The 2006 census indicates that Ennis had a population of 24,253 making it the largest
town in Munster and the sixth largest town in Ireland. It is the 11th largest urban
centre in the country. In 2005 Ennis won the Irish Tidy Towns Competition. The town
has maintained this high status over the years coming 2nd in 2008, an improvement
on the previous year.
The name Ennis comes from the Irish word "Inis", meaning "island". This name relates
to an island formed between two courses of the River Fergus on which the Franciscan
Abbey was built. The past of Ennis is greatly associated with the O'Brien family,
who were descendants of Brian Boru. During the 12th century the O'Briens who were
Kings of Thomond, left their seat of power in Limerick and built a royal residence
at Clonroad on the then island. During 1240 King Donnchadh O'Brien ordered the construction
of an extensive church grounds which he later donated to recently formatted followers
of St. Francis. The centuries which followed bore great activity. The Friars keep
was expanded and students came in great flocks to study at the theological college.
The Friars, who were free to move about, met the spiritual needs of the local population.
It was a religious centre until the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Because it never
had town walls it became a location for many Catholic merchants from Limerick when
Catholics were forbidden to reside in the walled towns by the Penal Laws, and much
of its past prosperity is attributable to this influx.
The Town contains several old British military barracks, which were built over the
centuries. The Clare Road and Clonroad areas contain terraced cottages, built in
the Early 20th century to house soldiers. On Station Road, once stood a prison. Many
Ennis men fought for the British Army during The First World War.
Politically, Ennis has always been considered a Fianna Fáil stronghold. Many of the
Town's past councils are made up of members of this party.However in the 2009 Local
Elections the party was reduced to just one member out of nine on Ennis Town Council.
A monument to Éamon de Valera, founder of the party and former President of Ireland,
stands outside Ennis Courthouse.
Ennis (Irish: Inis, meaning "island") is the county town of County Clare in Ireland.
Situated on the River Fergus, it lies north of Limerick and south of Galway. Its
name is a shortening of the original Inis Cluain Ramh Fhada ("island of the long
The town is 19 km (12 mi) from Shannon and Shannon Airport. Geographically located
near the mouth of the Fergus estuary, it is now a gateway to the West of Clare via
the N85 Western relief road for people travelling from the Limerick and East Clare