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Little is known of the Scariff area in pre-Christian times. However, the presence of the remains of a wedge tomb at Cappabane tells us that the area has been inhabited for at least 4,000 years.
The name Scariff is derived from the Gaelic “Scairbh” which means a rocky ford or crossing place. Long before the present town came into being the area was of great strategic importance to those who held the territory about and to those who sought to hold it – the presence of the great river Shannon on the one hand and the mountainous terrain on the other rendered this Scairbh a most important crossing point on a journey north or south. The National School about a minute away from the town centre is the school for nearly all the children in the parish. The Camogie and Hurling teams are hugely successful with both getting to the semi-finals of the Feile Na nGael.
The name Scariff is first mentioned in 1315 in connection with a battle fought there during the civil wars of the period. The chipboard factory now occupies the site of the conflict. By the end of the fourteenth century, the Scariff area was under the control of the O’Grady clan. To maintain their dominance three castles or fortified houses were built, one at Tuamgraney (which still stands), one near the bridge at the Scairbh which no longer exists and a third, smaller building, at Moynoe. The earliest account of Scariff castle is from 1564.