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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

In addition to those listed as contributors Offaly History wishes to thank all those in any way connected with the programme via technical help or the
provision of articles and matters that were included on the platform. These include Lisa Shortall, Padraig Seery, Eamonn Doyle and Michael Byrne.
Others who had input via an article, blog, gallery or video include:

Pat McLoughlin. Pat Nolan. Robert McEvoy. John Malone. Erin Sears. Cecile Gordon. Guy Warner. Joe Gleeson. Jane Maxwell
Stan McCormack. Damian White. Brendan Barry. Noel Guerin. Máirtín D’Alton. Nuala Holland. David Egan
Ronnie Matthews. Anna White. Joe Deverell. Ruth Barton. Mary Daly. John Flanagan

Breda Condron

Breda Condron (née O’ Kelly) is a keen local and family history enthusiast. Her most recent publication was on the tombstones of Killoughey graveyard and she has worked towards the…

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Brendan Ryan

Brendan Ryan Is a retired Principal teacher. He is a native of Dublin city and has written extensively on West Offaly.

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Brian Pey

Brian Pey Works for Offaly County Council in Tullamore. He is an active member of Birr Historical Society and Offaly History. His main interest is in the history of the…

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Ciara Molloy

Ciara Molloy Secured a History and Political Science Scholarship in Trinity College Dublin. She is a member of the Offaly Historical and Archaeological Society and is currently engaged in post-graduate…

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Ciarán Reilly

Ciarán Reilly Is Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses & Estates, Dept of History, Maynooth University. He is author of The Irish Land Agent,…

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Diarmuid Wheeler

Diarmuid Wheeler Has studied the roots of colonialism in the Laois-Offaly Plantation and secured his doctorate at NUIG Galway. He has contributed to Offaly Heritage and lectured to the Society.…

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Fergal MacCabe

Fergal MacCabe Is a Tullamore born architect, town planner and topographical artist. He is the author of Ambition and Achievement – The Civic Visions of Frank Gibney and Friends Houses…

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Fergus O’Bracken

Fergus O’Bracken Was Tullamore born Peadar Bracken’s youngest son. After a lifetime career (40 plus years) managing in marketing computer systems at hom and abroad, he retired to County Armagh…

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Frank Fennell

Frank Fennel Is interested in family and military history and has contributed to Offaly Heritage.

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James P. Cullen

James P. Cullen Brigadier General (Deceased), U.S. Army was long associated with the Offaly Historical and Historical Society and was a regular visitor to Ireland. He contributed a memoir to…

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James Scully

James Scully   James Scully has for many years had a keen interest in local history with reference to west Offaly and the Grand Canal. A gifted communicator, he has…

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Lisa Shortall

Lisa Shortall Is a professional archivist and currently manages Offaly Archives. Her research interests are in local and community archives, and archival representation, and she regularly gives lectures to the…

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Margaret Hogan

Margaret Hogan A graduate of UCD was a teacher at St Brendan’s Community School, Birr. Her publications include The Gospel Book of Macregol of Birr (2007) and Drama in Birr:…

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Margaret White Mulligan

Margaret White Mulligan works in the area of family history and has contributed to several issues of Offaly Heritage.

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Maurice Egan

Maurice Egan Is a retired beverage industry executive. He is chairman of P & H Egan (Tullamore) Limited, the brand owner of Egan’s Irish whiskey. He resides in Johannesburg and…

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Michael Byrne

Michael Byrne Is a solicitor and notary public. He has been active in the promotion of local studies in County Offaly for many years and is general secretary of the…

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Michael Goodbody

Michael Goodbody moved to London to take up a career in the city in 1962. He is now retired and lives in Essex. At an early age he developed an…

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Miriam Smyth

Miriam Smyth Is a researcher and producer with over twenty years’ experience. She worked on a number of well-known television series.

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P.J. Dooley

P.J Dooley is a community development worker and organic farmer, living in Ferbane, Co. Offaly. He holds a Master’s degree in Agriculture and a Higher Diploma in Community Work. He…

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P.J. Goode

P.J. Goode Is a Dublin based Cloneygowan, Offaly native.  Upcoming publication (2021) is A People’s Army, Cloneygowan D Company IRA 1919-23. He has published Cloneygowan and District.. (2005), The O’Dempsey…

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Paddy Heaney

Paddy Heaney Is a much-loved figure in local studies and is a native of Cadamstown, County Offaly. He has published extensively on this area of the county.

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Padraig Heavin

Padraig Heavin Is retired and is a member of Mallow Archaeological and Historical Society and Mallow Camera Club. He has had a lifelong interest in Offaly history and sport.

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Paschal Sweeney

Paschal Sweeney Has an interest in local and community history and has published two works on the Franciscan Friary in Multyfarnham; in 2013, Through the East Window, the story of…

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Paul Hughes

Paul Hughes Is a Mullingar-based journalist and the holder of a  Ph.D from Queen’s University, Belfast. His doctoral thesis focused on the republican activism of Laurence Ginnell (1852-1923). In 2005,…

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Philip McConway

Philip McConway Secured his Ph. D from TCD for a thesis on the civil war in County Offaly. He has lectured extensively and has contributed to Offaly Heritage and numerous…

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Richard Egan

Richard Egan teaches in Tullamore and has contributed to Offaly Heritage.

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Ronnie Mathews

Ronnie Mathews Was a well-known and liked local history enthusiast and author in Portarlington. He died on 8 January 2017 at the age of 83.

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Ruth Barton

Ruth Barton Is Associate Professor in Film Studies at Trinity College Dublin. She has published widely on Irish cinema and her works include Irish National Cinema (2004), Acting Irish in Hollywood (2006) and Rex Ingram, Visionary…

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Sean McEvoy

Sean McEvoy is a secondary school teacher at the Curragh Post Primary School in Kildare and is a member of Offaly Historical and Archaeological Society.

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Stephen Callaghan

Stephen Callaghan Works as a legal review analyst, but in his spare time is an independent historian. His research is primarily concerned with Birr Barracks, the Leinster Regiment and social…

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Steven T.M. Egan

Steven T.M. Egan Is undertaking post graduate research in history. His interest in Offaly history was nurtured from a young age by his father Peter.

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Sylvia Turner

Sylvia Turner Is a semi-retired university tutor in Education and has a long held interest in Irish history. Her research relates mainly to Kerry, the home of her grandfather’s ancestors…

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