History of Feakle
Nestling underneath the Slieve Aughty Mountains, “Feakle” is a place steeped in history and folklore with an unrivalled reputation as being the 'cultural centre of East Clare'.
Feakle, or "paroiste na fiacaile", means the parish of the tooth. There was a legend that the tooth of the patron saint, Mochonna, fell out at the spot on which he afterwards erected his church. Another theory is that Feakle got its name from the roof of an early church which was covered with "fiathgail" or rough grass which grew in the area and the church became known as "Teampall na Fiathgail". A further explanation is that it is derived from "Fia-Choill", the wood of the deer. Others suggest that there was a gap in the woods which was in the shape of a tooth.
Herbalist Biddy Early (1798 - 1874). Famous as a healer and accused, under an antiquated law, in 1865 of witchcraft, Biddy was well known in the area. Local folklore says that if you leave a coin at her house you will have good health, but take a coin and you will have bad luck.
Brian Merriman is associated with the area. Although he was not born (nor did he die) in Feakle, he chose to be buried here where he had spent many years of his life. Feakle was the location and background of his only major work, a long poem in Irish, entitled Cúirt an Mheán Oíche (The Midnight Court). A monument to his memory has been erected by An Cumman Merriman (the Merriman Society) and may be seen in the local graveyard.
Today Feakle is a small pleasant village particularly popular with anglers and sportsmen, situated as it is within a region of lakes, rivers, mountains, moorland and deep sheltered valleys. It is steeped in the tradition of Irish music. From the artists point of view, it has everything including rolling hills and over thirty lakes within a ten mile radius and there are many varied walking routes in the area.
In history and folklore, the names Johnny Patterson, Biddy Early, and Brian Merriman, evoke many talks of interest. Johnny Patterson is renowned as the Clown who wrote songs such as 'The stone outside Dan Murphy's door', 'Bridget Donoghue' and many more.
Biddy Early is known for her herbal cures amongst much else. Brian Merriman (the poet) penned the epic “Cūirt an Mheān oiche” (The Mightnight Court).
There is a passion for hurling that stretches back to the G.A.A.’s foundation. All-Ireland medals, All-Stars, National League titles and county championships have found a home here. Feakle's Ger Loughnane managed the Clare hurling team who won the All-Ireland in 1995 after a lapse of eighty one years. That success was repeated in 1997.
The Feakle International Traditional Music Festival, well into its second decade, draws performers from all over the world. Peppers of Feakle Bar and Restaurant is the focal point of this event. Famous worldwide, Peppers has attracted the best traditional performers and regular weekly session (especially on Wednesday and Sunday evening) and concerts are the norm.
In recent years, 'Peppers' have provided a quality food service where fresh local produce is used.
The 'old style traditional' pub has received many accolades, including 'Clare Tourism Pub of the Year', 'James Joyce Award' plus many more. Pepper's has also featured on national and international television programmes.