Ennis ( Irish : Inis ) is the administrative seat of County Clare in the Republic of Ireland . The city is located on the Fergus River, northwest of Limerick , and has 25,276 inhabitants (as of 2016). The Irish name is a short form of Inis Cluana Rámhfhada .
The origins of Ennis go back to 1240 when Donnchadh Ó Briain, King of Thomond , started building a church on an island in Fergus. The church was soon left to the Franciscans , who expanded it into a monastery, the Ennis Friary , with a monastery school. In the 14th century around 1000 monks and students lived and studied there. A fairly significant settlement gradually developed around the monastery during the Middle Ages. Due to its central location and importance, Ennis was raised to the capital of the newly founded County Clare in 1565. In 1610 the town finally got market rights. During the religious conflicts of the 17th century, the monastery and school were dissolved. At the beginning of the 19th century, companies in the textile industry as well as breweries and distilleries had settled in Ennis. But epidemics and the Great Famine of the 1840s severely affected the city's development. Between 1840 and 1860 the city lost about a quarter of its population.
The town's name is also linked to two eminent figures in Irish history. In 1828 Daniel O'Connell was elected to the British House of Commons in Ennis as the first Catholic . In 1917 Éamon de Valera won an overwhelming election victory in a by-election to the British House of Commons. He remained loyal to the city of Ennis throughout his political career as an MP.
Ennis is, along with the Shannon Free Zone at Shannon Airport, the most important industrial location in County Clare. Several industrial parks have been created over the past two decades. Mainly companies from the electrical and pharmaceutical industries have settled here. The Information Age Park , which opened in 2005, is primarily intended to attract companies involved in communications and computer technology.
The Information Age Town Project has contributed to the city's economic boom . In a competition initiated by the national telecommunications company Eircom in 1997, Ennis was selected from several other applicants. As part of this project, between 1997 and 2002 the equivalent of 19 million euros was invested in the city's communications infrastructure. Authorities, schools, companies, but also private households received support and training in purchasing new devices, software and internet access. Today 80% of all households in the city have an internet connection.
Ennis was an important market town for centuries. The cattle trade has continued to this day. However, its importance has decreased over the years. One reason for this was the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in 2001. Thanks to restrictive measures, there were only a few outbreaks of the disease in the county, but the market still suffered.
In 2005, Ennis won the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government's nationwide Tidy Towns competition . This honored the city's efforts to improve environmental protection and preserve its historical cityscape.
The financial crisis since 2007 has had an impact on the Irish economy , so negative economic developments are also evident for the traders and companies in Ennis.
Centrally located, Ennis is County Clare's main transportation hub. All the major national roads and several regional roads meet here. The three national roads connect Ennis with Galway City and Limerick City ( N18 ), Ennistymon ( N85 ) and Kilrush (N68). In the spring of 2007 the bypass road ( Ennis bypass ) was completed. They significantly relieve the inner city of through traffic.
Bus Éireann ensures the majority of the national public transport as well as the traffic with the surrounding towns ; the railways has lost over previous times considerably in importance. Today there are only connections to Limerick City and (reactivated) to Galway. There is a connection to the rest of the railway network.
Shannon Airport is about 25 kilometers south of Ennis . It is now Ireland's second busiest airport after Dublin. It used to be an important stopover for transatlantic flights. Although it has lost its importance in recent years, it still offers many international connections, especially to North America.
The city's Town Council is elected for five years. The last election took place on July 5, 2009. The mayor of the city is elected annually from among the ranks of the municipal council.
The city of Ennis has become a center for traditional Irish music . The Fleadh Nua , which takes place annually in May, has made a significant contribution to this . Relocated from Dublin to Ennis in 1974 , it has become one of the largest festivals in the country. In addition, the Guinness Traditional Music Festival takes place in November . In November 2001 a new event center for local music was opened with the Glór. The 7 million euro building offers space for 550 spectators.
Ennis has partnerships with the following cities:
- Saint-Paul-de-Fenouillet , France
- Phoenix , Arizona , United States
- Langenfeld (Rhineland) , Germany
- Official information page about Ennis
- Homepage of the Fleadh Nua Festival
- Ennis Information Age Town Project