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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

The Decline and Fall of the Dukes of Leinster, 1872-1948

24.95

In a 70-year period, the dukes of Leinster fell from being Ireland’s premier aristocratic family, close friends of the British monarchy, secure within the world’s most powerful empire, to relative obscurity in an independent Irish Free State that did not recognize titles. And while in 1872, when this work opens, the 3rd duke of Leinster resided in some grandeur in the Palladian Carton House, the 7th duke would die impoverished in a one-room bedsit flat in St George’s Drive, Westminster, London, just over a century later in 1976. The story moves from the small town of Maynooth, Co. Kildare, to London, to continental Europe, to an asylum in Edinburgh, to the US, before completing the circle and ending back in Maynooth in the 1940s. The narrative of decline and fall unfolds against such historical watersheds as the Land War of the 1880s and the simultaneous rise of the home rule movement; the breakup of Irish landed estates after 1903; the Great War of 1914-18; the revolutionary turmoil of 1916-23; and the 1920s global economic depression. The impact of such public events as mentioned above has featured prominently in the historiography of the decline of the Irish landed class, both north and south. However, little attempt has been made to combine that history with private lives and experiences. This book sets out to rectify this. In the process, it reveals the tragic personal story of Hermione, 5th duchess of Leinster, and her three sons, gathered from sources heretofore unused by historians of the Leinsters.

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The Decline and Fall of the Dukes of Leinster

In a 70-year period, the dukes of Leinster fell from being Ireland’s premier aristocratic family, close friends of the British monarchy, secure within the world’s most powerful empire, to relative obscurity in an independent Irish Free State that did not recognize titles. And while in 1872, when this work opens, the 3rd duke of Leinster resided in some grandeur in the Palladian Carton House, the 7th duke would die impoverished in a one-room bedsit flat in St George’s Drive, Westminster, London, just over a century later in 1976. The story moves from the small town of Maynooth, Co. Kildare, to London, to continental Europe, to an asylum in Edinburgh, to the US, before completing the circle and ending back in Maynooth in the 1940s. The narrative of decline and fall unfolds against such historical watersheds as the Land War of the 1880s and the simultaneous rise of the home rule movement; the breakup of Irish landed estates after 1903; the Great War of 1914-18; the revolutionary turmoil of 1916-23; and the 1920s global economic depression. The impact of such public events as mentioned above has featured prominently in the historiography of the decline of the Irish landed class, both north and south. However, little attempt has been made to combine that history with private lives and experiences. This book sets out to rectify this. In the process, it reveals the tragic personal story of Hermione, 5th duchess of Leinster, and her three sons, gathered from sources heretofore unused by historians of the Leinsters.

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