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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

Memoirs of a Tipperary Family: The Gaynors of Tyone


In stock


Fr Pat Gaynor administered the last rites to three young boys sentenced to death by a military court in Birr during the Civil War.

This important book traces the lives of three members of the Gaynor family of Tyone near Nenagh in County Tipperary. The subjects are Fr Pat Gaynor born 1887; Sean Gaynor his step-brother born 1894 and Eamonn Gaynor, son of Sean, born 1925. Their lives encapsulate the twentieth century in Ireland and their respective memoirs, written with an honesty and integrity common to all three, pull back the veil of silence. Pat Gaynor, educated at St Flannans and Maynooth, provides a revealing account of Maynooth in the early days of the twentieth century as the young priests, influenced by the Sinn Fein philosophy of Arthur Griffith, confronted the cautious establishment which included the future Cardinal Mannix. Ordained for Killaloe diocese in 1911, Pat Gaynor served his formative years on the mission in Glasgow. In 1917 he was elected to the Supreme Executive of Sinn Fein and was prominent in the anti-conscription campaign. He presents fascinating insights on local town notables in Nenagh from the old regime who attempted to manipulate the young men of Sinn Fein. He also claims that some of the medal festooned patriots had less than heroic war campaigns. Appointed curate in the west Clare parish of Mullagh, Fr Pat helped establish Sinn Fein courts which incarcerated offenders in the open air prison on Mutton Island. A firm supporter of the Treaty he retired from active politics influenced perhaps by the harrowing experience of having to administer the last rites to three young boys sentenced to death by a military court in Birr during the Civil War. His account of their sad last hours serves to temper the glorification of violence. A curate in Birr until 1937 he was again transferred to west Clare, where he died as parish priest of Kilmihil in 1949

Additional information

Weight 909 kg
Dimensions 24.3 × 15.4 × 2.9 cm

Hard Or Paper Back


Place of Publication




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