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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 by-election and the general election in Offaly in 1918, Michael Byrne

      Congratulations to the people of Offaly in having secured as their member Ireland’s Ambassador to America. Their unanimous endorsement of his mission is particularly opportune. Dr McCartan will voice a united Ireland’s demand that the Irish people be given the right of self-determination and will tell the world that Irishmen will not fight as … Continue reading The by-election and the general election in Offaly in 1918, Michael Byrn […]

  • Pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela from the Irish midlands in the fifteenth century by Bernadette Cunningham

      Santiago de Compostela became an international pilgrimage destination in the twelfth century, at a time when the doctrine of purgatory was widely promulgated and the idea of indulgences was gaining popularity. The local archbishop, Diego Gelmírez (d.1140), promoted the cult of St James and the shrine in the Cathedral of Santiago became one of … Continue reading Pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela from the Irish midlands in the fifteenth century by Bernadette Cunningham […]

  • KILBEGGAN AND WORLD WAR 1 Stan McCormack

    The conversation about the 100th anniversary of World War 1 this last month is on-going, with reference to poppys and Easter lilies, as part of the story. It should be a lot simpler as it has always been about remembering the people who died or who were injured in World War 1 and during the … Continue reading KILBEGGAN AND WORLD WAR 1 Stan McCormack […]

  • ‘The dead open the eyes of the living’: St Joseph’s Cemetery, Tullamore by Girvan McKay, Clonminch

    Living just beside the cemetery, we often walk there and I have been struck by the informative and often moving inscriptions on the tombstones of the graves there. It struck me that these throw a valuable sidelight into the pattern of life and death in Tullamore. Some are very sad, especially those on the graves … Continue reading ‘The dead open the eyes of the living’: St Joseph’s Cemetery, Tullamore by Girvan McKay, Clonminc […]

  • The new book, Offaly and the Great War, represents new and original historical research on the 1914-18 period. Lisa Shortall

      The Parker Brothers of Clara and John Martin of Tullamore. One of the Parker boys was killed as was John Martin on 8 October 1918. There was very little published work relating to Offaly in World War I until recent times. The 1983 essay by Vivienne Clarke was a first and rare examination of … Continue reading The new book, Offaly and the Great War, represents new and original historical research on the 1914-18 period. Lisa Shorta […]

  • The first and the last Offaly-born soldiers killed in the Great War of 1914-18 [from Offaly and the Great War. Launch, Sunday, 11 Nov. 2 30 p.m....

    When the great historian and first ‘telly don’ A.J.P. Taylor published his short history of the First World War just in time for the remembrance days of fifty years ago he wrote that the war reshaped the political order in Europe. That its memorials stood in every town and village and that the real hero … Continue reading The first and the last Offaly-born soldiers killed in the Great War of 1914-18 [from Offaly and the Great War. Launch, Sunday, 11 Nov. 2 30 p.m. Tullamore […]

  • The McDonald Family of Birr and the Great War: one story of many from Offaly about those who fought in the Great War, 1914–18. Stephen Callaghan

    In July 2018 an interesting Great War campaign medal appeared on eBay, a single 1914–15 Star awarded to Private Frederick McDonald of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. The description provided by the seller stated that Frederick was born in Birr, and that he had been killed in action during the war. Further research unravels … Continue reading The McDonald Family of Birr and the Great War: one story of many from Offaly about those who fought in the Great War, […]

  • The ghost of Charleville Castle, Tullamore! Eleanor Ridley (specially contributed)

    As somebody from an old Tullamore family that lived in County Offaly for almost 150 years I feel I still have a place there in my old country, though I seldom visit now. I prefer the mild climate of Jo’burg and the Cape. My extended family had happy (and some sad) recollections of the old … Continue reading The ghost of Charleville Castle, Tullamore! Eleanor Ridley (specially contributed) […]

  • The earliest known photograph of O’Connor Square and High Street Tullamore

    New discoveries of old views or photographs of Tullamore are always of interest. Street scenes of Tullamore are not known to survive any earlier than 1902 (views of the jail and Charleville Castle excepted). These 1902 views are from old postcards and show only the main streets. We have none of the lanes of the … Continue reading The earliest known photograph of O’Connor Square and High Street Tullamor […]

  • Banagher in the Seventeenth Century: some interesting Historical Titbits Cosney Molloy

        I was fortunate to be invited to visit Banagher during Heritage Week in August 2018. Unfortunately I missed the presentation by Messrs Keenaghan and Scully but am told that all went swimmingly or, as we say up here in BAC, it was a hoot. Anyway I have many relations in the Banagher district … Continue reading Banagher in the Seventeenth Century: some interesting Historical Titbits Cosney Molloy […]

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