Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Ennis (Irish: Inis) is the county town of Clare in the Republic of Ireland. Its population is approx 19,000. Situated on the River Fergus , it lies north of Limerick and south of Galway on the main N18 road connecting these two cities. Its name is a shortening of the original Inis Cluain Ramh Fhada ("Long Rowing Meadow Island").
Ennis grew up around the franciscan friary. This impressive building was an important seat of learning in its hayday. It was built by the O'Brian family in approx 1242.
Ennis was an important market town historically. The market square today is still home to market stalls and some live animal trade . The latter practice has steadily decreased through the years. The foot and mouth disease crisis of 2001 in Ireland had a severe impact on such markets around the country. Thanks to stringent restrictions on movement of animals and such markets, the country avoided a major outbreak, but markets such as that at Ennis struggled to recover.
Ennis town centre consists of often narrow streets and many old buildings. Some of these have now been pedestrianised, or made one way , but on busy days cars and people jostle for space. Many small shops, both old and new, make Ennis an interesting place to shop in.
Ennis has become an important centre of Irish traditional music over the last fifteen years, and, late in May each year, hosts the Fleadh Nua, the second largest traditional music festival in Ireland.
Ennis was the starting point of the West Clare Railway, a narrow gauge railway which ran from Ennis to Ennistymon and onwards to the towns and villages along the West Clare coastline. Trains ran from the same railway station as used by mainline Irish railway services. This station still forms part of the Irish railway network today, with mainline commuter services to Limerick. The mainline north to Athenry is not used at present, see Western Railway Corridor.
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