Quilty is a picturesque, coastal village in the parish of Kilmurry Ibrickane – beautifully situated to give you a 360 degree view of some of the very best of Clare’s natural beauty. Looking out from Quilty, you will have the Aran Islands on one side, the Cliffs of Moher on the other and Connemara behind you. You will also be able to see the Kerry Mountains in the distance. As a fishing village, lobster, salmon, bass, herring and mackerel are landed here.
Origin of Name: The origin of its name is uncertain but it may be a derivation of ‘Coillte’, meaning ‘Woods’. These woods would probably have been an underwood of hazel or holly and local tradition mentions the finding of tree stumps, which indicate the existence of large woods in ancient times. The same word ‘coillte’ could also refer to ‘ruined or destroyed’ and be a reference to a long-ago tragedy in the area. The stretch of coast is dangerous for shipping and in 804, great devastation was caused by a tidal wave that separated Mutton Island from the mainland - drowning 1,010 people.
Across the bay from Quilty is Mutton Island, where St. Senan founded a church in the early 6th century of which little remained by 1887 except the Bed of St. Senan, a shattered cross and a gable of his oratory. A signal tower built in the early 19th century was designed to give warning of invasion during the Napoleonic period but was also used by the coastguard to prevent smuggling. Then in the early 20th century, Mutton Island was used as a prison. During certain tidal conditions, it is possible to walk along a path of limestone from Seafield (near Quilty) to Mutton Island.