St. Clement's Anglican Cemetery©Copyright: Yvan Charbonneau
Clontarf had its beginnings when former land colonization agent, T.P. French opened a post office in 1858. Agents such as French received pay packets that were based both on the number of settlers they were able to attract, and by the sustainability of the settlement. Although French was somewhat demonized in later reports, he appears to have shown genuine concern for both the needs of the settlers and the longer term success of the community.
Clontarf was originally named Sebastopol, after the township. The hamlet was renamed in 1860. By then the community included a Lutheran church, a mason, carpenter, two blacksmiths, and two shoemakers. Xavier Plaunt, a wealthy landowner and philantropist from Renfrew, operated a hotel located about halfway between Clontarf and Vanbrugh from the 1850s to 70s.
Clontarf was a small industrious place that operated mainly as a service and supply centre for the lumber industry. During the 1880s, it contained two sawmills, a tannery, and carpet weaver. An Anglican church was added in 1892. Following the demise of the lumber industry, Clontarf slowly began to decline.
Clontarf is hard to find because it was never a properly organized town with a central point of origin. Today a few small vestiges still remain. These include the school, built during the 1930s, and both the Lutheran and Anglican churches.