Knock knock. Who’s there?

Knock, Co Clare

Samuel Lewis, in his Topographical Dictionary of 1837, described the village of Knock in Co Clare thus:

KNOCK, a post-town, in the parish of KILMURRY, barony of CLONDERALAW, county of CLARE, and province of MUNSTER, 8 miles (W. S. W.) from Kildysart, on the road to Kilrush; containing 180 inhabitants. It is beautifully situated on the north-western side of Clonderalaw bay, and comprises about 30 houses, several of which are ornamented in the rustic style and have tastefully disposed shrubberies and gardens attached. It is a station of the constabulary police, and petty sessions are held weekly on Friday. Here is a small pier, where sea manure is landed, and whence corn is occasionally sent in boats to Limerick.

In 1846, the Parliamentary Gazetteer said:

KNOCK, a village in the parish of Kilmurry-Clonderalaw, barony of Clonderalaw, co. Clare, Munster. It stands on the north-west shore of Clonderalaw bay, and on the coast-road from Kilrush to Killadysart, 5.5 miles east of Kilrush. It has a post-office and a dispensary; and the latter is within the Kilrush Poor-law union, and serves for a pop. of 10,706; and, in 1839-40, it expended £90, and made 4,174 dispensations of medicine. A broad and beautiful band of wood, often called the woods of Knock, embosoms the demesnes of Woodlawn, Oaklands, Kilmore, and Cahirbane, and extends 2 miles along the shore of Clonderalaw bay. Area of the village, 3 acres. Pop., in 1831, 180; in 1841, 115. Houses 21.

I find it very difficult to get Google Maps centred properly, but try this:

If you can see Kilrush in Co Clare, travel east along the N67 until the road colour changes from green to yellow; Knock is just about there, and if you zoom in you should be able to see it. And here (I hope) is the Ordnance Survey historic map showing the Post Office, the Police Barrack, a Bark Yard and the quays.

Here are some photos from August 2009.

Looking across to the west pier

Looking down the west pier

The L-shaped east pier from the west pier

Between the piers

Open boat at the west pier

Lisroe Marine Services boat Rogue Trader

Workboat and pontoon at the east pier

I would be glad to hear from anyone who can add information about the history of Knock, especially the use of the piers. Please leave a Comment below.

14 responses to “Knock knock. Who’s there?

  1. my grandparents people came from knock ,i was told by a lady from the town that the side exit of culligans pub that the ruin that stands there was the family home .also that thay piloted boats up to arthurs quay in limerick..any information would be appreciated .barry pearse.

  2. Thanks for that, Barry. I know very little about Knock myself, and would love to know more. If I find out anything, or if anyone leaves a comment here, I’ll pass it on to you. bjg

  3. My grandfather s people came from knock his name was Christopher Pesrse i was told the cottage ruin next to culligans pub was their home .also that yhey pilot -ed boats up to Arthur s quay in limereick their must be over 50 families of pearse, s in limereick. Any info on the family of photos would be fantastic. .☺

  4. I spoke with the Postmaster about 40 years ago and he remembered the Protestant clergyman and his brother. Their surname was Bennett. When the Postmaster was a kid, his first task in the morning was to wait for the telegram from The London Fish Market setting the price of salmon and then dash over to the pier with the information so that trading could commence…..

  5. That’s very interesting; thank you very much. bjg

  6. I found this very interesting mapping link which can fade in and out various map overlays. On the Historical 25 inch 1888-1913 there are two ice-houses in Knock, County Clare. If the postmaster had not told me of the salmon market, their presence would be a mystery. There was a very developed market in sending the fish by West Clare Railway from nearby Cappa in Kirrush with the fish arriving in London within twenty four hours (so I have been told). The ‘Foot Stick’ signage upstream of the village is a puzzle to me.

  7. I think a foot stick is a plank across a stream, but it would be nice to have an authoritative definition. “Ordnance stones” is another puzzling term found on OSI maps

  8. Barry Pearse, my great grandmother was Bridget Pierce from Knock, and when she was first married to James O’Dea they lived beside Culligans before moving further up the road……. I wonder are we related?

  9. I was in Knock just two weeks ago. The post office is now closed, but about thirty years ago it was owned by a Twomey family. Really nice people and I used to do phone maintenance for that area. Mr. Twomey told me that when he was a boy, his first task every morning was to await a telegram from the London Fish Market setting the price of salmon for that day. Then he would dash over to the pier two hundred yards away, give the price and trading would start. It was a very big business. There was a Protestant church in Knock and he gave me details of the pastor and his brother. I should have more details….but I was too shy to probe.more and was quite confidant that there would be lots of time to do so again………Best of luck with your search.

  10. Robert, thank you for your response…..what a coincidence, I was there 2 weeks ago as well. My Mam was brought up in Knock and her memory has dimmed with age but she does remember the Post Office and as her Grandfather was a fishermen she also remembers the Ice House where the fish was kept. The search for unknown relatives continues.

  11. Thanks Judi. Well-if you can find any information about a Bennett family in Knock, I would appreciate it. I was told by the former Postmaster that there were two brothers, one of whom was the Protestant parson.I cannot find any reference to a Protestant (Church of Ireland) in Knock. There certainly are many of the Carroll name in the locality.

  12. My great great great grandfather Arthur Colpoys, wife Mary, and several children lived in Knock until about 1905. Would love to visit someday!

  13. There is a corner House in Ennistymon-where I live-called Colpice”s Corner. Obviously the same surname and now occupied by another family..if you are in the area sometime, give me a call.

  14. Thanks for the reply Robert…sounds like the same name. I’ve tracked several generations of family history, back to the Colpoys of Ballycar castle in the 17th century. I suspect most of the family branches emigrated in the late 19th/early 20th centuries. Will get in touch if I make it there.

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