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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
  • Shackleton’s photographs of Tullamore and west Offaly in the 1890s. Michael Byrne

    Jane W. Shackleton’s Ireland compiled by Christiaan Corlett (Cork, 2012) is an attractive large format publication from the growing stable of books issued by Collins Press and consists of 180 well produced photographs by Jane Shackleton. Jane Shackleton (nee Edmundson) was born in 1843 and in 1866 married Joseph Fisher Shackleton of the famous Ballitore, … Continue reading Shackleton’s photographs of Tullamore and west Offaly in the 1890s. Michael Byrne

  • Johnny Gorman the tailor of Ferbane. The Story of a Fenian. By Tomas O Cleirigh M.A. and Offaly History

    Some died by the glenside, some died ‘mid the stranger, The wise men have told us their cause was a failure; But they stood by old Ireland an’ never feared danger, Glory O! glory O to the Bold Fenian Men” Peadar O’ Cearnaigh Ferbane is a little place of about three hundred inhabitants. They often … Continue reading Johnny Gorman the tailor of Ferbane. The Story of a Fenian. By Tomas O Cleirigh M.A. and Offaly History

  • Going in on the Altar or an altar boy`s apprenticeship in West Offaly in the 1950s. By Pádraig Turley

    This episode in my life dates from the early 1950s. I was about nine year old at the time. I lived with my mother, grand-parents and uncle on a farm in the townland of Clerhane, near the village of Shannonbridge. My father worked in Dublin. Our house was what was then called a rambling house, … Continue reading Going in on the Altar or an altar boy`s apprenticeship in West Offaly in the 1950s. By Pádraig Turley

  • Stories and traditions from the historic ruins in Ballinagar. Specially Contributed by John Malone

    ‘At Ballinagar a large and handsome R.C. chapel was in the course of erection in the ancient English style of architecture’. Samuel Lewis in 1837 remarks that ‘at Ballinagar a large and handsome R.C. chapel was in the course of erection in the ancient English style of architecture’. This church replaced an earlier thatched building … Continue reading Stories and traditions from the historic ruins in Ballinagar. Specially Contributed by John Malone

  • ROBERT BALL, ASTRONOMER AND TEACHER AT BIRR 1865-1867, DESCRIBES HIS TIME AT BIRR CASTLE. Presented by Michael Byrne

    Surviving diaries and accounts of activities in Offaly (King’s County) in the nineteenth century are uncommon and because of this all need to be catalogued and evaluated. Diaries of travel writers, correspondence and memoirs can all throw light on activities of that time. One such source recently acquired by the Offaly Historical and Archaeological Society … Continue reading ROBERT BALL, ASTRONOMER AND TEACHER AT BIRR 1865-1867, DESCRIBES HIS TIME AT BIRR CASTLE. Presented by […]

  • County Offaly in the Military Service Pensions Collection: an exploration by Cécile Gordon

    Cécile Gordon is Senior Archivist and Project Manager of the Military Service (1916-1923) Pensions Project in the Military Archives of Ireland. She will give a lecture on Offaly in the Military Service Pensions Collection on Monday 21 October, 8pm in Offaly History Centre, Tullamore. The talk will include an overview of the records available in … Continue reading County Offaly in the Military Service Pensions Collection: an exploration by Cécile Gordon

  • Tullamore, a magical place for Cafés and Coffee by Cosney Molloy

    I was down from Dublin last week to visit some of my Molloy nieces in the Tullamore/Killoughey and Banagher areas and I am beginning to think there are as many coffee shops in Tullamore as there are in D 4 where I have lived (mostly in flats) since the 1970s. I counted five new coffee … Continue reading Tullamore, a magical place for Cafés and Coffee by Cosney Molloy

  • Central Leinster: some reflections on the architecture of County Offaly by Andrew Tierney

      Medieval architecture In a region crowded with fine buildings, County Offaly has a lot of significant works of architecture of which to be proud. It is rich in early Christian and Romanesque remains at Kinnitty, Durrow and Rahan, while the monastic settlement at Clonmacnoise is one of the outstanding survivals of this period in … Continue reading Central Leinster: some reflections on the architecture of County Offaly by Andrew Tierney

  • Memories of Rural Electrification and the Arrival of the ‘Electric’ in County Offaly An Oral History Project John Gibbons

      In October 2014, following an introduction by Amanda Pedlow and Stephen Callaghan, an understanding was reached with the late Stephen McNeill, the then President and Micheal Byrne Secretary of the Offaly and Archaeology Society for them to assist and source interviewees in connection with my project to record persons talking about their memories of … Continue reading Memories of Rural Electrification and the Arrival of the ‘Electric’ in County Offaly An Oral History […]

  • Jonathan Binns and the Poor Inquiry in Philipstown (Daingean), King’s County, November 1835 By Ciarán McCabe

      The decades before the Great Famine witnessed a growing interest, in both Ireland and Britain, in the problem of Ireland’s endemic poverty. The sheer extent of poverty in the country and the very nature of that impoverishment – the relative lack of capital investment; an over-reliance on small agricultural holdings and a single staple … Continue reading Jonathan Binns and the Poor Inquiry in Philipstown (Daingean), King’s County, November 1835 By […]

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