The National Enterprise Town Awards: Ennis

We are profiling all the towns to enter this year’s National Enterprise Town Awards. Today we are looking at Ennis in Co Clare.

Ennis is the county town of County Clare on the River Fergus, north of where it enters the Shannon Estuary. The town has a population of 25,276, making it the largest town in Clare and the 12th largest in Ireland.

The name Ennis comes from the word Inis, meaning an island. The island was formed between two streams of the River Fergus. Inis Laoi (Calf Island), lay in the River Fergus opposite Clonroad Fort, built in 1210 by the O’Brien, who were kings of Thomond.

In the 12th century, the O’Briens left their seat of power in Limerick and built a royal residence at Clonroad on what was then an island. In 1240, King Donnchadh O’Brien ordered the construction of an extensive church which he later donated to the Franciscans. The centuries which followed bore great activity. The Friary 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.

Ennis is an historical town full of character, picturesque narrow winding streets, historical buildings and a busy market town atmosphere. At the same time, the town has many modern influences, making Ennis a town that brings together the then and now.

Ennis maintains its market charm with 90pc of local businesses in the town being family or independently owned, a factor that creates a unique shopping experience reflected in our title as the boutique capital of Ireland. Ennis was also awarded the friendliest town in Ireland in 2018 and also retains Purple Flag status.

Ennis’ unique culture, commercial offering and general hospitality were key factors in the successful hosting of Fleadh Ceoil na hEireann in 2016/2017. Ennis also has an outstanding record in the national Tidy Towns competition and is one of the country’s most prolific title winners being outright winners in 2005, followed by further recognition as Ireland’s Tidiest Large Urban Centre in 2006, 2008, 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

In conjunction with Ennis Municipal District, the town run a number of different festivals and events throughout the year. Equally these festivals provide an opportunity for local residents to come out, enjoy what Ennis has to offer and support the many varied businesses operating in the area.

Underpinning these successes is one word, collaboration. Proactive engagement between Ennis Chamber, Promote Ennis, community and various other groupings supported by Clare County Council are the key foundations in ensuring Ennis continues to innovate, promote itself and more importantly plan for its future.

Image: Shutterstock

Written by Stephen Larkin

Published: 13 September, 2019