Gaelic: Cora Chaitlín
The English rendering of the name 'Newmarket-on-Fergus' probably owes its origin to the fact that an older 'Market' at nearby Bunratty (on the Ogarney River) predated the 'newer' market located at the village and hence Newmarket-on-Fergus; there is also a popular myth attributing the name-change to Lord Inchiqin who supposedly renamed the village after the famous racecourse, and following a victory at the horse-racing centre in England having wagered Dromoland Estate on the race. In the grounds of his neo- Gothic mansion, Dromoland Castle, is the most extensive hill-fort in Ireland, Mooghaun Hill-Fort, with several acres of ground encompassed within its treble walls. It is supposed to have been the site of a prehistoric walled village and a meeting- place in about 500 BC. It is regarded as the oldest ring fort of its kind in Europe. The Gaelic name Cora Chaitlín is reputed to have its origins in a 19th-century famine where weirs where placed across the river Canny at Newtown Canny (i.e. Limerick Road near the present entrance to O'Regan Park) and Finn mill race, in which to snare eels, hence Cathleen's Weir. The proper and original name is transliterated 'Tradaree' from the Gaelic 'Tradraigh'; the village being the centre of that ancient district of Tradaree which extended from Bunratty in the south and to Latoon in the north.
One of the earliest known references to the area was in the Book of Survey and Distribution written in 1636 by James Frost. In it he mentions the main land owners of the area, among them the Earl of Thomond.
There is also mention of Bonratty (later Bunratty) of which Newmarket is in the Barony, in a 1574 document written by Edward White. His document was written to give an accurate account of the lands of Thomond of which at the time there had been several incorrect descriptions made.
The Roman Catholic Parish of Newmarket-on-Fergus comprises seven ancient parishes: Bunratty, Fenloe, Kilnasoolagh, Drumline, Clonloghan, Kilconry and Kilmaleery. During the Penal Law period of 1744, the High Sheriff of Clare, John Westropp, had all the Churches in these seven Parishes closed.
In a letter to The Secretaries of the Baptist Irish Society dated December 20, 1823, a travelling preacher named W. Thomas stopped over in Newmarket for a night and wrote a letter the aforementioned Society. In it he described the difficulties that people had in hearing a sermon with some people walking miles over land just to hear the word of God. He also gives an insight into the poverty of the time describing children in various states of dress akin to their poorness. He also describes the children's eagerness to learn scripture by heart.
In March 1854, about two miles from the centre of the village an immense amount of gold was found in what appeared to be a hastily hidden trove concealed in a stone chamber under a cam of slight elevation, near the lake of Mooghaun, or Lougha- traska. The find became one of the most famous finds of its kind in Ireland.
In the Spring of 2007, six skeletal remains were found during the archaeological monitoring of improvement works to a local water network near Barnhill, Newmarket-on-Fergus. Dating showed that the remains were Pre-Christian.
The town is situated about six miles from Ennis. As its name implies, it lies on the River Fergus. The main N18 Limerick–Ennis road passed through Newmarket until the town was bypassed in 2003. That main bypass road was reclassified as the M18 on August 28, 2009 as part of a national programme to increase the amount of motorways available to road users.
- The earliest Census to record the population of Newmarket took place in 1659. Newmarket, listed as Corraeathelin in the census as a part of the Barony of Bunratty showed the population as just 9 people living within the confines of what we know as the village today.
- In the 2006 census, the population of Newmarket-on-Fergus was given as 1,542.
- The town is the birthplace of Irish nationalist William Smith O'Brien.
- Irish President Michael D. Higgins, though born in Limerick, was educated in Ballycar National School.
Commerce and tourism
The town has several small shops and public houses. The proximity of Shannon Airport, and the presence of several places of interest nearby (such as Bunratty Castle) brings some tourism to the area, providing business for local bed and breakfast establishments and hotels.
There are four primary schools in the town: Scoil na Maighdine Muire/Newmarket-on-Fergus National School, Ballycar National School, Stonehall National School and Clonmoney National School. For secondary education, students attend schools in Ennis and Shannon.
Newmarket-on-Fergus is located on the R471/R458. The N18/M18 is located a mile away on the Newmarket-on-Fergus bypass. The nearest railway station is in Sixmilebridge.
- O'Regans Park
- "Cora Chaitlín/Newmarket-on-Fergus". Placenames Database of Ireland. The Placenames Branch (Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs), Government of Ireland. http://www.logainm.ie/?text=Newmarket-on-Fergus&uiLang=en.
- "Table 5: Population of Towns ordered by County and size, 2002 and 2006" (PDF). Census 2006 Volume 1: Population classified by area. Central Statistics Office, Ireland. p. 37. http://www.cso.ie/census/documents/census2006_Table_5.pdf.
- "I.T.A. Topographical and General Survey1942/3". County Clare Library website. http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/history/ita_survey_1942/newmarket.htm.
- "Newmarket-on-Fergus: Historical Background". Clare County Library website. http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/places/nof_history.htm.
- Irish Batten Down Hatches for Bush
- "County Clare Heritage: Site Brief". County Clare Library website. http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/heritage/site_brief.htm.
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