Panoramic view of Liscannor
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Lying on the west coast of Ireland, on Liscannor Bay, the village is located on the R478 road between Lahinch, to the east, and Doolin, to the north. The Cliffs of Moher are about 5 km (3.1 mi) north west of the village. Between Lahinch and Liscannor lies the small village of Moymore. Liscannor is located in the civil parish of Kilmacrehy.
At least 30 ships of the Spanish Armada, sent to invade England in the summer of 1588, were lost along the coast of Ireland, mainly along the western seaboard. The oar-powered galleass Zuñiga was damaged, and anchored off-shore of Liscannor. The ship came under surveillance by the High Sheriff of Clare and by crown forces and had to withdraw to their ship. One captive was taken and sent for interrogation. The Zuñiga escaped the coast with favorable winds, and later reached Le Havre.
The village of Liscannor is of late 18th century origin. According to an 1814 survey there were nearly 200 houses in it at the time, and about ten of them had flag roofs. 40 houses were used by fishermen.:66
The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland's top visitor attractions, and include a protected colony of cliff-nesting seabirds. The area was designated as a Refuge for Fauna in 1988, and as a Special Protection Area for Birds (SPA) under the EU Birds Directive in 1989.
Cill MacCreiche (Kilmacreehy Church) is first documented in the 14th century, but some of the current Gothic ornamentation is later.
This was an O'Connor stronghold, which like Dough Castle later passed to the O'Briens. In 1712, the Earl of Thomond let the estate to William Fitzgerald (annual rent £14). Under the Fitzgerald family, the town began to grow in the later 18th century.:68
The ruined remains include a six-story tower with a spiral stairway to the east and a lower main building next to it. This latter was described in some detail by Thomas Johnson Westropp in the late 19th century, who noted that it had five floors.:68-9
Located at a site of pre-Christian Lughnasadh celebrations,:74Dabhach Bhríde (or Brigid's Vat) is located near the Cliffs of Moher. Behind the well, on a higher level to which steps lead, is an ancient cemetery. There is a large cross here and a circular path around it, and part of the Rite of the Holy Well is performed in this area known as the Ula Uachtarach or upper sanctuary.
Pilgrims from elsewhere in County Clare and from the Aran Islands came to Liscannor. Pattern Days on which large groups attended included St Brigid's Day (1 February) and Garland Sunday (late July).:74
The harbour was built between 1825 and 1831 for £2,900, of which £2,000 was a government grant.
In modern times, the harbour has a number of fishing vessels moored there as well as smaller boats using it is a launching site for sea fishing/recreational sports. During summer months there is also a ferry service to the base of the Cliffs of Moher as well as to the Aran Islands.
In the past the harbour was a hub for fishing vessels as well as a location to export locally quarried Liscannor Stone and to receive in coal supplies. Some historical documents note that due to the silting of the harbour, ships could only carry approximately 380 tonnes into port. At low tides ships had to be winched into harbour. A currach would bring the rope out to the ship. Locally quarried flag was cut and polished beside the harbour and winched onto ships by steam crane. These slabs were transported to several British cities.
Coal was delivered directly to Liscannor up until the mid-1960s for Griffins coal yard in Ennistymon. However, in the mid-1960s a boat ran aground just outside the harbour and sank. The insurance became too expensive, and coal was then delivered to Ennistymon via Clarecastle.
The engineer John Philip Holland (1841-1914) was born in Liscannor, and developed some of the first submarines commissioned by the US Navy and Royal Navy. A visitor centre, the "John P Holland Centre", was opened in Liscannor in 2016.
Holland is the subject of a memorial donated by the Submarine Veterans of the US Navy.:66
St Brigid's Church in Liscannor was built in 1858. It is a single-cell, four-bay church built of rubble masonry. A new roof was later added but the gallery, y-mullioned windows and semi-Tudor door were retained. Although the construction of a round tower was suggested in the 1920s, this Touheran tower which would have housed the bell as well as cottage industries on the lower floors was never built.:68
Liscannor has been referred to as "the Pope's Own Parish". Located in the Diocese of Kilfenora, of which the Pope is the Bishop and the Bishop of Galway is the Apostolic Administrator, Liscannor is a mensal parish, i.e. directly under the direct authority of the bishop.:68
The church of Moymore was built in 1877, on an elevated site overlooking the bay. There was no church previously at this location. Before that the people of the area attended Mass in a small thatched chapel a quarter mile to the east in Caheraderry (Derry).
The Caheraderry (Derry) church probably dates from the 17th century penal times, built either to facilitate travelling friars or possibly as an out-chapel or hermitage for Kilmacreehy Church. Beside the ruins stand two small one-room attached cottages. According to local tradition, one of these cottages was a sheebeen known as Gleeson's and the other a schoolhouse, where a hedge-schoolmaster taught.
Bus Éireann route 350 links Liscannor to several locations: Ennis, Ennistymon, Cliffs of Moher, Doolin, Lisdoonvarna and Galway. There are a number of journeys each way daily. Onward rail and bus connections are available at Ennis and Galway.
Liscannor won a county title in 1940 - with a combined team from the broader North Clare area. Liscannor GAA Club was reformed in 1985 as a separate entity after players from the area had played with The St Michaels team for a number of years. Liscannor were promoted to Intermediate ranks after winning the Junior title in their first year after reforming in 1985. Liscannor also won the league title in 1985. An intermediate title followed in 1988, but Liscannor were to revert to the Intermediate grade after one year at Senior level. It would be 12 years later, in 2000, before Liscannor returned to the Senior Grade.