May's News & Events from Offaly History.

Reminder - Society Excursion: Gloster & Corolanty House

Saturday 11th May.
We will depart from Bury Quay Tullamore @ 10.30am using our own transport to arrive at Gloster House for 11.30am. Afterwards we are visiting Cololanty for 1.30pm for a tour of the house & gardens followed by light lunch. Numbers are limited so booking is essential and there is a small cover charge. Please contact or call the office at 057 9321 421.

Brendan Ryan mentions "Corolanty house was built about 1698 by John Baldwin Jnr. whose father had had received a grant of land following the Cromwellian Plantation. Part of the Corolanty property came into the possession of Dr. Richard Baldwin, (no relation of the Baldwins of Corolanty), Provost of Trinity College. He died in 1750 leaving the whole of his estate to Trinity College. "

"Gloster house incorporates an older house and dates from 1680. It is a manor house, one of the oldest in the country and was in the uninterrupted ownership of the Lloyd family from 1639 to the late 1950s. The Lloyds connection with Gloster began when Edmond Medhop was granted five hundred acres in the area in the reign of James I. He left the estate to his daughter the wife of Captain Trevor Lloyd. In 1958 Major Lloyd, a descendant of Captain Lloyd, sold the house and lands to the Salesian Order of nuns who ran a girl's school there until it was sold to Macra na Feirme in 1991."

May's Lecture: North Offaly Commemorative monuments of the Revolutionary era c. 1914-23  

Guest Speaker: Philip McConway
Date: Monday 20th May
Time: 8pm
Venue: Offaly History Centry, Bury Quay Tullamore
Admission: Members €2 Visitors €5       

‘North Offaly Commemorative monuments of the Revolutionary era c. 1914-23.’ Permanent fixtures on the landscape, a powerful reminder of the tumultuous past, and for many citizens a source of civic pride, this illustrated talk will analyse several commemorate monuments concerning a pivotal period in Offaly’s recent history. The individuals who erected the various monuments, their motives and intentions, how they were financed (including the major contribution of Offaly expatriates in the United States), and the public response will be examined. The talk will begin with the imposing Great War cenotaph prominently displayed in the centre of Tullamore’s O’Connor Square. The Great War had a devastating impact in terms of loss of life that left the subsequent guerilla conflict in the shade. The understudied British Legion’s commemorations of the county’s fallen will be illuminated as will the Great War’s legacy. 
The War for Independence monument on the Court House lawn in Tullamore will be evaluated. Last February’s intemperate and ill-informed debate in Tullamore Town Council over the monument underlines how the period can still stir strong emotions. The monument will soon be cleaned and there are also proposals for a location change. OHS understands private donations are sought on this welcome and long overdue undertaking. The headstone on the grave in Mucklagh cemetery of Tullamore native and IRA Lieutenant Matthew Kane, mortally wounded by the RIC in 1921, will be detailed. McConway will present new evidence on Lieutenant Kane’s tragic killing. The mutations to the Offaly Republican Movement’s celebrated ‘Roll of Honour’ will also be discussed. A brief biographical sketch will outline the key role of the inveterate Republican patriot priest Fr Thomas Burbage and the monument erected in his honour in Geashill. The curious tale and long gestation surrounding the unveiling of the joint North Offaly/Westmeath IRA memorial in Tyrrellspass will be explored.
The lecture will end on a controversial and provocative note with the Republican monument in Edenderry cemetery. The names of reputed IRA and Cumann na mBan members are inscribed on what is arguably the county’s most elegant and striking monument. Is the town deserving of an ostentatious monument considering the local IRA’s patchy and mediocre record? Unravelling the layers of self-serving spin McConway will offer challenging insights and a dispassionate critique with startling disclosures. Unearthing sensational new evidence that will be revealed in a public forum for the first time McConway will probe the revolutionary pedigree of some individuals named on the monument while addressing problematic questions: How do we define patriotism and who decides what we remember in the potential minefield that is popular memory? Are some individuals venerated as fearless heroes deserving of this mantle? Who were the posers? Why were others with proven Republican credentials omitted from the monument and their sacrifices ignored? McConway will strip away the artifice surrounding the Edenderry IRA exposing the often uninspiring and depressing realities to its resistance. Anyone attending the talk is encouraged to bring original photographs or privately held sources documenting commemorative events on the above mentioned monuments.                                            

Exploring Tullamore:
this forty page booklet is designed to fit in your pocket has now been issued and is available from the centre at €2.99 and a special price to members of €2. It is an attractive publication with drawings by Fergal McCabe and text by Michael Byrne. The booklet has been supported by Tullamore Dew and Offaly History with a view to promoting tourism in the County Town and making available a short guide to the people visiting and to locals.  A packet of six old postcards of Tullamore is also available at our shop for €2. Download it free 


Dr John Feehan’s Geology of Laois and Offaly. 
This handsome book was launched to great acclaim on Friday 26 April and copies are available at €40 from Offaly History. It is a fine 
hardback book with colour photographs and an engaging text. Only a small number have been printed so you should get your copy early. There is a 20 per cent discount to members of Offaly History only.

Durrow Pattern Festival 7-9 June 2013. 

The Society is participating in this festival and support very much the activities of the Durrow Pattern Committee and the Durrow High Cross Committee with a view to opening up full 
and adequate access to the High Cross, to the dwellinghouse and the seventy acres of land adjoining. The possibilities for Durrow development are substantial and could include a major visitor attraction with the High Cross, the house, the old monastic site, the well, and the adjoining parklands.
  • Friday 7 June Durrow Variety Concert 
  • Saturday 8 June The Society Members are needed to help with the following; presentation of history of Durrow to 2000.
  • Tour of Cemetery
  • Exhibition of Art and old photographs
  • Help with the Local School Records
  • Introduction to Family History.
We hope that at least ten of our members will be present to help out in the afternoon between 2p.m. and 5p.m. on that day.
On Sunday morning there is a pattern mass followed by a procession to St. Colmcille’s well and a performance by Durrow Church Choir. We hope to see you at the festival over the weekend. For further information contact Helen Bracken and also see our website/facebook and that of Durrow High Cross.
On Saturday afternoon the OHAS is helping in the Durrow Pattern Festival by reference to a history afternoon at Durrow Hall and adjacent. The broad plan is as follows:-
  • 3pm at Durrow Hall introductory talk on the history of Durrow from the Norman period up to the twentieth century by reference to a mapping and photographic survey.
  • Break for tea
  • Visit to the adjoining Durrow Cemetery to explore the families and history of Durrow.
  • Opportunity will also be available for participants to check on their family history by reference to the cemetery and to parish records and census returns. The afternoon will also include an exhibition to be arranged in conjunction with the school for the purpose of displaying photographs of the parish and its families, school registers and other sources.

Lemanaghan Shrine Fundraising

As mentioned previously the Society has made a contribution of €2,000 to this small parish to help with the expense of additional security estimated at €50,000. We encourage members and the general public who are in a position to afford to make a subscription to contact us at for details on making a contribution / further information.       


New Website for

Our work under the chairmanship of Ger Murphy of preparing for the new website is now nearing completion with final revisions been made to the design and layout of the homepage. A big thank you to all who emailed / contact the society with their ideas and suggestions.  Ger made a presentation at the last committee meeting on 25 April. This was also an opportunity to review the contents of our Facebook site and Twitter. The Facebook site is reaching up to 3,500 people per week for the different stories that are published and is easily accessed now. Even if you are not a member of Facebook or Twitter you will be able to engage directly with information that the Society puts up from our new website  The staff of the Society will have a direct role by way of transferring data to the new site and more importantly putting up photographs to go with each article so as to make them more user friendly and attractive to the general reader. In this way we hope to communicate a substantial amount of information about the County History. We also hope that it will be a two way process with people coming back to us to add more information or provide a new article. Those of you who have written articles and would like to see them on the website should contact Ger Murphy at or any member of the committee.


National Heritage Week 2013 (August 17th to 25th) is fast approaching!  

The online event registration facility will open later this week and you will be notified separately about that. In addition to our usual supports to event organisers, we are hosting a free National Heritage Week Event Organisers Training Day on Friday May 24th in the Tullamore Court Hotel and we are delighted to invite you to attend. The training day will run from 10am to 4pm and will take the form of presentations and workshops on such topics as:
• National Heritage Week 2013, key messages
• Marketing and communications
• Social Media marketing
• Support for Historic Properties and Section 482 properties
• General event management tips
 You can register your attendance online via this link and here you can also input details of your own specific training needs which will help us to refine the agenda for the day, which we will then forward to you.  We would also request that, on the day, you bring along samples of your own previous National Heritage Week posters, flyers or brochures if you have them?  These will be used in the workshop sessions. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.  
REMINDER: Medieval Castles of Offaly Study Week – Monday 13th to Friday 17th May 2013 
Archaeologist Caimin O’Brien has been researching the castles of county Offaly for the past number of years and this is an opportunity to submerge yourself in this new information and be guided to the sites over the 5 days.  Places will be limited.   The fee is €175.00 per person. Place to be secured with a €75.00 deposit made payable to Offaly County Council. Each participant will bring their own pack lunch and appropriate clothing. Book with or phone 057 9346839.

Committee Calender
The last Thursday of the month for 16 May AGM, 27 June, 29 August , 26 September, 31 October, 28 November

The Longford Westmeath Argentina Society is still going strong and if you are interested in this and have family relations in Argentina you could look up their website under that name for connections and for other leads.

New Publication from Paschal Sweeney Tullamore on Multyfarnham Abbey. Congratulations to Paschal Sweeney, a son of one of our founder members, the late John Sweeney, who has produced a very attractive publication Through the East Window, of the rebuilding the blessed sacramen chapel in Multyfarnham Friary Church and has been illustrated with photographs of those involved and the works undertaken. It includes also a picture of the late John Sweeney and Patrick Martin who are founder members of the Society. A copy of the publication has been presented to our library.
The Ciotog Meaghers  This is the title of a publication on the Meagher and Scally families which was presented to us by a member of the family recently. It is an attractive production with many recollections of Tullamore in the last century from the grandchildren of Malachy Scally. Our thanks to Mrs Avine Lydon, member, for the gift of this memoir.

Open every Thursday night from 7.30p.m. to 10.30p.m. The Library stocks an extensive collection of county related material for the local historian and researcher. Our current catalogue contains 9,000 items and some 15,000 history books. This does not include copies of Journals etc. The entire catalogue will be available online with the launch of our new website in the coming months. 

Esker Press 



For details and orders contact us at

2013 Lecture Programme

1. Monday 20 May, Philip MConway Commemorative monuments of the Revolutionary era c.
1912-’23 in Offaly.’

2. 7-9 June Durrow Tullamore Pattern Festival 
3. July to be advised

4. August Heritage Week – lectures and walks.Joe Craig former
station master. Mr Craig came to Tullamore station just 50 years ago in 1963
5. Monday 16 September Dr David Doyle, ‘The contradictions of Irish Capital Punishment,

6.  Monday 21 October Sikora of the National Museum on finds from Offaly

7. Monday 18 November Darrell Hooper on Francis Johnston, architect


Annual Subscription for members not yet on standing order from 1 January 2013

January is subscription time for the Society and we appreciate the support you have given us in recent years. The subscription rates remain the same as in previous years.  If you wish to renew / join us using a standing order to facilitate payment you can get the form by (downloading here) or send payment directly using the membership renewal form (download here) or contact for copy. Also if you would like to introduce others members to the Society please let us know. It costs €250 to organize each lecture and we hold about ten of them in the year together with some other outdoor events. In addition to that we have considerable costs in running the centre and promoting Offaly History. For example we will now be proceeding with the binding of the hard cover of the local papers for the year 2012. In addition we are working with Offaly County Library to have access available in the Library and at Offaly History Centre for the early issues of the newspapers so as to facilitate local historical research.
Membership Rates
Individuals and families: €30
Overseas member: €30
Corporate subscription: €75
Friend of Offaly History: €100
Life membership: €500
Primary/Secondary School Student Rate: €5
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