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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

Ambition and Achievement – The Civic Visions of Frank Gibney

40.00

Ambition and Achievement – The Civic Visions of Frank Gibney – by Fergal MacCabe

A singular figure in the field of Irish residential  design in the middle part of the 20th century,
Frank Gibney’s reputation rests primarily on the six village schemes in the midlands which he designed for Bord na Mona workers.

He is less well known for his adherence to and  promulgation of, the principles of the Garden City and
Beaux Arts Movements in his planning and architectural  work. It is this aspect of his career which distinguishes
him from other practitioners of the period by virtue of the broadness and daring of his visionary proposals.
Between 1940 and 1950, he produced ambitious plans for more than twenty-five Irish cities, towns and villages,
though few of his proposals ever came to fruition.

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Ambition and Achievement – The Civic Visions of Frank Gibney – by Fergal MacCabe

A singular figure in the field of Irish residential  design in the middle part of the 20th century,
Frank Gibney’s reputation rests primarily on the six village schemes in the midlands which he designed for Bord na Mona workers.

He is less well known for his adherence to and  promulgation of, the principles of the Garden City and
Beaux Arts Movements in his planning and architectural  work. It is this aspect of his career which distinguishes
him from other practitioners of the period by virtue of the broadness and daring of his visionary proposals.
Between 1940 and 1950, he produced ambitious plans for more than twenty-five Irish cities, towns and villages,
though few of his proposals ever came to fruition.

A constant public advocate of the need for future  planning, he sought to encourage debate by preparing
and presenting the first ever spatial plan for the island of Ireland. His promotion of the use of indigenous building
and energy resources also displayed his imaginative and radical thinking.

While Gibney was an urban visionary and polemicist, he was also an extremely practical housing designer and in this career
he was the most prolific practitioner of his generation, being responsible for the layout and design of almost six thousand
dwellings which are to be found in every part of the country.

Unlike some of the housing schemes of the 1960s which were to be demolished within fifty years, Gibney’s are still
as sound as the day they were built and are cherished and protected by their occupants, who have resisted any
adulteration of their architectural quality.

The endurance of Gibney’s schemes lies not just in the traditional design, construction and accommodation of the
individual dwellings, but in the well-considered and unified layout of each estate, which created a human scale and a
sense of place for its inhabitants.

Now that a more extensive collection of Gibney’s drawings and correspondence and particularly his town plans, have
been deposited with the Irish Architectural Archive (IAA), a preliminary overview can be made of the work of this important figure whose opinions and designs reflect very
much the spirit and culture of the times in which he lived.

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