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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

Hugh Mahon – Patriot, Pressman, Politician Vol2

25.00

As a political agitator, journalist, businessman and politician, Hugh Mahon had a varied and
fascinating life. Born in Offaly, he and his family migrated to America in 1869, but returned
to Ireland in 1880 after their American dream failed. He was active in the Land League in
County Wexford which led to his arrest and imprisonment with Parnell in 1881, and exile to
Australia. As a crusading journalist he exposed corruption and became a thorn in the side of
the Forrest government in Western Australia during the 1890s. He was elected to the first
Commonwealth parliament in 1901 and served in four Labor ministries, rising to Minister for
External Affairs during the First World War.

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Hugh Mahon: Patriot, Pressman, Politician
Volume 2: Politician, The years from 1901-1931
by Jeff Kildea,
As a political agitator, journalist, businessman and politician, Hugh Mahon had a varied and
fascinating life. Born in Offaly, he and his family migrated to America in 1869, but returned
to Ireland in 1880 after their American dream failed. He was active in the Land League in
County Wexford which led to his arrest and imprisonment with Parnell in 1881, and exile to
Australia. As a crusading journalist he exposed corruption and became a thorn in the side of
the Forrest government in Western Australia during the 1890s. He was elected to the first
Commonwealth parliament in 1901 and served in four Labor ministries, rising to Minister for
External Affairs during the First World War. He has the distinction of being the only person
expelled from the Commonwealth parliament after he criticised British rule in Ireland.
This book, the second part of a two-volume biography of Mahon, covers the period from
his election to parliament in 1901 until his death in 1931. It describes his almost 20 years as
a backbencher and a minister during which he gained a reputation as one of the brainiest men
in parliament as well as one of the most controversial. It provides an insight into his
reluctant decision to oppose conscription in 1916 and examines in depth his commitment to
Irish self-government and the circumstances of his dramatic expulsion from parliament in
1920. The volume also looks at Mahon’s career as managing director of the Catholic Church
Property Insurance Co. and his intervention in Irish politics during the debate over the Anglo-
Irish treaty. It is the story of a flawed genius who simultaneously evoked high praise and
damning criticism.

Dr Jeff Kildea is an adjunct professor in Irish Studies at the University of New South Wales.
In 2014 he held the Keith Cameron Chair of Australian History at University College Dublin.
He is the author of Tearing the Fabric: Sectarianism in Australia 1910-1925 (2002); Anzacs
and Ireland (2007); Wartime Australians: Billy Hughes (2008), and co-author of To foster an
Irish spirit: The Irish National Association of Australasia 1915-2015 (2020).

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