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    We shall find that the members of our Sept, from the early part of the fifth to the middle of the seventeenth century, dwelt in a well defined district of Clare, a county which until comparatively recent times was isolated from the rest of Ireland; its southern and eastern boundary being formed by the river Shannon, which throughout this part of its course was only fordable at one place situated below the town of Killaloe. To the north, Clare is separated from Galway by a range of high hills (Echtye) running from the Shannon westward towards Galway Bay; between the extreme western spur of these hills and the bay is a strip of low lying swampy land, through which the road northward from Clare passed; this low land as well as the Echtye hills were in former times covered by a dense forest rendering them almost impassable. The geographical position of the county was such as to preserve its inhabitants from successful invasion, or from being occupied by foreigners until late in the sixteenth century.

    Nottidge Charles Macnamara, 1896

    Detail from Arrowsmith map of Ireland, 1844.
    Above: detail from Arrowsmith map of Ireland, 1844.
    Map © Cartography Associates, from the Rumsey Collection.

    Left: detail from satellite photo (click for larger version).

    Charon (MIT Project) 1989, James Coleman ©