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Offaly History (short for Offaly Historical & Archaeological) was first formed in 1938 and re-established in 1969 and is located at Bury Quay, Tullamore, Co. Offaly since 1993(next to the new Tullamore D.E.W Visitor Centre).

We are about collecting and sharing memories. We do this in an organised way though exhibitions, supporting the publication of local interest books, our website Offalyhistory.com , Facebook, open evenings, our library and offices at Bury Quay.

Our Mission
To promote Offaly History including community and family history

What we do:

  • Promote all aspects of history in Co. Offaly.
  • Genealogy service for counties Laois and Offaly.
  • Co. Offaly photographic records for study and sale in addition to a limited number of publications on Laois and Irish general historical interest.
  • Purchase and sale of Offaly interest books though the Society’s book store and website.
  • Publication of books under the Society’s publishing arm Esker Press.
  • The Society subscribes to almost all the premier historical journals in Ireland.

Our Society covers a diverse range of Offaly Heritage:

  • Architectural heritage, historic monuments such as monastic and castle buildings.
  • Industrial and urban development of towns and villages.
  • Archaeological objects and artifacts.
  • Flora, fauna and bogs, wildlife habitats, geology and Natural History.
  • Landscapes, heritage gardens and parks, farming and inland waterways.
  • Local literary, social, economic, military, political, scientific and sports history.

Offaly History is a non-profit community group with a growing membership of some 150 individuals.

The Society focuses on enhancing educational opportunities, understanding and knowledge of the county heritage while fostering an inclusive approach and civic pride in local identity. We promote these objectives through:

  • The holding of monthly lectures, occasional seminars, exhibitions and film screenings.
    Organising tours during the summer months to places of shared historical interest.
  • The publication of an annual journal Offaly Heritage – to date nine issues.
  • We play a unique role collecting and digitising original primary source materials especially photographs and oral history recordings
  • Offaly History is  the centre for  Family History research in Counties Laois and Offaly.
  • The Society is linked to the renowned Irish Family Foundation website and Roots Ireland where some 900,000 records of Offaly/Laois interest can be accessed on a pay-per-view basis worldwide. Currently these websites have an estimated 20 million records of all Ireland interest.
  • A burgeoning library of books, CD-ROMs, videos, DVDs, oral and folklore recordings, manuscripts, newspapers and journals, maps, photographs and various artifacts.
  • OHAS Collections
  • OHAS Centre Facilities

The financial activities of the Society are operated under the aegis of Offaly Heritage Centre Limited, a charitable company whose directors also serve on the Society’s elected committee. None of the Society’s directors receive remuneration or any kind. All the company’s assets are held in trust to promote the voluntary activities of the Society. Our facilities are largely free to the public or run purely on a costs-recovery basis.

Acting as a policy advisory body –  Offaly History endeavors to ensure all government departments, local authorities, tourism agencies and key opinion formers prioritise heritage matters.

Meet the current committee:

Our Committee represents a broad range of backgrounds and interests. All share a common interest in collecting and promoting the heritage of the county and making it available to the wider community.

2017 Committee

  • Helen Bracken (President)
  • Pat Wynne (Vice President and Joint Treasurer)
  • Niall Sweeney (Vice President)
  • Michael Byrne (Secretary)
  • Lisa Shortall (Deputy Secretary)
  • Dorothee Bibby (Record Secretary)
  • Charlie Finlay (Joint Treasurer)
  • Darrell Hooper
  • Brian Pey
  • Fred Geoghegan
  • Noel Guerin
  • Henry Edgill
  • Peter Burke
  • Angella Kelly
  • Rory Masterson
  • Shaun Wrafter
  • Ronnie Matthews
  • Oliver Dunne
  • Ciara Molloy
  • Stephen Callaghan (Heritage Items)

If you would like to help with the work of the Society by coming on a sub-committee or in some other way please email us or let an existing member know.

+353-5793-21421 info@offalyhistory.com Open 9am-4.30pm Mon-Fri
  • The Egans of Moate and Tullamore. By Maurice Egan

    Who were the Egans and where did they come from? What national and international impact did they have on nineteenth century Irish political reform? How did they become successful lawyers and businesspeople? For many years, my cousin David and I would pose and tease out these and many other unanswered questions. Too often the anecdotal … Continue reading The Egans of Moate and Tullamore. By Maurice Egan

  • 3 Sources for Offaly History and Society: the Methodist community in Offaly and the Birr Methodists 200th, 1820-2020

    This year marks the 200th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of the Birr Methodist church in Emmet Street (formerly Cumberland Street) in Birr. However the communities in Birr and Tullamore are much older and date back to the 1760s In this short piece we can only look at some of the sources. … Continue reading 3 Sources for Offaly History and Society: the Methodist community in Offaly and the Birr Methodists 200th, 1820-2020

  • Funeral Practices in West Offaly and the funeral of Ned Doorley. By Pádraig Turley

      WE are glad to bring you the second part of Pádraig Turley’s piece this August 1 2020.  We have reached 55,000 views for our stories this year so far. The same as the entire of last year.  You can see all 212 stories on http://www.offalyhistoryblog and there is a shortcut to them at http://www.offalyhistory.com  … Continue reading Funeral Practices in West Offaly and the funeral of Ned Doorley. By Pádraig Turley

  • No 2, Sources for Offaly History & Society: some of the older printed books – Sir Charles Coote, General view of the agriculture and...

    This week as a substitute for our  cancelled lectures during Covid we list some of the older books on Offaly History and some of which are still of use and must be consulted. The list is by no means complete and does not cover archaeology or geology. By older we mean studies mostly published before … Continue reading No 2, Sources for Offaly History & Society: some of the older printed books – Sir Charles Coote, General view of the agriculture and manufactures of the […]

  • Unmoving Statues: Public Sculpture In Offaly. By Fergal MacCabe

        Everywhere in the world today, the role and validity of public art, particularly statues of historical figures, is under scrutiny. At the same time it is the policy of our new Government to place an increased emphasis on urban quality-which presumes the installation of even more public art. This could be a recipe … Continue reading Unmoving Statues: Public Sculpture In Offaly. By Fergal MacCabe

  • 1 Sources for Offaly History & Society: Offaly Heritage Journal (2003-2018)

    In the time leading up to Heritage Week 2020, and conscious of the restrictions on movement, lectures and classes, we are starting a new blog to issue every Wednesday. This will be on Sources for Offaly History & Society. We will draw on the extensive material in our library at Offaly History Centre, Bury Quay, … Continue reading 1 Sources for Offaly History & Society: Offaly Heritage Journal (2003-2018)

  • The Bustle of High Street, Tullamore in the old days. Cosney Molloy

    I once more visited by friends in Tullamore, Killoughy and Banagher after an unexpected gap of almost six months. Young Covid intervened and I did not get down from my perch in D4 until ten days ago. Upper East Side Tullamore It was great to see my old town looking so well and all the … Continue reading The Bustle of High Street, Tullamore in the old days. Cosney Molloy

  • My childhood memory of the rituals associated with death in the Clonmacnoise area, and the story of the last keener, (perhaps) from the area?...

    `Arising from the Covid-19 virus due to government advice regarding public gatherings a private funeral will take place, but may be viewed on the Church website.` This notice is now a regular feature of obituary notices in current newspapers and website dealing with death notices. The story I wish to relate deals with an earlier … Continue reading My childhood memory of the rituals associated with death in the Clonmacnoise area, and the story of the last keener, (perhaps) from the area? […]

  • AN TOSTAL  Art and Archaeology in Tullamore in the 1950s. Fergal MacCabe

        A Golden Age Consumed by political and economic turmoil, the first half of the 20th century was a fallow period for the visual arts and archaeological scholarship in Ireland and certainly Offaly was no different. The post-war period dominated by scarcity and emigration, was particularly stifling. The first glimmerings of change came with … Continue reading AN TOSTAL  Art and Archaeology in Tullamore in the 1950s. Fergal MacCabe

  • The Great Famine in Shinrone & South Offaly.   Ciarán Reilly 

    A document in the National Library of Ireland sheds important light on the fate of the inhabitants of a part of county Offaly during the years of the Great Famine. Here the names and circumstances of almost 500 people in the village of Shinrone and its hinterland are included on a register for relief, which … Continue reading The Great Famine in Shinrone & South Offaly.   Ciarán Reilly 

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