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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

Tullamore and the Irish National Foresters 1899-2024. By Aidan Doyle, Part 2, concluded. [We are marking the 100th anniversary of the re-opening the new hall, cinema and club rooms on the eve of St Patrick’s Day 1924 and the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Tullamore branch in April 1899.]

In March 1914 the Foresters Hall played host to meeting called organise the Irish Volunteers in the district. Following the outbreak of the Great War and the resulting divisions within nationalism, the Tullamore Corps of the National Volunteers gathered at…

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 ‘Unity, Nationality and Benevolence’  Tullamore and the Irish National Foresters 1899-2024. By Aidan Doyle [We are marking the 100th anniversary of the re-opening the new hall, cinema and club rooms on the eve of St Patrick’s Day 1924 and the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Tullamore branch in April 1899.] Part 2 tomorrow

The weather was bad when Joseph Hutchinson arrived in Tullamore. For 22 years Hutchinson had dedicated himself to the Irish National Foresters and as a result a small mutual aid society founded by 18 men in Dublin, had spread across…

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The 1923 General Election in Laois and Offaly: a remarkable outcome. Tar barrels in O’Connor Square for Pat Egan and a substantial vote for Republicans. An Offaly History contribution to the Decade of Centenaries. By Michael Byrne

After 101 years Laois Offaly is to be divided into two three-seat constituencies according to the just announced electoral commission report. ‘This would be the first time that the Offaly constituency would fully align with its county boundary.’ Now what…

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Exploring 48 High Street, Tullamore: From Col. Crow to Colton’s Hotel, Hibernian Insurance, Galvin Auctioneers, Sambodino’s and Jade Inn Chinese. A contribution to the Living in Towns series promoted by the Heritage Council and a Heritage Week Special (no.2 ). By Michael Byrne.

If walls could talk and archives survived, what would we learn about GV no. 48 High Street, Tullamore. A lot over its 275-year history so far. The number in the first printed valuation map of 1854 was no. 48. It…

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Offaly evacuated,  not a British policeman or soldier now in the county.  Tullamore R.I.C. barracks occupied by I.R.A., troops march in with fixed bayonets, headed by St. Enda’s pipers. 7 March 1922. An Offaly History contribution to the Decade of Centenaries.

The dismantling of the barrack structure of the British military establishment advanced rapidly in the aftermath of the signing of Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921. The great exodus in Offaly began in February 1922. The newly issued Offaly Independent (absent…

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V.S. Pritchett on disturbed Ireland during the Civil War. A visit in 1923 reporting for the Christian Science Monitor and in 1966 for Dublin: A Portrait (1967). A contribution from Offaly History to the Decade of Centenaries.

In Midnight Oil (London, 1971) V.S. Pritchett (1900-97) describes how The Christian Science Monitor sent him to Ireland early in 1923 to write about the Irish Civil War. The Anglo-Irish treaty had been signed, the Irish politicians split, and the two parties were…

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The Terror of Tullamore Gaol. By Maurice Egan

Introduction One hundred and thirty five years ago on Christmas eve 1887, one of the two ‘Heroes of Tullamore’, John Mandeville was released from Tullamore Gaol in wretched physical condition. Mandeville who farmed two hundred acres and was chairman of…

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