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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
Family History

Tracing your family history in Laois and Offaly, Ireland

Avail of our Laois Offaly family history database hosted by our colleagues in Roots Ireland and compile your own personal family history.

Each family story is unique and our part of the Roots Ireland platform will help you.

Make a really great gift for your children and grandchildren by letting us and Roots Ireland help in putting together your story.

  • If you need our help in searching local newspapers
  • Providing photographs and topographical information about your ancestral place in Laois Offaly
  • Images of old Laois and Offaly for your family history
  • Books on Laois Offaly (in print) or if out of print we can help in your search

Our sources for client research on Roots Ireland include:

  • Births, Marriages and Deaths
  • Griffith’s Valuation
  • Church Records
  • Parish Maps and Local Photographs
  • Census Data
  • Traders’ directories, 1788-1912
  • Voters’ records from 1829 to 1919 (please note the details provided)
  • Laois and Offaly Cemeteries


Offaly Heritage Centre is a company limited by guarantee and not for profit. We rely on fees to pay our expenses and expanding our services including a library of 20,000 volumes, 300,000 photographs and an Offaly Archives Service.

About Offaly History

Offaly History is also a member of the Irish Family History Foundation and has placed almost one million records from Laois and Offaly on its Roots Ireland site.

All income from this work is reinvested to promote the objectives of Offaly History. Using all the primary sources including church registers, civil records, census returns, etc.,

Offaly History has compiled a large database of information
on Laois and Offaly families spanning several centuries. Most of the records relate to the 19th century, but some church registers date back to the 18th century.

Since 1983 Offaly History (sometimes known as Irish Midlands Ancestry) has a well-regarded reputation for processing thousands of enquiries, mainly from Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and USA. Increasingly it also receives
queries from people living in Ireland.

Now we are expanding our services on the Roots Ireland platform while continuing to assist with consultancy, newspaper
searches and topographical information.
The Offaly History Centre was at the forefront of innovation in Irish family history and directly supported the formation of the Irish Family History Society in 1984 and the Irish Family History Foundation in 1988. Our Centre and research library
was opened in 1993. We have recently completed a new Offaly Archives to better secure our unique records and to make them safely accessible.

Offaly History Bookshop

Our bookshop and online has almost 150 current titles on Laois and Offaly books in stock besides over 2,000 new and secondhand history titles. Looking for something rare tell us about it. Call to us or view our shop on our website.
Offaly History stories every Saturday

We have over 150 stories about Offaly and its people on www.offalyhistoryblog
and publish every Saturday. Why not subscribe. It’s free.
Offaly History has published ten issues of Offaly Heritage since 2003 and has numerous other publications.

RootsIreland offers a unique database of more than 20 million Irish records

It contains data from 34 county genealogy centres on the island of Ireland. The main sources on the site are Irish Catholic and other church records of baptisms, marriages and deaths which are the most important source for tracing Irish ancestry.

The Irish Family History Foundation has been the coordinating body for a network of county genealogy centres and family history societies for over thirty years. The sources available vary for each county so please check our Irish Online Sources for details of what is available on the website.

The Irish Family History Foundation has been the coordinating body for a network of county genealogy centres and family history societies on the island of Ireland for over thirty years. The genealogy centres’ databases include parish church records of baptisms, marriages and deaths, many civil records, census returns and gravestone inscriptions. Millions of these records are searchable online, providinga unique resource for family historians not available on any other website. New records are added as the computerisation of sources continues in the local genealogy centres.

Irish Family History Foundation
Cana House
Farnham Street
Co. Cavan
Email: [email protected]

VAT Registration No: IE6556677R

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