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Co Clare history

Loop Head’s location, with the treacherous Atlantic on one side and the busy shipping lanes of the Shannon Estuary on the other, means that much of its history naturally tells of the water.

At one time, many inhabitants of the southern shores of the peninsula eked a living from piloting Limerick-bound cargo vessels up and down the estuary. In May 1873, five pilots from Kilbaha lost their lives when their canoe was overcome by high seas as they were attempting to offer pilotage to an Austrian brig. The event is commemorated in a ballad, and there is a memorial to the five men in the centre of the village.

Another memorial in Kilbaha honours the Grave of the Yellow Men, a group of foreign sailors who are said to have drowned at the spot in the 19th century. Details are sketchy, but the story has been part of the community’s oral tradition for five generations.

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