Ennis was the only substantial town in the county and a medieval stronghold of the O'Briens, situated at the highest navigable point of the river Fergus. It was incorporated by a charter of James I, 10 James I. It consisted of a provost, 12 free burgesses and a commonalty - the commonalty had disappeared by the eighteenth century. It was the county town, and it has been estimated that its population increased eight-fold during the eighteenth century. Between 1692 and 1715 various local interests had represented the borough, in particular Francis Burton (0296) who sat in successive parliaments 1692-1715, but other aspiring political interests,the Gores (0863) and the Purdons (1748), were also anxious to stake a claim. From 1715 to 1760 the dominant interest in the town was that of the Bindons (0131, 0132, 0133). They lived nearby at Clooney but from time to time resided in the town. They appointed the burgesses and thereby controlled the corporation and nominated the MPs returned to parliament, particularly Samuel Bindon (0133), who represented the constituency from 1715 until his death in 1760.
Following Bindon's death, Lucius O'Brien wrote from Dublin to elicit the support of Lord Inchiquin both for the vacant seat in parliament and for the vacant seat on the corporation, promising to act 'as becomes an honest man and friend to Ireland & advocate your Lordships interest in the county of Clare'.105 In 1761 Lucius O'Brien and Thomas Burton (0302) were returned for Ennis, and the control of the corporation passed from the Bindons to the O'Briens and the Burtons. By 1783 their control was absolute and both seats were sold, to Stewart Weldon (2200) and John Thomas Foster (0807). Ennis continued to send one member to parliament after the Union, but although the Conyngham MP won the Union ballot, the influence in the corporation appears to have been transferred to the O'Briens and the Fitzgeralds, who appear to have balanced the borough and county interest in subsequent parliamentary elections.106