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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
  • 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.

  • A new chapter in Westmeath historiography: the recent publication of Westmeath History and Society, an address by Dr Harman Murtagh at the launch in...

    The Mullingar and Athlone launches of Westmeath History and Society have provided two interesting and original addresses on the status of local history in Westmeath, our neighbouring county. The Offaly History and Society volume was published in 1998 and is long out of print. A few copies were secured by Offaly History some years ago … Continue reading A new chapter in Westmeath historiography: the recent publication of Westmeath History and Society, an address by Dr Harman Murtagh at the […]

  • Tullamore in 1838: from Patrick Street to Harbour Street, Church Street and Henry/O’Carroll Street. No. 3 in the series to mark the 400th...

    Barracks built in 1716 and destroyed in 1922 The barracks of 1716 was at the western end of Patrick Street and Hayes Hotel, dating to 1786, at the eastern end on the corner with Church Street and Bridge Street (now Boots Pharmacy). The barracks was destroyed in July 192 2on the retreat of the Republican … Continue reading Tullamore in 1838: from Patrick Street to Harbour Street, Church Street and Henry/O’Carroll Street. No. 3 in the series to mark the 400th anniversary of township in […]

  • Moorock House, Ballycumber: the first Big House burned in Offaly in the 1919–23 period. By Eamon Larkin

    Thomas Armstrong, son of Andrew Armstrong and Lucy Charnock, was born on 22nd August 1702 and when he retired from his position as First Director of his Majesty’s Engineers, Chief Engineer of Minorca and Senior Engineer in the service, purchased the estate of Moorock and built a house there. He died in 1747, unmarried and the … Continue reading Moorock House, Ballycumber: the first Big House burned in Offaly in the 1919–23 period. By Eamon Larkin

  • Tullamore town in 1838: based on the six-inch Ordnance map. Number 2 in a series marking the 400th anniversary of township in Tullamore. By Michael...

    The first article in this recent series to mark the 400th anniversary of the grant to Sir John Moore of Croghan and Tullamore of a licence to hold fairs and markets and establish manorial government was about Tullamore in 1804–7 and was based on two surviving Grand Canal maps. The earliest surviving comprehensive map of … Continue reading Tullamore town in 1838: based on the six-inch Ordnance map. Number 2 in a series marking the 400th anniversary of township in Tullamore. By Michael Byrne

  • Launch of Westmeath, History and Society. The address by Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Dermot Farrell, Mullingar, 24 March 2022

    As a native son of the county, it gives me great pleasure to be invited to launch Westmeath: History and Society. Interdisciplinary Essays on the History of an Irish County, the 29th volume in the Irish County series; this volume of thirty-five essays covering themes from the prehistoric to the present era utilises a multidisciplinary … Continue reading Launch of Westmeath, History and Society. The address by Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Dermot Farrell, Mullingar, 24 March 2022

  • How did the word `Shinroneism` enter the lexicon? A story of police corruption in Shinrone in the 1840s and a poem from Birr poet John de Jean...

    While reading the poems of the Birr poet John de Jean Frazer recently  I came across this satirical poem `The Gallant Police of Shinrone` which raised my curiosity levels a bit. You can read more about the Birr-born poet in a article issued on OffalyHistoryblog on 23 March to mark the 170th anniversary of the … Continue reading How did the word `Shinroneism` enter the lexicon? A story of police corruption in Shinrone in the 1840s and a poem from Birr poet John de Jean Frazer. By […]

  • The Courts of Assize in Offaly and the ceremonial display of British power in Ireland before 1922. By Michael Byrne

    The memorial to the Offaly Volunteers who fought in the War of Independence was unveiled on the lawn of the county courthouse, Tullamore in 1953. It was Peadar Bracken (1887–1961) former OC Offaly Brigade and from 1922-3 the Tullamore district court clerk who ensured that the IRA Volunteer monument was placed on the lawn of … Continue reading The Courts of Assize in Offaly and the ceremonial display of British power in Ireland before 1922. By Michael Byrne

  • Anniversary of Birr poet John de Jean Frazer (1804-1852). By Padráig Turley

    Today, 23 March 2022 we mark the 170th anniversary of the death of John de Jean Frazer (1804–1852). A poet and a cabinet-maker, a native of Birr county Offaly he was born into a Presbyterian family. While `J. De Jean` was his preferred nom-de-plume, he also used pseudonyms `Z`, `Y`, `F` and `Maria`. His first … Continue reading Anniversary of Birr poet John de Jean Frazer (1804-1852). By Padráig Turley

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

    Introduction On the 1809 map of King’s County by William Larkin, one can easily fail to spot the tiny T-shaped symbol about 1 mile northwest of the town of Tullamore. There is no description to inform the reader what the object represents. Its shape and its location, however, leave no doubt as to what it … Continue reading The limestone quarries of Ballyduff, Tullamore. By John Wrafter

  • Support for the Belgian Refugees in County Offaly and in Portarlington following the outbreak of the First World War. By Offaly History and the late...

    When we in Offaly History set out early in 2021 to mark the Decade of Centenaries in Ireland in our eighty plus contributed blogs on the Decade last year little did we think that an article on Belgian refugees to Ireland and the First World War would have resonance in the Ireland of 2022. Now … Continue reading Support for the Belgian Refugees in County Offaly and in Portarlington following the outbreak of the First World War. By Offaly History and the late Ronnie Mathews

  • Early Church Enclosures in Offaly. By John Dolan

    Archaeologically speaking there are many different types of enclosure in Ireland, many dating from some thousands of years ago and built for many different reasons.  Some of the different types include: Henge.  A large, enclosed, prehistoric, circular or oval area usually over 70m in diameter which is defined by an earthen bank and a (usually … Continue reading Early Church Enclosures in Offaly. By John Dolan

  • A look back at Tullamore town on key dates since 1622: Tullamore in 1804. By Michael Byrne

    This short article is the first in a series designed to look at the growth of Tullamore over the period from 1622 and to take key dates in the development of the town. Suggested dates will include 1622, 1716, 1764, 1785, 1804, 1835, 1900, 1923, 1948, 1966 and 2000. These dates coincide with particular events, … Continue reading A look back at Tullamore town on key dates since 1622: Tullamore in 1804. By Michael Byrne

  • Demolish or Preserve?  The dilemma for the future of the architectural  heritage of Tullamore and of many other Irish towns. By Fergal MacCabe

    The Architectural Heritage of Tullamore Our architectural heritage may be defined as those structures which by their very great beauty, important historical connotations or unique scientific value contribute to creating a memorable experience. To be frank, the town centre of Tullamore  contains few buildings or spaces which meet these criteria but it does have its … Continue reading Demolish or Preserve?  The dilemma for the future of the architectural  heritage of Tullamore and of many […]

  • Offaly County Administration in 1920 and 1921 during the Military Regime. Specially Contributed

    In the first issue of the Athlone-based Offaly Independent on 4 February 1922 (about fifteen months after the destruction of the newspaper by Crown forces) an article appeared setting out the changes in public health administration in County Offaly, settled in 1921. This involved the closure of the workhouses in Edenderry and Birr and the … Continue reading Offaly County Administration in 1920 and 1921 during the Military Regime. Specially Contributed

  • The Decade of Centenaries –  Independence and its  legacy for women’s role in society. By Sylvia Turner

    One of the ironies during the first two decades of the 20th century is as women were beginning to gain equality with men, it was taken away during the next two decades by the Government under Éamon de Valera. Such inequality between men and women has led to repercussions across Irish society until the present … Continue reading The Decade of Centenaries –  Independence and its  legacy for women’s role in society. By Sylvia Turner

  • Offaly GAA blessed with some great club history publications. By Kevin Corrigan

    Offaly GAA is very fortunate to have a number of fabulous club history publications at its disposal, not to mention a myriad of other book. Clubs such as Clara, Daingean, Edenderry, Kilcormac/Killoughey, Seir Kieran and Tullamore have produced particularly comprehensive and detailed club histories and their value to members is immense.   I  started research … Continue reading Offaly GAA blessed with some great club history publications. By Kevin Corrigan

  • Lt Col. Middleton Westenra Biddulph of Rathrobin, Tullamore (1849–1926). An illustrated presentation of his local photographs on Monday 21 Feb. at...

    On Monday 21 February 2022 Offaly History will host a public lecture on the photographic work of Middleton Westenra Biddulph (1849–1926) of Rathrobin, Tullamore. The lecture will also be streamed via Zoom and will start at 8 p.m. at/from Offaly History Centre. Biddulph’s photographs of Offaly and midlands interest together with Big Houses in Ireland … Continue reading Lt Col. Middleton Westenra Biddulph of Rathrobin, Tullamore (1849–1926). An illustrated presentation of his local […]

  • Recently nominated by the Irish Times as amongst the twenty best places to live in Ireland: A Tullamore Capriccio. By Fergal MacCabe  

    Recently nominated by the Irish Times as amongst the twenty best places to live in Ireland, Tullamore earned the accolade because of its central location and its excellent recreational amenities and services. However, neither its built or natural environment figured as deciding factors in the survey. Regrettably, my home town lacks the physical drama of Kilkenny … Continue reading Recently nominated by the Irish Times as amongst the twenty best places to live in Ireland: A Tullamore […]

  • First Remembrance Day in Offaly for deceased members of the IRA, January 1922.First issue of the revived Offaly Independent. Evacuation of the...

    We had a blog last April on the 100th anniversary of the death of Matthew Kane. Now we recall the first procession in his memory from Tullamore to his place of burial in Mucklagh in late January 1922. Those early weeks of February 1922 saw the commencement of the removal of the British forces from … Continue reading First Remembrance Day in Offaly for deceased members of the IRA, January 1922.First issue of the revived Offaly Independent. Evacuation of the British military in Offaly begins in […]

  • Friar’s Grave or Boundary Marker or: A cross-slab at Ballysheil, Cloghan, Co. Offaly. By Ronan Healy

    This week we welcome Ronan Healy, a new contributor to our series of articles on Offaly History. We are pleased to have his contribution and invite our readers to put the hand to the churn and write for the series. In the townland of Strawberry Hill lies a cross-slab with a history that has generated … Continue reading Friar’s Grave or Boundary Marker or: A cross-slab at Ballysheil, Cloghan, Co. Offaly. By Ronan Healy

  • The departure of the British Military from Offaly one hundred years ago – Birr Barracks. Stephen Callaghan

    In the aftermath of the Anglo-Irish Treaty Birr Barracks in Offaly was one of the first to be evacuated by the British military. It was also the largest in the county. Stephen Callaghan takes up the story. Wednesday, 2 February 2022 marked the centenary anniversary of the departure of the Leinster Regiment from Birr Barracks. … Continue reading The departure of the British Military from Offaly one hundred years ago – Birr Barracks. Stephen Callaghan

  • Geashill GAA footballers: ‘The King’s County Cracks’. By John Malone

    Followers of Gaelic games in Offaly will no doubt be familiar with Raheen’s G.A.A. grounds, just outside the village of Geashill. The grounds were once known as ‘The Lawn’ where stood the gate house to Alderborough house. In the early 1900s Alderborough house was the headquarters of the famous Reamsbottom garden nurseries, one of the … Continue reading Geashill GAA footballers: ‘The King’s County Cracks’. By John Malone

  • Some bridges of Ireland and of Offaly

    We are so delighted to see Offaly feature in this week’s episode of Droichid na hÉireann. Lochlann Ó’Mearáin will visit one of Europe’s oldest surviving suspension bridges at Birr Castle before stopping off at Shannonbridge to learn all about the historical importance of the bridge in the villag All this and more on Monday the … Continue reading Some bridges of Ireland and of Offaly

  • The release of the War of Independence prisoners: Tullamore jail was deplorable. Louis Downes and Michael Grogan of Tullamore tell their story. By...

    The release of thousands of internees from jails in Ireland and Britain followed on the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in early December 1921. Most had been imprisoned under the Restoration of Order (Ireland) Act. We carried a blog on the first phase of the releases in mid-December. Upwards of 4,000 were being held since … Continue reading The release of the War of Independence prisoners: Tullamore jail was deplorable. Louis Downes and Michael Grogan of Tullamore tell their story. By […]

  • The Public Role of Personal Commemoration. Remarks on the Decade of Centenaries, the Great Flu and the scourge of TB. By Sylvia Turner

    On January 7th this year, we raised a glass to commemorate what would have been my mother’s 100th birthday. Born in Kilcoursey Lodge,  Clara, she had always said that she was born on a special day, being the day, the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed in the Dáil. Her explanation to me as a child was … Continue reading The Public Role of Personal Commemoration. Remarks on the Decade of Centenaries, the Great Flu and the scourge of TB. By Sylvia Turner

  • Mountbolus, Ireland: the funeral mass and final resting place for Ashling Murphy, 18 January 2022. Specially contributed

    The whole of Ireland will be watching Mountbolus today for perhaps the first time in its history. None would want the attention it will receive as the family of Ashling Murphy, her friends and representatives of state, gather for her final mass in the lovely church dominating the village of Mountbolus. The family who have … Continue reading Mountbolus, Ireland: the funeral mass and final resting place for Ashling Murphy, 18 January 2022. Specially contributed

  • The Fair of Frankford (Kilcormac): old times in the barony of Ballyboy. By Paddy Heaney

    We are publishing this essay of thirty-five years ago to honour all the people of the barony of Killoughy who have kept the Irish musical tradition vibrant and have a great love of their local history. It is also to mark the passing of Ashling Murphy and in support of her family and all her … Continue reading The Fair of Frankford (Kilcormac): old times in the barony of Ballyboy. By Paddy Heaney

  • Offaly and the Treaty Debate: widespread acceptance. Specially contributed

    Early 1922 saw just two local organs of public opinion in Offaly – the Midland Tribune and the King’s County Chronicle. The Tribune was owned by the long-term nationalist Mrs Fanning, widow of the late Dr Fanning and herself active in regard to Sinn Féin policy on amalgamation of the workhouses. Her editor was James … Continue reading Offaly and the Treaty Debate: widespread acceptance. Specially contributed

  • Well that Beats Banagher!! A humourous expression of amazement. By Kieran Keenaghan and James Scully

    This famous phrase or exclamation or some version of it has been in use for hundreds of years. There are few instances if any in the English-speaking world where a placename appears in this manner. In all cases it was used dramatically to emphasise in a humorous way what has been said or written. The … Continue reading Well that Beats Banagher!! A humourous expression of amazement. By Kieran Keenaghan and James Scully

  • The parish of Clonmacnoise (in the diocese of Meath and King’s County/Offaly) by Revd Patrick Fitzgerald, c. 1814–16. Presented by Offaly History

    An account of  Clonmacnoise in the early years of the ninteenth century was published by William Shaw Mason (c.1774–1853), as part of his three-volume A Statistical Account or Parochial Survey of Ireland, drawn up from the communications of the clergy (1814–19).  Included in this survey is one Offaly parish – that of Clonmacnoise, published as … Continue reading The parish of Clonmacnoise (in the diocese of Meath and King’s County/Offaly) by Revd Patrick Fitzgerald, c. 1814–16. […]

  • The ‘Elite’ of Tullamore skating at Charleville Lake on St Stephen’s Day 1864. By Cosney Molloy

    Skating on Charleville Lake, Tullamore was a popular pastime when I was a young lad. I remember the cold icy winters of 1962, 1982 and 2010. I can recall as a young man the Tullamore people skating on Charleville Lake in 1962. I am a long time now in D 4 but I got down … Continue reading The ‘Elite’ of Tullamore skating at Charleville Lake on St Stephen’s Day 1864. By Cosney Molloy

  • A novel approach to Charlotte Brontë’s honeymoon. By James Scully

    Pauline Clooney’ Charlotte & Arthur, an imaginative recreation of the Charlotte Brontë’s honeymoon in Wales and Ireland, is an exciting combination of fact and fiction. The extensive historical research which preceded the writing of the book is evident throughout and this coupled with the creation of less historic characters and the weaving in of more … Continue reading A novel approach to Charlotte Brontë’s honeymoon. By James Scully

  • King’s County Infirmary – its closure in 1921 in an era of change. By Aisling Irwin

    King’s County Infirmary was established under the reign of King George III with the passing of the Irish County Infirmaries Act of 1765. This act enabled the creation of infirmaries in thirty Irish counties. During the redevelopment of Tullamore town by the Earl of Charleville, a new infirmary building was erected in 1788 on Church … Continue reading King’s County Infirmary – its closure in 1921 in an era of change. By Aisling Irwin

  • Tullamore: ‘A good business town’. By Fergal MacCabe

    Why has there been so little public interest in the conservation of the architectural heritage of Tullamore? Sharing a pot of tea in the Brewery Tap in the early 1980s with a well-known local builder, I remarked that demolition and redevelopment rather than conservation and reuse always seemed to be the first choice option. His … Continue reading Tullamore: ‘A good business town’. By Fergal MacCabe

  • The internees released from the camps following the Treaty of 6 December 1921. A time of ferment in politics. By Michael Byrne

    The scene at the railway station [Tullamore] will long be remembered. Long before the hour for arrival of the train, the stream of people to the station premises and surroundings was continuous. There was joy everywhere and the light and hope that the glad tidings brought were seen in the faces of the huge gathering. … Continue reading The internees released from the camps following the Treaty of 6 December 1921. A time of ferment in politics. By Michael Byrne

  • Cassandra, Countess of Rosse (1851-1921) – a profile of her life on the centenary of her death. By Graham Sykes

      During the summer of 1908 the 4th Earl and Countess of Rosse made their customary journey to London in order to enjoy the society ‘season.’  Sadly, this was to be their final visit together, for although the sixty-seven-year-old Earl had been in declining health for some time, soon after they returned to Birr Castle … Continue reading Cassandra, Countess of Rosse (1851-1921) – a profile of her life on the centenary of her death. By Graham Sykes

  • Rathrobin and the Two Irelands: the photographs of Middleton Biddulph, 1900–1920. Michael Byrne

    Rathrobin is a book that keeps on giving. Its 250 Biddulph photographs from the 1870s to 1920s, all carefully captioned, depict the two Irelands – unionist and nationalist, Catholic and Protestant, landed and cabbage garden. What is interesting about the photographs taken by Colonel Biddulph (1849-1926, of Rathrobin near Mountbolus) are the nuances. He was … Continue reading Rathrobin and the Two Irelands: the photographs of Middleton Biddulph, 1900–1920. Michael Byrne

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