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Sixmilebridge ( ) is a vibrant and rapidly expanding village in County Claremarker, Irelandmarker. Located midway between Ennismarker and Limerick citymarker, the town is a short distance away from the main N18 road, being on the old "back road" between the two. The village of Kilmurry (Cill Mhuire in Irish) is also part of the Sixmilebridge parish.

Sixmilebridge partly serves as a dormitory town for workers in Limerick Citymarker, Ennismarker and Shannonmarker region, with hundreds of modern housing units being built to accommodate demand in recent years. The commercial core of Sixmilebridge has effectively tripled in size in recent years too, with many new retail units and businesses choosing to locate in the village.

History

The unusual English name of the village derives, as Thomas Dineley who visited Sixmilebridge in 1681, describes: "From Bunrattymarker, the seat of the Earl of Thomond, into the town of Sixmilebridge, belonging also to that noble family, is 3 miles; from whence to the city of Limerickmarker, to which are two ways, namely by the oil mills and the seat of the Mc Namaras beyond it, or over the high mountain, famous for its admirable prospect, hanging as it were over Sixmilebridge town and commonly known as Gallows Hill; this is the upper, the other the lower way to Limerick and from town to the city six miles either way, whence the town hath its name".

The original village grew up around a crossing place on the O'Garney River. By the end of the 17th century development was tied to the industrialisation of the area as people of Dutchmarker origin found the river very suitable for milling. This ended abruptly with the building of a toll bridge on the river by Henry D'Esterre (Ó Dálaigh 2004). D'Esterre's construction gained a profit from people crossing the river but halted the trading done with Holland.

According to local tradition , the famous duel between Daniel O'Connell and a member of the D'Esterre family in February 1815 arose from O'Connell's refusal to pay the toll. This conflicts with the conventional account of the duel. D'Esterre lost his life, but the toll bridge survived and remains standing to this day.

Places of interest

A unique feature of Sixmilebridge is the highly decorated but functional "duck inn" on the O'Garney River, occupied by a thriving population of ducks. The duck inn is a floating, thatched raft with glass windows and painted walls. It houses the ducks during winter and is also where their locally consumed eggs are hatched and collected. It forms part of the tourist trail of Sixmilebridge.

Events

Each January, the village plays host to a colourful selection of singers, instrumentalists, dancers and yarn spinners for the Sixmilebridge Winter Music Weekend. This festival was established in the year 2000 by the Sixmilebridge Folk Club. The event lasts one weekend and has wide-ranging acts and events including French street groups, Irish, American and English singer-songwriters, oldtime bands, stand up comedians, singing and dancing workshops, blues singers and bluegrass bands. Some heavyweights on the Irish music scene usually headline. Kate Purcell, Johnny Moynihan, Mick Hanly, and Andy Irvine have all played. The festival is unique for its open itinerary and insistence on nearly all gigs being acoustic and wireless. The January 2008 programme featured Karan Casey, Simon Mayor, and a slew of bluegrass, blues, and traditional Irish acts, along with new features such as a Klezmer band, and an "Open Mic" afternoon in association with the local Youth Club and Teen Café.

People

Loughy, an influential traditional Irish musician, has made regular appearances at the festival with his group 'Fadamarker'. His brother Colm O'Loughlin, who also grew up in Cappagh, in Sixmilebridge, is an up-and-coming rock pop musician who performs mainly in mainland Europe. Colm O'Loughlin wrote the Community Games theme song "We're singing as one" for the National Community Games in 2005.

Societies

  • The Sixmilebridge tidy towns committee compete every year in the national competition.
  • The Sixmilebridge Youth Club is very popular among youth and each year presents a play.
  • Although not a society, Dancemasters School Of Dance was formed by Michelle Naughton-Shires and holds classes regularly.
  • The Sixmilebridge Variety Group created and produced by Dolores O'Loughlin, has enjoyed much success down through the years at local and national level. It has held shows in many countries across Europe, including Denmark where it has performed on one occasion for the Queen of Denmark.
  • The Bridge Complex is a voluntary community organisation, with administrative offices at The Old Courthouse, the current community hall. The aim of the Complex is to provide socially inclusive amenities to the community. A new facility is currently being constructed to house the organisation.


Education

There are two primary schools in the Sixmilebridge Parish, namely Sixmilebridge National School and Kilmurry National School. For secondary education, students go to schools in Limerick, Shannon, Ennis and Tulla.

Sport

Gaelic games

Sports are also very prominent in the area with locals partaking in Hurling and Soccer. The local GAA club is Sixmilebridge and gets its players from the Sixmilebridge and Kilmurry area. The club was formed in 1904 mainly as a Gaelic football club, but also played Hurling, the sport that is now most associated with the 'Bridge. The land used was donated to the GAA by the Casey family. Nowadays the club participates at Hurling, Camogie and Scór. The club is well known for its Hurling and many players from there have represented their county with distinction down through the years with some having the honour of winning Munster and All-Ireland Hurling championships with Clare at Senior, Junior and Minor levels. The club also won an All-Ireland club title (becoming the first team from Clare to have won it) on 17 March (St. Patrick's day) 1996.

Football

The local soccer (football) club is called Bridge United AFC. The club was formed in 1967. They too have enjoyed success down through the years. Some players within the club have got trials with professional clubs in England down through the years. The highlight of their history was when they won for the first time, the Clare and District Soccer League Premier Division title in the 1972/73 season. They have since repeated that feat twice in 2002/03 and 2005/06 respectively. In January 2008 the club launched its own website at [548436]

Golf

There is a pitch and putt and nine hole golf course at Kilmurry, Sixmilebridge which is open all year round.

Other sports

There is also a number of sport societies and clubs in the area which cater for the Sixmilebridge and District. There is the Sixmilebridge/Kilmurry Community Games, Sixmilebridge Golf Society, Olympic Harriers Athletic Club, Tradaree Coursing Club, Sixmilebridge Gun Club and Kilmurry Gun Club. Some locals also have horses and some play rugby.

Angling

As well as the river, there are many lakes in the area such as Mountcashel lake and these waters provide tourists with a chance to catch coarse fish such as pike, bream and roach. Game fish such as trout and salmon can also be caught in the river but certain laws and rules apply. Sixmilebridge Angling Club exists to protect and promote the positive spirit of angling throughout the Owen O'Garney River system.

Transport

The Limerick–Ennis railway line passes through the village. The station was closed a number of years ago, but Clare County Council plans to reopen it in 2009. Sixmilebridge railway station opened on 17 January 1859 and finally closed on 17 June 1963.

See also



External links



References

  1. Clare Library



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