Offaly History February 2015 Newsletter
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Bury Quay, Tullamore, Co. Offaly Telephone: 057-9321421

Opening hours 9-4.30 Mon-Friday office and Family History

Thursdays 7.30p.m.- 10.30 p.m. Library evening
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February 2015 Newsletter

Lectures and Events

Offaly History Centre, Monday 16 February 2015 at 8.00pm

A presentation by James Lyttleton on the subject of his book The Jacobean Plantations in seventeenth-century Offaly: an archaeology of a changing world. This book looks at the impact of the plantations on a number of Gaelic lordships in west and south Offaly, and how buildings like tower houses, fortified houses and churches can provide insights into the life and ways of the natives and planters who lived through these tumultuous times.

The presentation will be based on Dr Lyttleton’s book published in 2013 and will be given a formal Offaly launch as Dr Lyttleton was away in Canada at the time of its publication and the occasion was not marked.

Mr James Scully of Meelick and Banagher will formally launch this publication. The lecture and launch will be held at Offaly History Centre, Bury Quay, Tullamore at 8pm

Admission to lecture and refreshments - Members support €2 and non-members €5.

The lecture will be illustrated. Refreshments and book signing after talk. Copies of the book are available in both soft and hard copy and will sell at a reduced price on the night. Come and celebrate this important contribution to Offaly Studies.

Where did they all go? Irish emigration in the 19th Century

Edenderry Friday 13 Feb., 7 to 10pm

This interesting seminar will take place in Edenderry Town Hall, Friday, 13 February from 7-10pm.  The seminar will consist of five presentations (25 minutes each) on aspects of the Irish emigrant experience. 
The papers are: 
  • Dr Ciarán Reilly, The Irish in South Africa: A miscellany
  • Dr Regina Donlon - 'We are all well and fat': the Tuke Irish in Minnesota, 1880-1930 
  • Damian Sheils, In Search of Irish Emigrants in the American Civil War
  • Fidelma Byrne, Fleeing famine: assisted-emigration from Earl Fitzwilliam's estate in County Wicklow
  • Jarlath McNamara, Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore: Irish Famine Refugee, superstar of American music, but today, unknown!”

The evening is being hosted by Edenderry Historical Society and is one of the group’s main fundraising initiatives of the year.  Admission to include coffee is €10.
Your support would be greatly appreciated. 

Events Continued

Monday 2 March, Stephen Callaghan on his Survey of the Offaly cemeteries - 
Offaly History Centre - 8pm

Monday 23 March James Scully "The Grand Canal in Offaly 1794 - 1804. - Offaly History Centre - 8pm
2014-15 is the bicentenary of the connection from the Liffey with the Shannon. The talk will be based on contemporary sources, primary and secondary but mostly on the Grand Canal Minute Books.

Monday 20 April Professor David Dickson of TCD on: 'The rise and rise of Dublin 1600-2000: A Midlands perspective' - Offaly History Centre 8pm

14-19 April, Society Trip to Germany limited to 25 places now booked out - Offaly History Centre 8pm

Thursday 7 May, Dr Philip McConway, Ernie O’Malley’s relationship with Offaly as an IRA GHQ organiser, writer and historian - Offaly History 8pm

Sunday 7 June Visit to Crinkle Military Cemetery, Birr with Stephen Callaghan - Meet at Offaly History Centre at 2.15pm for Crinkle Cemetery at 3pm

Archives for Offaly History  

The Society has engaged a professional archivist, Lisa Shortall, to assist in cataloguing our archive and this is turning up finds and items that had been forgotten about. As it progresses we will let you know more.

Offaly Heritage 8

Should be ready to go to press at the end of February and be available for launch at our April or May meeting.

Trip to Germany

Our trip to Germany led by member Dorothee Hermann is now fully booked.
It takes place from 14 to 19 April

Tullamore GAA 125 record - sold out

New history books can be purchased in our shop and on-line

Membership 2015

Offaly History suggestions in regard to the 1916 Commemoration 

Offaly History has sent the following suggestions to the county council special 1916-2016 committee

1.    Offaly History can assist by holding a series of lectures during the year 2016 on the following subjects to cover the substantial preparation involved. These would be held throughout the county. The list is not exhaustive and will involve different speakers at each venue.

•    The Story of the Irish and the National Volunteers in Co. Offaly 1914 – 16
•    The Story of the  ‘Tullamore affray’ in March 1916 and the aftermath
•    The Story of the 1914 by Election in County Offaly where the Irish Parliamentary Candidate was defeated in favour of E.J. Graham and the end of the convention system
•    The United Irish League in Offaly, 1900-18
•    Monuments in Offaly associated with the War of Independence
•    Peadar Bracken
•    The Tullamore Pipe Band in the early years and its part in the developing Irish Ireland

2.     A Publication of a book of essays and photographs on Offaly and the Road to Independence,  to include the following at a cost of about €8,000 and sales (free to schools etc):-

•    The 1914 By-Election
•    The Story of the Tullamore Affray – an episode before Easter
•    Business and local government during the War years
•    Peadar Bracken
•    The growth  of the Irish Ireland movement in County Offaly
•    County Offaly in the War years – a series of photographs and stories for the general reader.
•    sport and society in Offaly
•    Edenderry men in Dublin Easter Week
•    the fate of the Unionist /Protestant population in Offaly
•     the burning of country houses in Offaly

3.    We would like to see the monument at the Courthouse cleaned. This is on the property of the Courts Service but it should be possible for the County Council to agree with the Courts Service that the Council would arrange the cleaning of the monument through its own offices or through an independent contractor operating for the Council by delegation from the Court Service so as to have this completed in good time for the 1916 Celebrations. 
4.    It may be possible to get a high quality version of the 1916 Commemoration in 1966 re issued on DVD or uploaded to U Tube for the benefit of the County. There is currently a reasonable quality version (given the technology available at the time) which was arranged by Brendan Killeavy about two years ago. We should look at endeavouring to see if that can be improved upon. The original of the film is in the library.

5.    In the context of the 100 years it would also be feasible to produce an attractive booklet of photographs of the County in the years before and during the war and 1916. This would be real keepsake and could be popular. Support for a high quality product would be needed..

6.    For the second level schools we can arrange a workshop in conjunction with the TY students secondary schools in the county  (there are ten to 12 in the count  at Edenderry (x2), Tullamore (3), Clara, Banagher, Birr, Killina, Gallen and one or two more.

7.    This idea can also be viewed from the time of the First Dáil under Home Government from 1919 up to 2014. This could include a chronology of the progress of the county over that period and drawing on the different facets of social and economic life life from Local Government to Industrial Development to hospitals, schools and so on to give a flavour of the county and the degree of change since 1916. 

This would be woollier but would also appeal to the reader but we think no. 5 more incisive.

8.    The national concept embraces evolution of the State over the past century and we would like to raise awareness that family papers and archives have a story to tell.  We propose having an archivist based in the library service for a period of time who could receive donations or scan records.  

There has been no proactive county archive for the past decade and this area of our heritage has not received much public profile, to the extent that people may not be aware that there is a county repository.  This would be a county project in line with the Military Archive project which is one of the main national projects. 

9.    Similarly we propose allocating a budget to do oral history recordings of individuals who may come to light during this period that have not previously been recorded. We have carried out a number of recordings over the past decade as have the heritage and arts office. 

Elections at AGM

The new committee was elected at our recent AGM and the officers were appointed at the committee meeting on 5 February and are as follows:
  1. Stephen McNeill – Chairman
  2. Brian Pey, Vice-Chair
  3. Helen Bracken, Vice-Chair
  4. Darrell Hooper - Treasurer
  5. Dorothee Bibby - Secretary
  6. Michael Byrne –  Asst Secretary
  7. Fred Geoghegan
  8. Noel Guerin
  9. Charlie Finlay
  10. Henry Edgill
  11. Peter Burke
  12. Niall Sweeney
  13. Angela Kelly
  14. Pat Wynne
  15. Rory Masterson
  16. Shaun Wrafter
  17. Ronnie Mathews
  18. Oliver Dunne
The best thanks of the Society is extended to outgoing members Ger Murphy, Matt Mooney and Catherine Hickey. The chairman, Stephen MacNeill,   has agree to serve for another year under the new constitution. The other officers were selected by the committee at its first meeting on 5 February.
Copyright © 2015 Offaly Historical & Archaeological Society, All rights reserved.

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