West Clare Gallery is a heaven for artist to exhibit their work. River Fair is the arts and crafts section of the Gallery and Serendipity is an entity on its own where you can find a wide range of Hand Crafted Gifts and Craft Supplies. All our products in Serendipity have been hand made in Ireland and are all truly unique. We also have Tea Rooms and a Farmer's Market every Saturday from 10am to 2pm.
April 1936 a field called Daly's Field was purchased by the present owners - now second generation. It was a sports field - football, etc. and the locals fished from the boundary wall of the Cullenagh River which ran through the town - brown trout and salmon. It was a three tiered site. Lower level which was landscaped with wonderful trees - monkey puzzle, flowering peaches, cherry blossoms, yews, laurels, silver birches and a wonderful copper beech. On the middle level a Tudor style bungalow and top level a garage.
The West Clare Railway bordered the site at a height with the station house, goods depot, platform and the wonderful stone bridge. The family were "Railway children" with wonderful memories of all the station's activities - horses and floats - for goods haulage and delivered by CIE. The horses grazed in the field by the garage, now the farmer's market. In 1961 the West Clare Railway closed and the station house was sold. 1976 the building was sold and repurchased by the present owners in 1996. Recently artists painted there and it is now the West Clare Gallery - art, crafts, food, farmers market and outdoor market. Next generation and so it goes on!
The West Clare Railway was one of a network of 30ft gauge lines which mushroomed across rural Ireland in the wake of the 1883 Tramways Act. Opened throughout in 1892, it connected the market town of Ennis with the coastal settlements of Kilrush and Kilkee. Dogged by money problems from the outset, the Railway was propelled into the limelight in 1896 when the entertainer Percy French was prevented from fulfilling an engagement in Kilkee by the breakdown of his West Clare train - his poem “Are you right there Michael” and the resulting Court case ensuring a lasting worldwide fame for the Railway, although not in circumstances it would have chosen! Other hazards the West Clare had to face included the weather - no less than five trains were blown off the metals by ferocious Atlantic storms, eventually resulting in the installation of an amameter at Quilty, and instructions that all trains should be halted when winds exceeded 80mph.
Taken from book - The West Clare Railway by Patrick Taylor