the martyrdom of St Sebastian.
The museum presents an authentic and harrowing backdrop for the descendants of Clare emigrants researching the story of their families – and you’ll find it dovetails perfectly with the Genealogy Centre.