May 2018 newsletter
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May 2018

The 28 May lecture at Offaly History Centre has been deferred to Heritage Week. Helen Bracken will talk on Durrow on Saturday 25 August at Durrow Abbey Church. Meet at the church at 2p.m. that day.

New book on Four Offaly Saints will shortly be available at Offaly History Centre and will be formally launched on 27 August. Another book to be added to the growing library of Offaly History and Archaeology studies with thanks to Professor Ó Riain, Four Courts Press and Offaly County Council for its support.

Four Offaly Saints: The Lives of Ciarán of Clonmacnoise, Ciarán of Seir, Colmán of Lynally and Fíonán of Kinnitty, by Pádraig Ó Riain
Lying just south of the line that divided Ireland’s two halves, Leath Chuinn to the north and Leath Mhogha to the south, the churches of the present county of Offaly could scarcely have been other than places of exceptional importance. A vision attributed to Finnian of Clonard saw a silver moon rise above Clonmacnoise that brought brightness and light to the mid-parts of Ireland, and another vision attributed to Ciarán himself showed the shadow of his church protecting every part of the country, north and south. For its part, Seirkieran laid claim to having been one of the first churches founded in Ireland, by its saint, another Ciarán, who was acting on instructions received from St Patrick, before the latter ever brought Christianity to the country. Seirkieran had a claim to cathedral status in Ossory over a long period. Lynally’s patron Colmán was of northern origin and his church provided abbots to certain northern churches over several centuries. By way of contrast, Kinnitty’s saint Fíonán was reputedly of Kerry origin, and this is reflected in the Life written for him, which brings him down to west Munster on numerous occasions. Connections such as these bear witness to the important role played by the churches of Offaly in the history of early Irish Christianity. The four Lives in this volume, which are translated from Latin originals, contain much of interest countrywide.

Four Courts Press. 176pp. Including 16 pages of Colour Ills. Paperback. 978-1-84682-704-4. €14.95

Programme for June to July 2018 at Offaly History Centre.

Friday 29 June 2018 at Offaly History Centre at 8 p.m.  Tullamore man Terry Adams will read from his latest book of poems entitled Verdun to the Somme, and also from various books, poems about Tullamore and some of its people. All are welcome.

Terry was born in Cormac Street, Tullamore, to parents Terry and Kathleen Adams. He has spent all but two of the last 34 years living abroad. Living four years, 1984 to 1987, in the United States and, since 1990 in Luxembourg. He began writing after the death of his father in 1976 and has penned novels, collections of short stories and books of poetry. His true passion is poetry, a passion passed on to him by his father. ‘Many of my poems describe my memories of the most influential people in my life. Parents, immediate/extended family, and friends, all provide continuous inspiration. Most of these people are/were from Tullamore and much of my work is based in around my early years during the 60’s in the town. I believe that often in life the earliest influences are the most poignant and permanent.’ Terry’s interests include history, politics, hurling, rugby, traditional music and singing. He is married and has three daughters. Now retired he is enjoying his life in Luxembourg.

Saturday, 30 June,  from Tullamore Railway Station and then by shared taxis, Dublin outing: Marsh’s Library, National Print Museum, Little Museum of Dublin, the new headquarters of the Irish Georgian Society, optional walking tour.

Sunday 8 July,  to meet in grounds of Catholic church at 3 pm (ample parking) The historic sites of  Kilcormac and Ballyboy to include the Catholic church, the parochial grounds, the Mercy Convent, Bord na Móna housing and on to Ballyboy, the village, church, cemetery and old hall concluding with refreshments in Dan and Molly’s celebrated historic pub.

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New books of local interest

New book by Fergal MacCabe launched in Dublin on 16 May.
Our congratulations and thanks to Fergal MacCabe on the launch of Ambition and Achievement: the civic visions of Frank Gibney (Dublin, 2018) large format, 175 pp, €40. The price to Offaly History members will be reduced to €35. There is much of interest to Offaly readers in this book because Gibney was the planning adviser to Tullamore Urban District Council in the 1940s and 1950s and designed the Bord na Móna housing schemes in Offaly. You can also consult it in our library at Bury Quay.

PDF catalogue for 2018 is now available and has been emailed to members. Please forward a copy to all your friends who may be interested.

Our history bookshop has been further improved. If you have second hand histories you would like to donate to our library or for resale we would be glad to have them.


Our bargain this month is a large format map of Offaly just issued by Offaly History from its archive of maps of the county.

A map of the County of Offaly (King's) showing the parishes and baronies of about 1900. Printed on good quality paper in large A2 format, the map is available for €10 and €50 framed and is essential for schools, offices, and your home. It will provide a talking point for years to come.

Renew your membership for 2018
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