Carrick-on-Shannon grew up around the river that still plays an important role in the town's confidence. Its original Irish name, Cora Droma Rúisc, means "the stony ford of the ridge in the marsh." Today’s prosperous town, with a population of 3,500, takes pride in its past and is full of architectural surprises. In the first decade of the 21st century many old buildings were given life again, in some cases being turned into cultural or arts centers, offices, or restaurants. Bistro bars, stylish hotels, delis, and boutiques sit cheek by jowl with old-world pubs and family-run shops. In 1613 King James I granted the town a Royal Charter by which it became a Royal Borough with a corporation made up of a Provost, Burgesses, and Commonalty. It had the right to send two members to the Irish Parliament and continued to do so up to the Act of Union in 1800 when the Parliament voted itself out of existence.
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