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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 , 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 Open 9am-4.30pm Mon-Fri
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Christmas Special: A miscellany of readings and songs relate the love story of Arthur Bell Nicholls of Banagher and the great Victorian novelist Charlotte Brontë. James Scully and friends.

December 5 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

A miscellany of readings and songs relate the love story of Arthur Bell Nicholls and the great Victorian novelist Charlotte Brontë.
Using extracts from letters and poems written by the principals involved and their relations and friends, this romance unfolds gently
with allusions to the great joys and sorrows that the passionate affair engendered. Covering the period 1825 to 1915 the performance
recounts the early years of Arthur Bell Nicholls when he lived in Cuba Court then the Royal School of Banagher. This is followed by an
account of his education, ordination and move to Haworth in 1845. For the next sixteen years he lived in close proximity to the Brontë 
household enjoying some happy moments but also sharing in their great losses as tragedy repeatedly struck that household. 
Subsequent readings will recall Arthur’s marriage to Charlotte in 1854, their honeymoon in Ireland and her untimely death nine months later. 
When he did not succeed Mr. Brontë as the Perpetual Curate after his death in 1861, Arthur made a return to Ireland and Banagher. The final
extracts will recount his second marriage to his cousin Mary Anna Bell and the forty happy years they enjoyed in Hill House, now a well-appointed
guest house called Charlotte’s Way. A cast of six readers cum singers / musicians will bring the story to life and touch upon the humours and pleasures
of a tale often been related in more sombre tones. The performance is interspersed with contemporary and more recent associated tunes.
Upstairs in Hugh Lynch’s Bar on Thursday 6th December, 8pm. This performance costs €10 and all proceeds will go towards the new Offaly Archives building which was completed this year.


December 5
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
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Offaly History


Hugh Lynch’s Bar
Kilbride St
Tullamore, Co Offaly, Ireland (Ire)
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