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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 [email protected] Open 9am-4.30pm Mon-Fri
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German travel writers on the Irish midlands, 1750 to today. Lecture by Dr Joachim Fischer

March 25, 2019 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

25 March, Monday, 8 p.m.  Dr Joachim Fischer on ‘German travel writers on the Irish midlands, 1750 to today: A survey’. Dr Joachim Fischer is Senior Lecturer in German and Joint Director of the Centre for Irish-German Studies at the University of Limerick.

In 1954, German Nobel Prize winning author Heinrich Böll spent an afternoon on Hare Island, Lough Ree. An illuminating chapter in his Irisches Tagebuch (An Irish Journal; 1957) describes his visit including the man who brought him over in his boat, Harry Rice, one of the founders of the Inland Waterways Association. Böll was only one of a long line of German writers, travellers and other visitors who came to Ireland since C. F. Küttner started the tradition in 1783 when he took up a tutor position in Portlaw Co. Waterford. Küttner was fascinated by Macpherson’s Ossian which had swept the European literary world, and particularly Germany, by storm in the middle of the 18th century and generated considerable interest in Celtic culture. But not all Germans came for such lofty cultural reasons. There were also a good few soldiers among them who left less happy memories, be they the Hessian troops who helped to crush the United Irishman Rising or the King’s German Legion where Irish memory is more mixed. Some of these visitors left interesting accounts which are a useful source for social and local historians. The lecture will present a synopsis of these accounts by German travellers since the mid-18th century paying particular attention to the images they contain of the Irish Midlands. In the 19th century they include travel accounts by J. G. Kohl and G. Venedey, in the 20th by Böll and some lesser-known writers. The lecture will be accompanied by numerous illustrations.

Dr Fischer’s particular research interests are Irish-German relations, travel writing, national images and utopian studies. Among his book publications are The Correspondence of Myles Dillon 1922-1925 (with John Dillon), The Irish image of Germany 1890-1939: History – Form – Function (in German) and As others see us: Cork through European eyes (with Grace Neville). He is co-editor of two book series, Irish-German Studies and Ralahine Utopian Studies. Recently he has discovered local history as a particular fruitful area for Irish-German studies.


March 25, 2019
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Event Category:


Offaly History


Offaly History Centre
Bury Quay
Tullamore, Ireland
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