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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 [email protected] Open 9am-4.30pm Mon-Fri
  • Traditional Architecture in Offaly: History, Materials and Furniture, 1800 to Present Day

    Kitchen, parlour and bedroom – transforming a house into a home Traditional Architecture in Offaly: History, Materials and Furniture by Rachel McKenna (Offaly County Council, 2022) is a wonderful new addition to the growing collection of quality publications on the county of Offaly and its place in Irish heritage. For long neglected by the travel … Continue reading Traditional Architecture in Offaly: History, Materials and Furniture, 1800 to Present Day

  • Have an ‘Offaly History’ Christmas with over a dozen new books this year

    It has been a good year for new publications contributing to the history of County Offaly and helping us to get to know ourselves and our place better. When the annual report of the Tullamore Credit Union is dropped in the door you know Christmas is close. Seeing the cover and that the credit union … Continue reading Have an ‘Offaly History’ Christmas with over a dozen new books this year

  • ‘It will last for centuries’:  St. Joseph’s Convent, Tullamore

    Fergal MacCabe In 1840, the scaffolding began to come down to reveal the new convent and school of the Sisters of Mercy on Bury Quay, today Convent Road. With the building of the County Gaol in 1830, the County Courthouse in 1835 and the Union Workhouse in 1839-41, Tullamore was rapidly acquiring substantial civic and … Continue reading ‘It will last for centuries’:  St. Joseph’s Convent, Tullamore

  • Who is the Birr poet John De Jean Frazer? By Terry Moylan

    This question has popped up recently arising from the launch last week in Birr by Offaly History of a book containing the complete poems of John De Jean Frazer. The Tullamore launch is Thursday 24 Nov. at Offaly History Centre at 5 p.m. so the editors may get to meet you there. You are welcome … Continue reading Who is the Birr poet John De Jean Frazer? By Terry Moylan

  • Charles W. Kelly of New York remembers Birr in the early 1900s. From the Offaly History Collection and thanks to Offaly people who emigrated many...

    I write in the hope that you may find space to record my memories of the town of Birr fifty or sixty years ago. The following recollections are all from memory only – no notes – and I am sure a lot of boys and girls I knew will get a thrill. Birr, as you … Continue reading Charles W. Kelly of New York remembers Birr in the early 1900s. From the Offaly History Collection and thanks to Offaly people who emigrated many years ago for these recollections of their native place

  • John De Jean Frazer Inspired Me. By Laurel Jean Grube

    Friday 18 November at 5 p.m. at Birr Library, Wilmer Road will see the launch of The Complete Poems of John De Jean Frazer, edited by Padraig Turley, Terry Moylan and Laurel Grube. This is the first collected edition of Frazer’s poems ever undertaken and represents a major commitment of time and expertise by the … Continue reading John De Jean Frazer Inspired Me. By Laurel Jean Grube

  • The Irish Land Commission Records, 1881-1992: the most important state body operating out of rural Ireland. When will it be open for research?

    First established under the 1881 Land Act, the Irish Land Commission began as a regulator of fair rents, but soon evolved into the great facilitator of land transfer. However, over emphasis on these aspects of its work can sometimes camouflage its equal significance as the main instigator and architect of rural reform. There is no … Continue reading The Irish Land Commission Records, 1881-1992: the most important state body operating out of rural Ireland. When will it be open for research?

  • Serious fires at Birr Castle in 1832 and 1919. Serious Tourism now. Specially contributed to mark the decade of centenaries in County Offaly

    Two serious fires took place at Birr Castle within the hundred years from 1832 to 1919. Thankfully there has been nothing like it since and the castle was fortunate to survive the burnings of country houses in the county in the period from June 1922 to April 1923. Birr Castle is the only large house … Continue reading Serious fires at Birr Castle in 1832 and 1919. Serious Tourism now. Specially contributed to mark the decade of centenaries in County Offaly

  • Clara’s contribution to the birth of radio. By Michael Goodbody

    #DecadeofCentenaries @DeptCultureIRL @DepartmentofCultureIRL Tourism-Culture-Gaeltacht @offalyheritage @offalylibraries The B.B.C.’s centenary celebrations and John Bowman’s recent feature on RTÉ’s Sunday morning broadcast which included a recording of my late father, Llewellyn Marcus Goodbody, bring to mind the important part that Clara played in the development of radio, the scientific discovery which transformed communications and is now part … Continue reading Clara’s […]

  • The Mulock family of Bellair/Baile Ard, Ballycumber, County Offaly. By Eamonn Larkin

    Specially contributed to mark the Decade of Centenaries in Offaly #DecadeofCentenaries @DeptCultureIRL @DepartmentofCultureIRL Tourism-Culture-Gaeltacht @offalyheritage @offalylibraries Bellair or Ballyard is in the Parish of Lemanaghan, in the Barony of Garrycastle and has an area of 1,198 acres and borders Hall, Westmeath in the north, Cappanalosset in the west, Moorock to the east and Springpark to … Continue reading The Mulock family of Bellair/Baile Ard, Ballycumber, County Offaly. By […]

  • Ballyduff and Tullamore post-Reformation Catholic churches 1775-1902. By John Wrafter and Michael Byrne

    The first post-reformation Catholic Church in Tullamore parish was completed in 1775. Recently an architectural fragment from that church was presented to the Society. Ballyduff chapel was a small T-shaped building the remains of which are still standing and used to be glimpsed from the roadway between the former Wrafter’s farmhouse and the Carroll Meats … Continue reading Ballyduff and Tullamore post-Reformation Catholic churches 1775-1902. By John Wrafter and Michael Byrne

  • Huge Crowd Gather in Bracknagh Community Hall for viewing of Film on Ballynowlart Martyrs and Turf Cooperative 101. By Mary Delaney

    Huge Crowd Gather in Bracknagh Community Hall for viewing of Film Bracknagh Community Hall was full to capacity on Thursday last for the viewing of a film on the Ballynowlart Martyrs and the Turf Co Operative 101. The event was organised and hosted by the newly formed Bracknagh Heritage Group (A sub group of the … Continue reading Huge Crowd Gather in Bracknagh Community Hall for viewing of Film on Ballynowlart Martyrs and Turf Cooperative 101. By Mary Delaney

  • St Manchan’s Shrine book by Griffin Murray and Kevin O’Dwyer launched to great acclaim

    Contributed by Offaly History to mark the occasion The new book, St Manchan’s Shrine, by Griffin Murray and Kevin O’Dwyer was launched to great acclaim by the CEO of the Heritage Council Virginia Teehan on Friday 21 October 2022 at Offaly History Centre, Tullamore before a large and distinguished audience. Proceedings began at 5 30 … Continue reading St Manchan’s Shrine book by Griffin Murray and Kevin O’Dwyer launched to great acclaim

  • Remembering Patrick Street, Tullamore in the 1950s and 1960s. By Patrick Hennessy

    A contribution to our Heritage Town series Despite being out of the town for more years than I care to count I still get a kick out of telling people “I’m from Tullamore”. This often leads to “are you from the Town”? To which I readily reply in the affirmative, mentioning that I grew up … Continue reading Remembering Patrick Street, Tullamore in the 1950s and 1960s. By Patrick Hennessy

  • ‘Uncertain Times’ – The Goodbody Family’s Experiences in Clara 1914–24.

    A Decade of Centenaries special lecture ‘Uncertain Times’ – The Goodbody Family’s Experiences in Clara 1914–24 is the subject of an illustrated talk by Michael Goodbody on Monday 17 October at 7. 30 p.m. This talk by Zoom will be on the Goodbody family’s experiences in Clara during a turbulent period for individuals and businesses. … Continue reading ‘Uncertain Times’ – The Goodbody Family’s Experiences in Clara 1914–24.

  • ORAL HISTORY PROJECTS in LAOIS & OFFALY. By John Gibbons

    In this article John Gibbons talks about the value of oral history and the importance of making the recording. John started recording in Offaly in conjunction with the Offaly History in December 2014.  Since then over forty people have volunteered to be recorded. You do have a story so why not contact John or we … Continue reading ORAL HISTORY PROJECTS in LAOIS & OFFALY. By John Gibbons

  • Having fun collecting interesting books, rare and common, but often equally satisfying. Specially contributed

    Collecting books on your favourite topics is an ever present challenge that can give great satisfaction  and broaden as well deepen one’s knowledge of a subject. On 8 October 2022 Offaly History Centre is hosting a book fair, such as not seen in the town for three or four years. Many dealers are coming so … Continue reading Having fun collecting interesting books, rare and common, but often equally satisfying. Specially contributed

  • The Dunnes of Brittas [near Clonaslee]: a new historical novel from Kevin Akers

    The Dunne family has inhabited parts of County Laois since time immemorial. They descended from Cathair Mór, second century Monarch of Éire and Brittas House, near Clonaslee, became their family seat (after their main residence in Tinnahinch was blown to bits in 1653). Family land holdings hovered around 10,000 acres throughout what was then known as … Continue reading The Dunnes of Brittas [near Clonaslee]: a new historical novel from Kevin Akers

  • A tale of two houses: that of Barrack Master Crawford and Revd Dr Wilson, High Street, Tullamore. By Michael Byrne

    This article on house numbers GV 43 and GV 44 High Street, Tullamore (Farrelly’s and Mr Price) looks at the family history and the social history surrounding the building and occupation of two of the finest  houses in Tullamore, which for convenience, we can call Barrack Master Crawford’s and Dr Wilson’s. They are numbered (from … Continue reading A tale of two houses: that of Barrack Master Crawford and Revd Dr Wilson, High Street, Tullamore. By Michael Byrne

  • Eat, heat and drink: piped water for Tullamore 125 years ago. A contribution to Tullamore 400th from Offaly History

    Piped water for Tullamore town was first provided in 1895. In these blogs we have already looked at listings of shops since 1824, the provision of piped gas lighting in 1860 and electricity in 1921. The provision of piped water to a home is a wonderful facility and yet many homes were without it even … Continue reading Eat, heat and drink: piped water for Tullamore 125 years ago. A contribution to Tullamore 400th from Offaly History

  • Tullamore – Places to visit to mark Tullamore’s 400th anniversary. Contributed by Offaly History with water colours courtesy of Fergal MacCabe

    Township could be said to have begun in Tullamore in 1622. On 30 September the anniversary will be marked with an outdoor exhibition of drawings by Fergal MacCabe and a Timeline of Events showing the story of the town since the earliest times. We have covered many stories of Tullamore in over 420 blogs published … Continue reading Tullamore – Places to visit to mark Tullamore’s 400th anniversary. Contributed by Offaly History with water colours courtesy of Fergal MacCabe

  • Tullamore ‘in the good old coaching Days’. Tullamore 175 years ago.

    Historical Notes by a contributor writing in 1912, edited by Offaly History This contribution to local studies was made in 1912 and was based on the writer’s access to a copy of the Tullamore entry in Slater’s Trade Directory published in 1846. At the time there was no public library in Offaly and private reading … Continue reading Tullamore ‘in the good old coaching Days’. Tullamore 175 years ago.

  • Building Improvements in Birr town since the 1850s. By Michael Byrne

    Despite the low level of industrial activity in Birr in the latter half of the nineteenth century building contractors did well with a surprising amount of progress made in this area. This was in contrast to Tullamore where few new structures were erected until after the 1900s. The extent of the building activity tends to … Continue reading Building Improvements in Birr town since the 1850s. By Michael Byrne

  • A length of material and other memories of Clara in 1919–23 and its aftermath: some recent changes for the better By Sylvia Turner

    Michael Byrne’s recent blog article ‘The Gill Drapery Store in High Street Tullamore, 1900–22’ reminded me of the significance of drapery stores in the early 20th century and the Clara of my mother’s time. Amongst the correspondence between members of her family, frequent mention is made of the buying of material. The most common form … Continue reading A length of material and other memories of Clara in 1919–23 and its aftermath: some recent changes for the better By […]

  • Decline and resurgence in Birr, 1850-1922. Michael Byrne

    All the south midland towns declined during the fifty-year period after the Famine with the exception of Clara where the Goodbody jute factory provided employment for 700 workers in the 1880s. The towns of Birr and Banagher were most severely hit. The decline of Birr was exacerbated by the final closure of the large military … Continue reading Decline and resurgence in Birr, 1850-1922. Michael Byrne

  • The growth of middle class-owner occupied housing in Tullamore, 1900-1960. By Fergal MacCabe. A contribution to the Decade of Centenaries

    The growth of middle-class housing after 1900 may be said to have begun with the building of four ‘villas’ at Clonminch in 1909 by Charles P. Kingston, the then county secretary to King’s County Council. It was preceded earlier by the substantial house of Daniel E. Williams completed at Dew Park in 1900. Were it … Continue reading The growth of middle class-owner occupied housing in Tullamore, 1900-1960. By Fergal MacCabe. A contribution to the Decade of Centenaries

  • Exploring the family history of the Bagley family in Offaly: Clara and Toberdaly. By Fourth  great-granddaughter, Ginny Birmingham Haen

    Several of my ancestral families came from Ireland in the early to mid 1800s.  They came from Counties Dublin, Armagh, Tyrone, Westmeath and King’s (now Offaly) and surrounding midlands counties.  The one common factor was that they all migrated to Quebec, settling in several small communities in the area just southeast of Quebec City across … Continue reading Exploring the family history of the Bagley family in Offaly: Clara and Toberdaly. By Fourth  great-granddaughter, Ginny […]

  • Trade Directories for Offaly one hundred years ago. From Offaly History

    A contribution to marking the Decade of Centenaries in Offaly and recalling the past generations and the towns and villages on the eve of the War of Independence In marking the years from 1912 to 1923 we may think that the years around 1916, the War of Independence and the Civil War were times of … Continue reading Trade Directories for Offaly one hundred years ago. From Offaly History

  • The Gill Drapery Store in High Street Tullamore, 1900–22. From Gills to Guy Clothing. Recalling also the Mills and Muller families. By Michael...

    Marking Tullamore 400th, Decade of Centenaries and Sustaining the country towns in the 21st century August 1922 was a wicked month with the death of two Irish leaders, Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins. At local level we had the death in July 1922 of the Ulster Bank manager Tullamore in the course of a robbery … Continue reading The Gill Drapery Store in High Street Tullamore, 1900–22. From Gills to Guy Clothing. Recalling also the Mills and Muller families. By Michael Byrne. Updated by […]

  • New light on Irish county map-making in the early 19th century – tracings from William Larkin’s map of King’s County/ Offaly, c. 1808

    To conclude our Heritage Week series of talks online we want to tell you the illustrated talk New light on Irish county map-making in the early 19th century – tracings from William Larkin’s map of King’s County/ Offaly, c. 1808 has now been uploaded. You get a 30-minute introduction from the leading expert on the … Continue reading New light on Irish county map-making in the early 19th century – tracings from William Larkin’s map of King’s County/ Offaly, c. 1808

  • Geashill and the Legacy of William Steuart Trench, 150 years after his death. By Mary Delaney

    “Those haters of the Celtic race The above words appear in the poem Mucker written by the poet Patrick Kavanagh and reflects the legacy of William Steuart Trench and his two sons Thomas Weldon, and John Townsend Trench and how they managed landed estates in counties Monaghan, Offaly and Kerry in mid -Victorian Ireland. As … Continue reading Geashill and the Legacy of William Steuart Trench, 150 years after his death. By Mary Delaney

  • A presentation on Offaly Historical and Archaeological Society, 1969 – 2022 for Heritage Week.

    This is a new 20-minute video recording on the history of the Society, now better known as Offaly History with lots of interesting photos especially recorded for Heritage Week. We want to thank all who have contributed to making it so successful so far with activities across the county, and continuing until Sunday. The lecture … Continue reading A presentation on Offaly Historical and Archaeological Society, 1969 – 2022 for Heritage Week.

  • Troops ambushed near Tullamore, 29 August 1922: death of my granduncle Matthew Cullen. By Raymond Cullen

    The Lieutenant featured in this article was my granduncle Matthew Cullen and Monday the 29th of August 2022 will mark the 100th anniversary of his death, when he, along with a small party of National Troops [Free State army] from Tullamore Barracks were attacked by about fifty Irregulars [Republican IRA) at Bonaterrin [Bunaterin] Hill, near … Continue reading Troops ambushed near Tullamore, 29 August 1922: death of my granduncle Matthew Cullen. By Raymond Cullen

  • Exploring Castle Street, Birr from the 1620s: marketplace, buildings, families and business history.

    A PowerPoint presentation narrated by Michael Byrne explores the identities of Castle Street in Birr as part of a project to know and appreciate our distinctive town centres. This Streetscape project is in partnership with Offaly County Council and part funded by the Heritage Council. An initiative promoted by the Heritage Council as part of … Continue reading Exploring Castle Street, Birr from the 1620s: marketplace, buildings, families and business history.

  • O’Connor Square, Tullamore, 1700s to 2020: a story in pictures of an evolving streetscape over 300 years.

    A PowerPoint presentation narrated by Michael Byrne explores the identities of O’Connor Square, Tullamore as part of a project to know and appreciate our distinctive town centres. This Streetscape project is in partnership with Offaly County Council and part funded by the Heritage Council. The Making of O’Connor Square, Tullamore since the 1700s: the buildings, … Continue reading O’Connor Square, Tullamore, 1700s to 2020: a story in pictures of an evolving streetscape over 300 years.

  • A presentation of the Birr poet John Frazer (J. de Jean). By Terry Moylan, Pádraig Turley and Laurel Grube

    J. de Jean’ was the nom-de-plume of John Frazer (c. 1804–1852), a Presbyterian of Huguenot extraction, cabinet-maker and a native of Birr. As a young man he started writing poetry, and his first work – a lengthy poem entitled ‘Eva O’Connor’ was published in 1826 (Richard Milliken, Grafton Street, Dublin). During the 1840s individual poems, … Continue reading A presentation of the Birr poet John Frazer (J. de Jean). By Terry Moylan, Pádraig Turley and Laurel Grube

  • Exploring our heritage and history in Offaly during Heritage Week, 13–21 August 2022. Something for the Polish community too, so take a look,...

    This weekend sees the start of Heritage Week 2022 and a very welcome return to exploring the county in person with some great material coming on-line too from Offaly History. We are launching six new videos via Offaly History YouTube and Heritage Week 2022. Our thanks to Amanda Pedlow, county heritage officer for all who … Continue reading Exploring our heritage and history in Offaly during Heritage Week, 13–21 August 2022. Something for the Polish community too, so take a look, subscribe […]

  • The Discovery of the Bronte Family Portrait in Hill House in Banagher, Ireland in 1914

    The Offaly Heritage Office and Amanda Pedlow have been working with Dr Maebh O’ Regan of National College of Art and Design supporting a project with the Banagher Crafting Group exploring the Banagher and Bronte connections.  Some of you may have attended events at the recent That Beats Banagher Festival. One of the outputs is a … Continue reading The Discovery of the Bronte Family Portrait in Hill House in Banagher, Ireland in 1914

  • Richard Barry, Tullamore Celtic Literary Society, William Rooney and Arthur Griffith.  A contribution from Offaly History to mark the Decade of...

    Arthur Griffith died of a heart attack, or stroke, in Dublin on 12 August 1922. He was only 51 and had given a lifetime of service to his country at huge personal cost. To mark the centenary of his death we recall an important contribution from Richard Barry (1880–1978) in 1970 where he set out … Continue reading Richard Barry, Tullamore Celtic Literary Society, William Rooney and Arthur Griffith.  A contribution from Offaly History to mark the Decade of Centenaries and the death of Arthur […]

  • Going to UCD in 1978: the experience of one Tullamore man. By Declan McSweeney

    I recently found myself reminiscing about the experience of moving from Coláiste Choilm, Tullamore, to University College Dublin in 1978. In many ways, there was a sense of culture shock, it was like moving to a foreign country, though I suspect the transition would be less for today’s students. I was moving from what was … Continue reading Going to UCD in 1978: the experience of one Tullamore man. By Declan McSweeney

  • The Ross dwelling house at 6 High Street, Tullamore. Part of Tullamore 400th series, no.8 By Michael Byrne

    The Ross dwelling house in High Street, Tullamore is a five-bay, two-storey, late-eighteenth-century house set over a high basement. It has a rough-cast walls and large windows with nineteenth-century glazing-bars. The round-headed doorcase, which is set up a flight of steps with moulding nosing, has a blocked-architrave dressing and a keystone. Fronting the house is … Continue reading The Ross dwelling house at 6 High Street, Tullamore. Part of Tullamore 400th series, no.8 By Michael Byrne

  • Recalling old Bridge Street, Tullamore. By Michael Byrne. Part of the Tullamore 400th series, no. 7. A further contribution to the Heritage Council...

    Bridge Street, that narrow street that we rush through so many times each week, but have to stop at lights whether on foot or by car (or bike), is as old as the town itself. Here is the river that divides the town, was a source of water and power for milling and, because of … Continue reading Recalling old Bridge Street, Tullamore. By Michael Byrne. Part of the Tullamore 400th series, no. 7. A further contribution to the Heritage Council programme on living in towns.

  • That beats Banagher festival, 22-24 July 2022. From our correspondent James Scully

    This year’s That Beats Banagher Festival will take place over next weekend Friday to Sunday, 22 to 24 July with a multiplicity of literary, heritage,  cultural and sporting events including a food and craft fair in the Bridge Barracks Yard at the West End on Saturday, 12 noon to 4.30 p.m. craft workshops, children’s events, … Continue reading That beats Banagher festival, 22-24 July 2022. From our correspondent James Scully

  • The burning of Tullamore courthouse, jail and barracks by the anti-Treaty IRA on 20 July 1922. By Michael Byrne.

    Contributed by Offaly History to mark the Decade of Centenaries We saw in previous articles in this series the lead up to the civil war notwithstanding the outcome of the general election in June in which the vote was substantially in favour of supporting the acceptance of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921. In Laois-Offaly … Continue reading The burning of Tullamore courthouse, jail and barracks by the anti-Treaty IRA on 20 July 1922. By Michael Byrne.

  • Healthcare in Ireland – pre and post Partition. By Sylvia Turner

    Since the early 18th century public healthcare in Ireland had been funded by  voluntary donations. The first hospitals in Ireland were founded in the 1720s. The dispensary doctor was formally established by legislation in 1805 under an Act of Parliament.  The amount from voluntary donations was matched by county grand juries from local taxation. The … Continue reading Healthcare in Ireland – pre and post Partition. By Sylvia Turner

  • Birr Barracks burnt 100 years ago on 14 July 1922. By Stephen Callaghan. An Offaly and the Decade of Centenaries feature.

    Today 14 July 2022 marks one of the most significant centenaries of the year in County Offaly, the burning of Birr Barracks in Crinkill. While the barracks started to go into decline towards the start of the twentieth century, it was still a vital provider of local trade. When the town council requested Lord Roberts … Continue reading Birr Barracks burnt 100 years ago on 14 July 1922. By Stephen Callaghan. An Offaly and the Decade of Centenaries feature.

  • Building Offaly’s courthouses and prisons in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

    Dr Richard Butler will showcase the building of Offaly’s courthouses and prisons in the years between roughly 1750 and 1850 in a lecture at Offaly History Centre, Bury Quay, Tullamore and via Zoom on Tuesday 12 July 2022. The presentation will place individual buildings in Tullamore, Birr, Daingean and elsewhere in the context of changing … Continue reading Building Offaly’s courthouses and prisons in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

  • Decorations and Dinners in Tullamore in 1873 for the coming of age of the fourth earl of Charleville and the marriage of his sister Katherine Bury....

    Charles William Francis Bury, the fourth Earl of Charleville, came of age on the 16th of May 1873. Celebrations were delayed to the end of May so as to confine the party and the guests staying at the castle to one week and ending with the marriage of the earl’s sister to Captain Edmund Hutton … Continue reading Decorations and Dinners in Tullamore in 1873 for the coming of age of the fourth earl of Charleville and the marriage of his sister Katherine Bury. No 7 in the Tullamore 400th […]

  • Thomas Mitchell, Ulster bank manager, shot dead in Tullamore, 3 July 1922: an episode in the Civil War. By Michael Byrne Contributed by Offaly...

    It was a quiet afternoon on Monday 3 July 1922 when Thomas Mitchell, the manager of the Ulster Bank in High Street, Tullamore was shot dead by the IRA in the course of a robbery carried out by the Republican IRA (often then called the Irregulars to distinguish them from the Free State’s National Army). … Continue reading Thomas Mitchell, Ulster bank manager, shot dead in Tullamore, 3 July 1922: an episode in the Civil War. By Michael Byrne Contributed by Offaly History to mark the Decade […]

  • The drift towards civil war in Offaly in 1922. Specially contributed by Offaly History members to mark the Decade of Centenaries.

    The split in the IRA over acceptance of the treaty had been simmering since January 1922. The outcome of the Dáil vote and the June elections (58 seats to pro-treatyites and 36 to anti-treatyites, others 34) did little to dissuade those who believed they had taken an oath to secure a republic and that the … Continue reading The drift towards civil war in Offaly in 1922. Specially contributed by Offaly History members to mark the Decade of Centenaries.

  • The ‘flamboyant three-storey Ruskinian Gothic warehouse’ in Tullamore. Tullamore 400th series, no. 6. By Michael Byrne

    As part of the Tullamore 400th series and also in the context of research as part of a survey of Tullamore’s heritage in O’Connor Square and High Street, Tullamore we are pleased to present this article on one of the most attractive of the buildings of O’Connor Square. This is the building described by Andrew … Continue reading The ‘flamboyant three-storey Ruskinian Gothic warehouse’ in Tullamore. Tullamore 400th series, no. 6. By Michael Byrne

  • The Magnificent Mansions of Tullamore. By Fergal MacCabe. A contribution to the Tullamore 400th series, no. 6

    Today, the most enduring reminders of the economic prosperity of Tullamore in the mid to late eighteenth century are the commodious stone town houses built by its prominent and successful citizens. Seven in particular are notable, all but one of which line High Street, the entry to the town from the south and also the … Continue reading The Magnificent Mansions of Tullamore. By Fergal MacCabe. A contribution to the Tullamore 400th series, no. 6

  • Waterloo and some Birr connections. By Stephen Callaghan

    Those not overly familiar with military history will be still aware of famous battles, probably none more than Waterloo, where Napoleon was defeated by Wellington and his allies in 1815. As today is the 207th anniversary of this decisive battle, we will look at some of the men who were present at this battle who … Continue reading Waterloo and some Birr connections. By Stephen Callaghan

  • The 1922 general election in Laois-Offaly. By Michael Byrne

    The 16th of June 2022 marks two important anniversaries. The first is the centenary of Ulysses, but the second was the all-important vote on the Treaty held on the same day. The outcome in Ireland of the latter event was eagerly awaited. This election was the first to be held in the new Free State, … Continue reading The 1922 general election in Laois-Offaly. By Michael Byrne

  • Disbandment of the Leinster Regiment based at Birr Barracks 100 years ago. By Stephen Callaghan

    The 12th of  June 2022 marks the 100th anniversary of the disbandment of the historic Southern Irish infantry regiments of the British Army at Windsor Castle. Disbandment was brought about by economic cuts to the British Army after World War One (Army Order No. 78 dated 11 March 1922 “reduction of establishment”) and in part due … Continue reading Disbandment of the Leinster Regiment based at Birr Barracks 100 years ago. By Stephen Callaghan

  • The Everyday Colmcille. By Dr M.J. Fox

    Traditionally it has been believed that St. Columba, or Colmcille, left this world on 9 June 597, marking his departure from this world and entering a new life. Throughout those 77 years on this earth, according to his first hagiographer, Adomnán, he is reported to having performed many ‘prophecies, miracles and visions’[1] some of them … Continue reading The Everyday Colmcille. By Dr M.J. Fox

  • The limestone quarries of Ballyduff, Tullamore.  Part 3: From Tullamore to Tasmania. By John Wrafter

    In the second article on the quarries and stonecutters of Tullamore, I wrote about members of the Bracken family that left Ireland with their stonecutting skills and brought them to Australia. That was around 1910. However, stonecutters from the Ballyduff quarries had been emigrating and practicing their trade abroad for many years before that. Australia, … Continue reading The limestone quarries of Ballyduff, Tullamore.  Part 3: From Tullamore to Tasmania. By John Wrafter

  • Remembering Bridget O’Neill (née Conroy) of Greatwood, Cloonagh and Mucklagh, Tullamore, with a note on attending at ‘the French nuns’...

    My grandmother was Margaret Lambe from Greatwood, Killoughy. Her sister married Thomas Lawless of the pub at the Blue Ball. Margaret married Timothy Conroy of Cloonagh. My mother Bridget(1904-87 , was her eldest child. She was the eldest of nine sisters and one brother, the youngest of the family who died in his infancy, and … Continue reading Remembering Bridget O’Neill (née Conroy) of Greatwood, Cloonagh and Mucklagh, Tullamore, with a note on attending at ‘the French nuns’ […]

  • The First Technical Education Scheme in King’s County/Offaly, 1902–30: a time of exciting innovation and experiment. By Michael Byrne

    In these days when there is so much of war and pestilence it is good in looking at the Decade of Centenaries in Ireland to focus on the positive. Things that were done the good of which is still with us. So it is with technical education. Today we look at the early efforts and … Continue reading The First Technical Education Scheme in King’s County/Offaly, 1902–30: a time of exciting innovation and experiment. By Michael Byrne

  • Shops and pubs designed by Michael Scott in the 1940s for D.E. Williams. By Fergal MacCabe

    At a time of economic stringency, the architect Michael Scott delivered several elegant retail buildings for a prominent midlands business family. These were executed in a Modernist style and incorporated natural materials in an innovative fashion. D.E. Williams In a recent Offaly History blog, Michael Byrne described the expansionary retail strategy of the notable Offaly … Continue reading Shops and pubs designed by Michael Scott in the 1940s for D.E. Williams. By Fergal MacCabe

  • The Visit of the Hon. Hugh Mahon to Ireland in 1922 and the Mahon family reunion in Charleville Demesne, Tullamore in August 1922. By Dr Jeff Kildea

    As the decade of centenaries draws to a close, one centenary not on the government’s list of official commemorations is the 1922 visit to Ireland of the Hon. Hugh Mahon, a former cabinet minister in the Australian government. Nevertheless, at a local level, the people of County Offaly may find more than a passing interest … Continue reading The Visit of the Hon. Hugh Mahon to Ireland in 1922 and the Mahon family reunion in Charleville Demesne, Tullamore in August 1922. By Dr Jeff Kildea

  • Internship at the Offaly Archives. By Michelle Günter

    My internship at the Offaly Archives finished in March and I will go home with a suitcase full of experiences, knowledge, and impressions I gained about Irish life and heritage. I am an archivist student from the University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam, Germany. In our college a practical experience of the duration of 22 … Continue reading Internship at the Offaly Archives. By Michelle Günter

  • The Birr Whiskey Distilleries. Specially contributed.

    Does anyone have a bottle of Birr whiskey now? The destruction of Birr’s last distillery in March 1889 was seen as a death blow to the town. The population of Birr in 1841 on the eve of the Famine was 6,336 persons with another 554 in Crinkill. However, the next eighty years saw a period … Continue reading The Birr Whiskey Distilleries. Specially contributed.

  • Manuscripts from Early Offaly Monasteries. By John Dolan

    The earliest writing is recorded in eastern Asia about 5,000 years ago. The spread was westwards with the use of earthen (cuneiform) tablets that are still found today in the Tells of modern Iraq and in the Fertile Valley.  Cuneiform tablets were mainly used for recording stock control items and account balances; at the same … Continue reading Manuscripts from Early Offaly Monasteries. By John Dolan

  • Kinnitty Village: My Earliest Memories. Part 2 By Paddy Lowry

    Kinnitty is very much on the tourist trail in Offaly and is arguably the finest planned village in the county. In this the second extract first published in 2011 in Paddy Lowry’s Kinnitty my home in the Slieve Bloom (2011)  Paddy Lowry looks back to almost 100 years ago. Courtesy of Kilcormac Historical Society. Offaly … Continue reading Kinnitty Village: My Earliest Memories. Part 2 By Paddy Lowry

  • Partying in Tullamore in 1873 for the coming of age of the fourth earl of Charleville and the marriage of his sister Katherine Bury. By Michael...

    The summer of 1873 was marked in Tullamore with a great outpouring of support for the coming of age of Charles William Francis, the fourth earl of Charleville (1852–74). He had been an orphan for fourteen years and taken care of by his uncle Alfred Bury (1829–75). The fourth earl’s parents, Charles William George and … Continue reading Partying in Tullamore in 1873 for the coming of age of the fourth earl of Charleville and the marriage of his sister Katherine Bury. By Michael Byrne. […]

  • Alderborough Nursery Geashill, Offaly: Reamsbottom & Co., Geashill and West Drayton & Alderborough St. Brigid Anemones.

    The story of Alderborough Nursery, Geashill is a must have for delightful summer reading. This book tells the story of Reamsbottom & Co., Alderborough and West Drayton, and the development of the Alderborough strain of the St Brigid Anemone which made it famous around the world. Geashill was for decades at the center of Irish … Continue reading Alderborough Nursery Geashill, Offaly: Reamsbottom & Co., Geashill and West Drayton & Alderborough St. Brigid Anemones.

  • Kinnitty Village: My Earliest Memories. By Paddy Lowry

    Kinnitty is very much on the tourist trail in Offaly and is arguably the finest planned village in the county. In this piece first published in 2011 in Paddy Lowry’s Kinnitty my home in the Slieve Bloom (2011) Paddy Lowry looks back to almost 100 years ago. Courtesy of Kilcormac Historical Society. Offaly History has … Continue reading Kinnitty Village: My Earliest Memories. By Paddy Lowry

  • The grant of Tullamore in 1622 to Sir John Moore of Croghan: the 400th anniversary of the beginning of township in Tullamore. By Michael Byrne

    Tullamore is a well-preserved town and is the county town of Offaly since an act of parliament in 1832 displaced Philipstown (Daingean) which had been the county town since the shiring of Offaly as part of the new colonial government policies in 1557. The new county to be known as King’s County was then comprised … Continue reading The grant of Tullamore in 1622 to Sir John Moore of Croghan: the 400th anniversary of the beginning of township in Tullamore. By Michael Byrne

  • The limestone quarries of Ballyduff, Tullamore. Part 2. By John Wrafter.

    “Some of old stonies will hold their heads high, and carry with them to the grave the feeling that they have left their mark on many a church, and on many a building, and that in years to come, there will be people to admire the work they have left behind them, as we of … Continue reading The limestone quarries of Ballyduff, Tullamore. Part 2. By John Wrafter.

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