December 2018 newsletter
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13 December, Thursday, 8 p.m.  at Offaly History Centre 
Christmas Meeting with an illustrated talk by Ciarán Reilly on 'The history of Capard House in Slieve Bloom'


The lecture will be followed by Christmas refreshments. Cover charge for all €5 each to include lecture and festive refreshments. Savouries, pies, wine, tea, coffee. Booking advisable and come and meet friends on this happy occasion.

In the early 1970s Capard House in county Laois was described as ‘a house of only moderate interest’. This description followed the death of Charles de Jenner in 1970 which heralded the end of the Pigott lineage in the county which stretched back to the early 1560s. The 1970s were also witness to the subsequent decline of Capard’s fortunes. Sitting nestled on the edge of the Ridge of Capard, part of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, Capard House is situated near the village of Rosenallis. Since 2015 Capard has undergone one of the largest restoration projects of an Irish country house.

Providing an excellent example of the ever changing function and use of the Irish country house, for long periods Capard was very much a ‘seasonal home’ enjoyed by the Pigott family and their friends. These occasions usually centred on sporting pursuits where visitors enjoyed the hunting and shooting that the mountain terrain provided. For these reasons, Capard seldom featured on the trail of the travel writer or gazetteer, only briefly attracting attention during John Pigott’s elaborate construction in the late 1790s. In many respects then Capard remained unknown to the outside world and lay in the shadow of the other great houses of Laois.

However, Capard was central to the cultural, economic and social life of Rosenallis and the wider community over several hundred years. This illustrated talk charts the history of Capard House and estate from the arrival of the Pigotts in modern day Laois in the 1560s to its present day restoration. The story of Capard challenges many of the stereotypical representations of the Irish country house. Significantly, this talk will examine the relationship between an Irish country house and the wider community in which it was located.

Dr Ciarán Reilly is a historian of nineteenth & twentieth century Irish history based at Maynooth University. His books include The Land Agent, 1700-1920 (editor with Lowri Ann Rees & Annie Tindley) (Edinburgh, 2017); The Irish Land Agent, 1830-60: the case of King’s County (2014); Strokestown and the Great Irish Famine (2014) & John Plunket Joly and the Great Famine in King’s County (2012).

Friday 14 December from 7. 30 p.m. will be the launch of a memoir by member Paddy Finlay, On mature recollection.

All welcome. See report on new book in Tullamore Tribune, 5 December 2018.
Buy a history book for Christmas at Offaly History Centre. Now open on Saturday for December 15 and 22 December from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. So come in and browse.

Offaly History Centre has over 1,500 history titles to choose from and to suit all pockets – from under €10 to rare items for up to €250. Call and see us from 10 to 4 Monday to Friday, Thursday nights 7 30 p.m. till late, now on Saturday for December; or shop on line for new local publications. We have over 100 local publications to choose from. See for the catalogue.

New books issued Christmas 2018 and mostly available at Offaly History Centre
  1. Michael Byrne (editor), Offaly and the Great War (Tullamore, 2018), 450pp, softback. €20
  2. Birr Year Review 2018: volume 18 (Birr, 2018), 196 pp, softback. This publication is in progress since the year 2001 and contains much material on the town not to be found elsewhere. €10
  3. J.W.H. Carter, Rory Oge O’Moore, 1538–1578 (Portlaoise, 2018), 132 pp, softback.€10
  4. Kevin Corrigan, Tullamore Harriers, a history: 1953–2018 (Tullamore, 2018), 340 pp, hardback, €20.
  5. Brian Darby, The Rhode way: Brian Darby celebrates the daily and sporting life of a unique village (Bray, 2018), 160 pp, softback, €14.99.
  6. Paddy Finlay, On mature recollection (Tullamore, 2018), 72 pp, softback.
  7. Aidan Grennan, Memories of Rahan: a lookback on life in a Co. Offaly parish (Cork, 2018), 217 pp, softback, €12.
  8. Arnold Horner, Mapping Laois: from the 18th to the 21st century (Dublin, 2018), 376 pp, hardback, €30.
  9. Tullamore Annual 2019 (Tullamore, 2018), pp 180, softback, €15. This is no. 7 in the series. It comprises of stories and articles from Tullamore and the surrounding area.
  10. Laurence Walsh OCSO, Slí na Manach: Mount Saint Joseph Abbey, our one hundred and forty years photographic camino (n.p., 2018), 116 pp, hardback, €20.
  11. Whisperings by Wordsmiths Tullamore (Drogheda, 2018), 291 pp, softback, €10. A miscellany of prose, poetry and memories.

You can buy by PayPal or call us or visit local bookshops, Midland Books and Robbins.

Support the Offaly History Christmas Draw please.  We need your support more than ever and thanks to all who have contributed so far. Click on Santa to get an email version of the card in case you did not get one and want to support our objectives. We have big plans to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Society in April- May 2019.
Renew your membership for 2019
Copyright © 2018 Offaly Historical & Archaeological Society, All rights reserved.

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