Kildysart is a quiet, picturesque village situated on the banks of the Shannon Estuary, halfway between the towns of Ennis and Kilrush in the County of Clare. Although a quiet village, it boasts many facilities. It has three minimarkets, hardware shops, bank, pharmacist, clinic, vetinary clinic, credit union, garage, RC church, Community Centre, Quay Marina and nine pubs.
Kildysart has a lot of history and is mentioned in the Moland Report of 1703, which stated "Kildizert is distant from Lymerick 25 miles and 10 from Ennis, has on it ye ruins of an old church and several cabins."
According to Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland in 1837, the population of Kildysart had risen to 4501 inhabitants covering 9485 acres. In 1837 the village contained about 60 houses, irregularly built. A steamboat passed daily on the way to or from Limerick. An application had also been made to the Board of Public Works to improve the Quay near Kildysart, from which pigs, corn, butter and agricultural produce were sent to Limerick in boats; and building material, groceries and other essentials were brought in in return.
In the early 1900's there were many businesses and trades in the village: saddlers, shoemakers, nailmakers, dressmakers, milliners, blacksmiths, tailors and millers. Sadly most of these no longer exist.
In 1990 at a meeting of Kildysart Development Association the idea for Marina was conceived. With this in mind an Marina committee was formed. In order to finance the project a festival committee was also set up and in '91 and '92 the first two Banner Rose Festivals were held. These raised £20,000 and made it possible for the Marine Committee to apply to Shannon Development for funding under the European Regional Development scheme. This application was successful and £60,000 was granted. Clare Co. Council also gave a grant of £10,000. Work on phase one started in Feb.'93. This consisted of a slipway, a drying out area and a basin adjacent to the quay wall which would have approx 7ft. of water at low tide.
By Summer '94 this work was completed and a car park and picnic area were added. Pontoons were put in place in the basin and the marina was open for business. Phase two of the project which was to include a toilet and shower block, kitchen, laundry and workshop for use by visiting boats was never started due to lack of support by Shannon Development, and even though Clare Co. Council continues to support the Marine Committee with funding, the quay is still having problems with silting, as are most of the quays and harbours in the Shannon Estuary.
The Banner Rose Festival which was started in 1990 continued to run successfully for the next several years. It then became the Kildysart Cultural Festival, and has gone from success to success each year, thanks to a very dedicated and hardworking committee.
Kildysart boasts excellent fishing, both in the Estuary and in the local lakes. Gortglass, Clonshnacta and Effirnan, which are only about a five minute drive from the village, are trout fishing lakes only, and membership of the local angling club is required to fish in them. This is easy to obtain and inexpensive.
A boat can be chartered in Kildysart for fishing in the Shannon Estuary, or for trips to the many islands that lie off the village. Conger, Skate, Greater and Lesser Dogfish, Pollock, Thorn Back Ray, Flounder, Tope, to name but some, can be caught in this area. (See Local Businesses.)
All of these species can also be caught off the Cahercon Pier, which is open to the public and is approx. one mile from Kildysart. Bait in the form of Peeler Crab and Lugworm is available in good quantity in the area.