RESIDENTS in west County Clare fear a repeat of the first earthquake in the county since records began.

Thursday night's tremor, which measured 2.7 on the Richter scale, was felt in the north of the county and, according to locals, even as far south as Ennis.

Michael Vaughan, of Vaughan Lodge in Lahinch, said the short rumble was mistaken for anything from an explosion to overhead planes.

"It was 11 o'clock on Thursday evening and I had just come home when I heard a thud, followed by a kind of rumble. It lasted less than two seconds," he told the Sunday Tribune. "At first I thought that my child had fallen out of bed and I rushed upstairs, but he was fine. Then because we are near the Shannon flight path I thought it might have been a plane. I would say I was stirred but not shaken."

The tremor, felt particularly in the areas of Lahinch, Lisdoonvarna, Liscannor and Doolin, was the first of its kind in the area since records began, although it is thought there was a quake in the locale around 1,000 years ago.

"It was enough to cause concern. You had to go out and check the roof was still on your house," joked Vaughan.

Cups falling off shelves and pictures shaken from walls seemed to have been the extent of the damage.

But despite the short duration of the shock, the quake shook up some residents more than others.

Local councillor Martin Conway said he had been contacted by a number of constituents who had expressed concern. "I got a lot of reaction to it; people were shocked in the first place that a tremor would hit Clare," he said.

"There would be a tiny bit of concern as this is a new kind of phenomenon. You have some people with a more nervous disposition so a statement on this [from the authorities] would be appropriate."

The last recorded earth tremor in Ireland was in January, when a quake, measuring 1.6 on the Richter scale, shook part of the Inishowen peninsula in Co Donegal.