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Video of Killaloe, County Clare, Republic of Ireland

Ballina Town (county Clare)

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Killaloe (Irish: Cill Dálua meaning Lua's church) is a large village in east County Clare, Ireland, situated in the midwest of Ireland. The village is on the south end of Lough Derg, while the settlement spreads across the River Shannon, with the County Tipperary side known as Ballina. The surrounding area is popular for hill-walking.

The town owes its origin to a sixth century monastic settlement founded by St. Molua, or Lua, originally on an island in the Shannon 1 km below the present Killaloe Bridge which later moved onto the mainland. In the tenth century it was base for Brian Boru as it controlled the strategic crossing of the Shannon above Limerick, where the Vikings were in control. Brian Boru had his palace, Kincora (Ceann Coradh), on the high ground where the current Catholic church stands. Therefore, between 1002 and 1014, when he was the High King, Killaloe was effectively the capital of all Ireland. 2 km north of the town, his fort, Beal Boruma, stood on the site of an Iron Age ring at the head of Lough Derg, where a ford crossed the river. The word "Boruma" comes from the tribute paid by those crossing the river and is thought to be the origin of Brian Boru's name.

St Flannan's Cathedral (Church of Ireland) was built between 1185 and 1225, with an oratory for the same saint, who had been the abbot of Killaloe in the seventh century, and it became the centre of the diocese. The cathedral was destroyed and rebuilt in the fourteenth century, and of the original building only a romanesque arch survives. In Elizabethan times, Ennis was chosen as the county town of Clare, and the importance of Killaloe declined.

In 1650, Cromwell spent 10 days on the opposite side of the Shannon at Ballina, exploring ways to cross the river, which was the defensive line of catholic and royalist forces before the Siege of Limerick. 40 years later, Patrick Sarsfield was the leader of the Jacobite forces here, harrying the Williamite forces advancing on Limerick.

The earliest mention of a (wooden) bridge across the river is in 1013. This was often repaired and eventually replaced by a 17 arch stone bridge in the early eighteenth century, later reduced to 13 arches. Most of the houses in the lower part of the town were built in the eighteenth century. In the nineteenth century the Shannon Steam Navigation Company had its headquarters here and constructed a canal to bypass the rapids below the town.

St. Lua's oratory, built between 1000 and 1150, was moved from Friar's island to the site of the Catholic Church when the hydroelectric scheme at Ardnacrusha was constructed in the 1920s.

Killaloe was the birthplace of Ireland's famous High King, Brian Boru. He ruled from Kincora, which is believed to have been in modern day Killaloe.

Former Ireland rugby international captain Keith Wood, also the inaugural IRB International Player of the Year in 2001, is a Killaloe native.