UK Genealogy Archives logo

Clara, Kings County

Historical Description

CLARA, a market and post-town, and ecclesiastical district in the barony of KILCOURSEY, KING'S county, and province of LEINSTER, 6 miles (N. N. W.) from Tullamore, and 48½ miles (W. by S.) from Dublin; containing 7743 inhabitants, of which number, 1149 are in the town. This place is situated on the river Brosna, near the Grand Canal, and on the road from Tullamore to Athlone. The town contains 228 houses, most of which are neatly built, and the inhabitants are amply supplied with timber, fuel, and water. It had formerly a considerable trade, and an extensive market for grain; not less than eleven distilleries were conducted with success; but since the completion of the canal it has been deprived of most of its trade. The weaving of cotton and linen employs about 260 persons; the manufacture of tobacco, soap, and candles, is carried on; there are a brewery, a tanyard, and four corn and flour-mills, the produce of two being exclusively for the English market; also an extensive bleach-green. The market is on Wednesday, and is amply supplied with grain; and fairs are held on Jan. 6th, Feb. 1st, March 25th, May 12th, June 29th, July 25th, Sept. 26th and 27th, and Nov. 1st, for cattle, horses, sheep, and pigs. It is a constabulary police station; and petty sessions are held every Weduesday, The gentlemen's seats are Clara House, the residence of Edw. Cox, Esq., proprietor of the town; Woodfield, of A. Fuller, Esq.; and Kildare, of John Armstrong, Esq.

The district, which forms part of the union of Ardnorcher, comprises the parishes of Kilmanaghan and Kilbride-Langan, forming the perpetual curacy of Clara, in the diocese of Meath, and in the patronage of the Incumbent of Ardnorcher. The church, a handsome edifice, was built about 60 years since; the Ecclesiastical Commissioners lately granted £212 for its repair. The glebe-house was built in 1812, by aid of a gift of £450 and a loan of £50 from the late Board of First Fruits. The income of the perpetual curate is £92. 6. 11. per annum, arising from 10 acres of glebe, a stipend of £55. 7. 8½. per annum paid by the incumbent of Ardnorcher, and £18 per annum from Primate Boulter's augmentation fund. In the R.C. divisions the district forms part of the unions of Kilmanaghan and Clara; the latter also comprising the parishes of Ardnorcher and Kilbride-Langan, and containing two chapels, one at Horseleap, and the other at Clara, where preparations are in progress for erecting, in a handsome style, St. Bridget's Abbey, as a new R.C. church, on an eminence overhanging the town. There are places of worship for Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists, and one for Baptists; also a dispensary. About two miles north from Clara is the extensive bog of Kilmaleady, which in 1821 burst its bounds and flowed for nearly a mile and a half down an adjoining valley. Its further progress was arrested by judicious measures, but not till after it had covered about 150 acres, of which from 60 to 80 were buried under a superincumbent stratum of bog from six to ten feet in depth.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1840 by Samuel Lewis

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Clara from the following:


Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for King's is available to browse.