The Parish of Killard (Doonbeg)
The parish of Killard, or Doonbeg as it is better known, traces its origins back to the 6th Century. Cill Aird meaning Church on the Hill was founded by St. Senan, patron saint of West Clare. Senan’s Oratory in Killard overlooked the surrounding countryside and it was on this same site that Killard Church, now a ruin was built about 1000 A.D.
In the ancient territorial divisions of Thomand, the parish of Killard belonged to Corcabaiscinn West. The parish was somewhat larger in those far off days, stretching further west into the Atlantic Ocean. But, in the year 801, as we are told in the Annals of Clonmacnoise, a great earthquake occurred in West Clare, resulting in the deaths of over 1,000 people. The sea divided the land much of which was submerged beneath the waves, leaving only a few islands, i.e.: Mutton and Mattle. This disaster is also referred to in the Annuals of the Four Masters.
However, St. Senan’s Church in Killard survived and it continued as the principal place of worship for the people of the parish up to 1651. That year, Cromwellian soldiers sacked Killard Church and Kilferagh Church in the neighbouring parish of Kilkee. It is noteworthy that it was 1651 that Killard and Killferagh parishes were united and continued as one parish for 200 years. In 1855, Killard (Doonbeg) once again was made a separate parish and that position holds to the present day.