Wednesday 21 January 2015

The Parishes of County Clare

Most of the genealogical and geographical information on Clare County Library’s website is arranged by civil parish. The reason for this is that between the 17th and early 20th centuries, the civil parish was the territorial unit used by government for its land surveys and censuses. Click here for a list of the civil parishes of Clare, and they are mapped here... They are divided into townlands, the smallest territorial unit, and are arranged into Baronies, the largest unit in the county system. Civil parishes are no longer in use for administrative purposes.

The Catholic parish system is a separate system and forms the basis for much of Ireland's social, educational and sporting activities. Catholic parishes are still evolving, with some parishes combining and new parishes being established in densely-populated areas. Clare is divided between the Dioceses of Killaloe, Galway, and Limerick. The Catholic parish registers of Baptism and Marriage are very important for genealogists, and are usually the only source of family information in Ireland before the 1901 census. See this list of Catholic parish records, available on microfilm in Clare County Library's Local Studies Centre in Ennis.

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