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Mountshannon

Mountshannon is a village in east County Clare, Ireland, and a Catholic parish by the same name. The village is on the western shore of Lough Derg, north of Killaloe. Mountshannon won the Irish Tidy Towns Competition in 1981.HistoryThe village was designed and built from scratch by Alexander Woods, a Limerick merchant, who intended it as a purely Protestant settlement from which the surrounding Catholic population would be so impressed by the thrift and industry of the settlers that they would quickly convert to the Reformed Church; even as late as the 1830s there was not a single Catholic resident in the village. In fact the reverse happened - it was the Catholics who colonised the village, and the picturesque Protestant church in a wooded churchyard bears mute testimony to Woods and his scheme.Mountshannon was home to the last manually operated telephone exchange in Ireland. The exchange was finally converted to automatic service at noon on May 28, 1987.TodayMountshannon is an attractive village with 4 pubs, one of which is a hotel, a corner shop/cafe, a restaurant, a garage/shop and a pizzeria.It is a starting point for visiting the nearby Inis Cealtra, or Holy Island. Now uninhabited, it was once a monastic settlement. It has a fine round tower, and the ruins of several small churches, as well as part of 4 high crosses and a holy well. The cemetery on this island is still in use, the coffins being transported from the Clare side in small boats. There is a stone with a hole in it, through which lovers held hands and promised to be true. Boat trips can be taken from the harbour to the island.
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