HISTORY County Clare Earthquake, 2010

To coincide with IWO’s launch of a section dedicated to earthquakes (click here), we look back on the 2.7 magnitude earthquake which struck County Clare in May 2010.  

The quake, intensity level 3, is the most severe quake to hit the Republic of Ireland or the UK in recent years. The 2.7 magnitude tremor was the first tremor or earthquake to be recorded in the west of Ireland in modern times.  

The only other recorded earthquake to hit the country in 2010 occurred on January 9th when a tremor measuring 1.6 on the Richter scale struck the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal.  An earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale, the largest ever recorded in Ireland, hit Dublin in 1984. Aftershocks from the quake measured up to 4 on the Richter scale.

The Event:
  • The quake occurred at 10.24pm on Wednesday, 07 May 2010.  The Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS), which runs a national seismic network from its base in Merrion Square and receives real time readings from seismograph instruments dotted across the country, said the epicentre of the quake was located in the Lisdoonvarna area.
  • The tremor, the first to be recorded in Clare since records began in 1978, was felt in various parts of the county including Lahinch, Lisdoonvarna, Liscannor, Ballyvaughan, Fanore, Kilfenora, Corofin Doolin and Ennistymon. 
  • Meteorological stations in Dublin and Valentia in Co Kerry also picked up the vibrations from the tremor.  Loud bangs were reported to Gardai and other locals described feels the walls of their house 'shake'.
  • Loud bangs were reported to Gardai while some locals said the walls of their house 'shook'.
Lisdoonvarna marked on a map of Ireland. Image (c) Google Earth
  • The Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) say the earthquake has forced geologists to re-evaluate the West of Ireland’s geology. www.dias.ie
  • Tom Blake of the DIAS' School of Cosmic Physics said: “It is the first time we've had seismic activity in that part of the country. The seismic instruments are very sensitive and can record very minor tremors."
  • According to the Annals of the Four Masters, an earthquake occurred in West Clare almost 1,000 years ago, splitting the land between the Cliffs of Moher on the north and Baltard Cliffs on the south. The subsequent tidal wave engulfed the whole district between these two headlands, and the Atlantic is now rolling over what was once dry land.


RTE News report relating to the 2.7 magnitude earthquake in County Clare.