Clontarf had its beginnings in 1858 with the opening of a post office. Former land colonization agent T.P. French was the owner and first postmaster.
French was a former colonization agent along the Opeongo. Agent’s pay was based on the number of settlers they were able to attract and the success of the settlement.
French’s reputation did not hold up well. The Renfrew settlements were not successful which was likely not French’s fault. Later reports demonized French, perhaps unfairly. In his defence, he appears to have shown genuine concern for both the settlers and the sustainability of the community.
Clontarf’s original name was Sebastopol, after the township. It got a new name in 1861. By 1860, the community had grown to include a Lutheran church. Tradesmen included a mason, carpenter, two blacksmiths, and two shoemakers.
Xavier Plaunt, a wealthy landowner and philanthropist from Renfrew operated a hotel from the 1850s to 70s. It was located about halfway between Clontarf and Vanbrugh.
Clontarf wasn’t an organized town. It didn’t have a central point of origin and is difficult to find. A few small remnants continue to survive. Those buildings include the school, built during the 1930s, the Lutheran and Anglican churches and the cemetery. Learn more