CategoryCounty Offaly

The River Shannon

The River Shannon (Irish: Abha na Sionainne / a tSionainn / a tSionna ) is the longest river in Ireland on 360.5 kilometers (224 miles). [1] It empties the Shannon River Basin has an area of 16,865 km 2 (6,512 ml 2 ), [2] one-fifth of the area of Ireland.

Shannon parts west of Ireland (principally the province of Connacht) from the east and south (Leinster and most of Munster). County Clare, which is west of the Shannon, but part of the province of Munster, is the major exception. The river represents a major physical barrier between East and West, with fewer than thirty-points between Limerick city in the south and the village Dowrai north.

The river is named for Sionna , a Celtic goddess. [3]

Shannon has been an important waterway since antiquity, having been identified by the Greek-Egyptian geographer Ptolemy. The river flows generally south from the Shannon Pot in Cava Before turning west and empties into the Atlantic Ocean, 102.1 kilometers (63.4 miles) long Shannon Estuary. [4] Limerick city stands at the point where river water meets the sea water of mynningen.Shannon is tidal east Limerick as far as the base of the pond Ardnacrusha. [5]


By tradition, Shannon said the rise in the Shannon Pot, a small pool on the slopes of Mountain Cuilcagh in Cavan, where the young river appears as a small trout stream. Research has defined a 12.8 km 2 immediate pot catchment covers the slopes of Cuilcagh. This area includes Garvah Lough, County Cavan, 2.2 km to the northeast, drained of Pollnaowen . [N 1] Further sinks source pot includes Pollboy and through Shannon Cave, Pollahune in Cavan and Poll Customs Yard and Tullynakeeragh in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. The highest point in the catchment is a feather in Tiltinbane on the western end of Cuilcagh mountain ridge. [6]

From Shannon Pot, subsumes the river a number of tributaries before filling Lough Allen in the lead. [7] The river runs through or between 11 of Ireland’s counties, subsuming tributary rivers Boyle, Inny, Suck, Mulkear and Brosna, among others, before reaching the Shannon Estuary at Limerick.

Many different values are given for the length of the Shannon. A traditional value is 390 km (240 mi). [8] An official Irish source gives a total length of 360.5 km (224.0 mi) (= 258.1 km fresh + 102.1 kilometers tides). [4 ] most Irish guides offer now 344 km (214 mi). [9] [10] [11] some academic sources provide 280 km (170 mi), [12] but most will refuse to give a speech. The reason is that there is no particular end to a river that flows into an estuary. The 344 km length refers to the distance between the Shannon Pot and a line between Kerry Head and Loop Head, the furthest reaches of the ground. (It also assumes the delivery road via Ardnacrusha. [13] ) The 280 km distant finish which joins the Shannon estuary mouth of the River Fergus near Shannon Airport. Longer distances occurred prior to the use of modern instruments.

At a total length of 360.5 kilometers (224 miles), it means that it is the longest river in Ireland. [11] The Shannon is the longest river in the wider British Isles was apparently known in the 12th century, although a map of time showed that river that flows into the south of Ireland. [14]

The River Shannon is a traditional freshwater river for about 45% of its total length. Excluding the 63.5 mil tidal estuary from its total length of 224 miles, if one also excludes lakes (L. Derg 24 miles, 18 miles L. Ree, L. Allen 7 miles[15] plus L. Boderg, L. Bofin, L. Forbes, L. Corry) from Shannon freshwater flow of 160.5 miles, Shannon, as a freshwater river, is only about 100 miles long.

There are some tributaries within the Shannon River Basin has been spilling which is longer in length (from source to mouth) than Shannon Pot source such as Owenmore river in Cavan [16] and the Boyle river with its source in Mayo. [17]

In addition to being Ireland’s longest river, Shannon is also superior, Ireland’s largest river flow. It has a long-term average flow rate of 208.1 m 3 / s (at Limerick city). This is double the flow of Ireland’s second largest river, the River Corrib (104.8 m 3 / s). [18] If the emissions of all rivers and streams in the Shannon Estuary (including rivers Feale 34.6 m 3 / s, Maigue 15 6 m 3 / s, Fergus 25.7 m 3 / s, and Deel 7.4 m 3 / s) [19] [20] added to discharge at Limerick, the total discharge of the river Shannon in his mouth on Loop Head reaches 300m 3 / s. In fact, the Shannon a great river by the time it leaves the Lough Ree with an average flow rate (at Athlone weir) of 98m 3 / s, [21] which is larger than any of the other Irish river’s total flow (apart from the river Corrib in Galway).

The Shannon Callows areas of the lowlands along the river, is classified as a special area of conservation.

Settlements along the river (go up the river) include Kilrush, Tarbert, Shannon village and dowra.

History and Folklore

The river began flowing along its present course after the end of the last ice age.

According to Irish mythology, the river was named after a woman named Sionann (older spelling: Sínann or Sínand), grandson of Lir. She went tillConnla Well to find wisdom, although warned not to approach it. In some sources she who Fionn mac Cumhaill, caught and ate salmon of wisdom who swam there, will be the wisest creature on earth. But well then burst, drowning Sionann and carry her out to sea. [22] A similar story is told by Boann and the River Boyne. It is believed that Sionann was the goddess of floden.Patricia Monaghan notes that “the drowning of a goddess in a river is common in Irish mythology and typically represents the dissolution of her divine power in the water, which then gives life to the earth.” [23]

Shannon said to host a river monster named Cata, first appears in the medieval book Lismore. In this manuscript, we hear that the tendon, the patron saint of County Clare, defeated the monster on Inis Cathaigh. [24] Cata described as a huge monster with a horse’s mane, shining eyes, thick feet, nails, iron and a whale tail. [25 ]

Vikings settled in the region in the 10th century and used the river to raid the rich monasteries deep inland. In 937 Limerick Vikings clashed with Dublin on Lough Ree and were defeated.

In the 17th century, Shannon was of great strategic importance for military operations in Ireland, because it formed a natural boundary between the east and west of the country. The Irish League of Wars of 1641-1653, the Irish retreated behind the Shannon in 1650, and held out for another two years against the English Parliamentarian forces. In the production of a rural population, or planting after his conquest of Ireland Oliver Cromwell is said said the remaining Irish landowners would go to “Hell or Connaught”, referring to their choice of forced migration to the west of the River Shannon, or death, thus freeing the eastern holdings for incoming English settlers.

In Williamite war in Ireland (1689-1691), the Jacobites also pulled behind Shannon after their defeat at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Athlone and Limerick, cities commanding bridges over the river, saw bloody sieges. (See sieges of Limerick and the Siege of Athlone).

As late as 1916, the leaders of the Easter Rising planned to have their forces in the West “hold the line in Shannon.” But in case the rebels were not well enough armed or equipped to attempt such an ambitious policy.

Shannon river is closely related to Ireland, social, cultural, military, economic and political history.


Although Shannon has always been important for navigation in Ireland, there is a reduction of only 18 m (60 ft) in the first 250 km (140 miles).Consequently, it has always been shallow with 0.5m (2 feet) deep at various locations. The first serious attempt to improve things came in 1755 when the Commissioners of Inland Navigation ordered Thomas Omer, a new, possibly Dutch immigrants from England, to begin the work. [26] He treated the four sites between Lough Derg and Lough Ree where natural navigation was prevented by installing side channels and either pound lock or flash locks. He then proceeded north of Lough Ree and made a number of similar improvements, mainly by creating the first Jamestown Canal that cuts out a loop of the River between Jamestown and Drumsna and side channels in Roosky and Lanesborough.

The lower Shannon between Kill and Limerick was a different story. Here the river falls 30 m (100 ft) at just 20 km (12 mi). William Ockenden, also from England, was placed in charge of this in 1757 and spent £ 12,000 during the next four years without fully completing the task. 1771 parliament handed responsibility to Limerick Navigation Company with a contribution of £ 6,000 to add to their subscriptions of £ 10,000. A lateral channel five miles long with six locks began but the company needed more to complete it. In 1791, William Chapman was sent in to provide advice and discovered a sorry state. All locks were built to different dimensions and he spent the next three years to rebuild most of them. Navigation finally opened in 1799, when over 1,000 tons of corn came down to Limerick, as well as shale and peat. But even then, there were no tow vägari river sections and there were still schools during the summer months, no port facilities at Limerick and boats limited to 15-20 tons of cargo, often less.

With the approaching opening of the Grand Canal, the Grand Canal Company received permission from the directors-general and asked John Brownrigg to do a survey that found that a large part of Omer work had deteriorated badly, so they started repairs. After protracted negotiations on the costs and conditions, it was the work of 1810, so that the boats pull 5’9 “could pass from Athlone to Kill. Improvements at the lower levels were also made, which ends with in 1814.

When Djurgarden ended in 1817, there was pressure to improve navigation of Lough Ree. The Jamestown canal was repaired, ports are being built and John Killaly designed a canal at the side of the river from Battle to Lough Allen opened 1820th

In the late 1820s, increased trade dramatically with the arrival of the paddle-wheel steamers on the river through passengers and cargo. By 1831 14.600 passengers and 36,000 tons of cargo transported. This put new pressure on navigation and a commission was set up, resulting in the Shannon Navigation Act of 1835 concerning the appointment of five commissioners to improve navigation and drainage that took possession of the entire navigation. During the next 15 years, many improvements have been made, but in 1849 a railway was opened from Dublin to Limerick and the number of passengers declined drastically. Freightliner, which had risen to over 100,000 tons per year, has also been halved.

But the work of the Commission carried out failed to solve the problems of flooding and there was disastrous flooding in the early 1860s. Given the flat nature of most of the river bank, this was not easily addressed and nothing much was done until the twentieth century.

One of the first projects in the Irish Free State in the 1920s was the Shannon hydroelectric scheme established Ardnacrusha power station on the lower Shannon above Limerick. The old Guy Limerick canal with five locks were constructed and the head race of Lough Derg are also served for navigation.A double lock was released at the dam.

In the 1950s, began to fall traffic and low fixed bridges would have replaced opening bridges, but for the actions of inland waterways Association of Ireland who persuaded Tánaiste to encourage passenger launches, held bridges high enough for navigation. Since that time trade has increased steadily, to become a great success.


There are also many canals that connects with the River Shannon. The Royal Canal and Canal connects Shannon to Dublin and the Irish Sea. It is linked to the river Erne ochLough Erne Shannon-Erne waterway. Ballinasloe is connected to Shannon via the River Suck and the canal, while Boyle is connected via Boyle canal, river Boyle and Lough Key .There is also the Ardnacrusha channel connected to Ardnacrusha dam south of Lough Derg.Near Limerick, a short channel connecting Plassey with the Abbey River, allowing ships to bypass Curraghower Falls, a major obstacle to navigation.Lecarrow village in County Roscommon is connected to Lough Ree through Lecarrow channel. Jamestown Canal and Albert Lock forms a link between the Shannon River, from south of Jamestown, Lough Nanoge south of Drumsna.


Despite the 360.5 km (224.0 mi) long, rising only 76 m (256 ft) above sea level, so the river is easily navigable, with only a few locks along its length.There are envattenvärmeanläggning at Ardnacrusha belongs to ESB.

Shipping in Shannon estuary has developed a lot in the 1980s, with over IR £ 2 billion (€ 2.5 billion) investment. A tanker terminal at Foynes and an oil jetty vidShannon Airport was built. In 1982, a large-scale aluminum recovery plant was built at Aughinish. 60,000 tons of cargo ships carrying crude now bauxite from West African mines to the plant, where it is refined into alumina. This is then exported to Canada where it is further refined to aluminum. 1985 inaugurated a 915 MW coal-fired electricity plant in Money Point, fed by regular visits by 150,000 tonne bulk carriers.

Shannon eel management software

A trap and transport system in force Shannon as part of an eel management software following the discovery of a reduction in the eel population. This system ensures safe passage for young eels from Lough Derg and the Shannon Estuary. [27] [28]


Although Shannon estuary fishing industry is now over, at one time employed hundreds of men along its length. At Limerick, fishermen based on Clancy Strand used Gandelowatt catch salmon. [29] In the 1920s, the construction of a dam at Ardnacrusha seriously affected the salmon farming and that, and the introduction of quotas, had in the 1950s caused the salmon to an end. [30] but go recreational fishing is still on. Further down the Shannon estuary at Kilrush the Currach used to catch herring and operating networks for salmon.

See also

  • Shannon River Basin
  • Shannon Airport
  • Shannon Town
  • Cromwellian conquest of Ireland
  • Shannon Callows
  • Rivers of Ireland
  • List of Loughs in Ireland


  1. Jump up ^ Note Poll NM1: hole, pit, sink, leak, aperture ( Pocket Oxford Dictionary Irish – Irish-English )


  1. Jump up ^ “Primary Seniors – Mountains, rivers and lakes.” Ordnance Survey Ireland. Retrieved May 28, 2014.
  2. Jump up ^ Biology and Management of European eel (Anguilla anguilla, L.) in the Shannon Estuary, Ireland [1]
  3. Jump up ^ Micheal O Súilleabháin. “Listen to the difference: Ireland in the world of music.” In Harry Bohan and Gerard Kennedy. Global ambitions and the reality of change.
  4. ^ Jump up to: ab “Facts”. Ordnance Survey Ireland. Pulled 09/09/2014.
  5. Jump up ^ “go through Ardnacrusha” (PDF). Inland News. Iwai (Summer 2001 – Volume 28, Number 2).
  6. Jump up ^ Philip Elmer et al. Springs and bottled water in the worldSpringer ISBN 3-540-61841-4
  7. Jump up ^ Shannon Guide
  8. Jump up ^ Shannon. Encyclopedia Britannica. In 1911.
  9. Jump up ^ Delaney, Ruth (1996). Shell Guide to the River Shannon.
  10. Jump up ^ “Cruising on the Shannon.” Fodor.
  11. ^ Jump up to: ab “Nature, Landscapes”. Discovering Ireland. Archived from the original on 20/05/2013.
  12. Jump up ^ “Source of the River Shannon, Ireland.” Environmental Geology. Springer. 27 (2): 110-112. January 31, 2005. doi: 10.1007 / BF01061681.
  13. Jump up ^ which takes 7 km outside the distance
  14. Jump up ^ Studia Hibernica. No.4 . 1964 (Subscription required (help)).Missing or empty (help) | title =
  15. Jump up ^ Question of Ireland
  16. Jump up ^ PW Joyce (1900). “Cavan”. Atlas and Cyclopedia Ireland.Murphy & McCarthy.
  17. Jump up ^ Notes on watersheds Page 64
  18. Jump up ^ South Eastern River Basin Management: Page 38
  19. Jump up ^ Long-term effects of hydropower plants and associated river regulation on the River Shannon eel: mitigation and management [2]
  20. Jump up ^ SFPC maintenance dredging Application: Table 3-7
  21. Jump up ^ Shannon Catchment-based Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Study P. 6 [3]
  22. Jump up ^ Monaghan, Patricia. The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore . Infobase Publishing, 2004, p.420
  23. Jump up ^ Monaghan, p.27
  24. Jump up ^ A Folklore Survey of County Clare Supernatural Retrieved on 23/07/2013.
  25. Jump up ^ Cata Monster Shannon Waves: A true story of Shane Mac Olon
  26. Jump up ^ Ruth Delaney (2004). Ireland inland waterway. Apple Press.
  27. Jump up ^
  28. Jump up ^
  29. Jump up ^ McInerney, Jim (2005) “The Gandelow: a Shannon Estuary fishing boat” AK Ilen Company Ltd., ISBN 0-9547915-1-7
  30. Jump up ^ Clare traditional boat and Currach Project 2008

Birr Castle

Birr Castle (Irish: Caislean Bhiorra ) [1] is a large castle in the town of Birr in County Offaly, Ireland. It is the home of the seventh Earl of Rosse, and as such residential areas of the castle is not open to the public, [2] although the grounds and gardens of the royal estate is available to the public.

Ireland’s Historic Science Center

The castle grounds are also home to Ireland’s historic Science Center , a museum of Ireland’s historical researchers and their contributions to astronomy and botany. [3]


See also: Earl of Rosse

There has been a castle on the site since 1170, and from the 14th to the 17th century O’Carroll family ruled from here over an area called “Ely O’Carroll.” [4]

After the death of Sir Charles O’Carroll, Sir Laurence Parsons (died 1628) was granted Birr Castle and 1,277 acres (5.2 km 2 ) of land in 1620. [5] [6] Parsons dedicated English masons in the construction of a new castle on location.This construction was taking place, not in place of O’Carroll Black Tower (then disappeared) but at Gatehouse. “Flankers” was added to the gatehouse wrong on both sides, giving the castle plan retains today. [5]

After the death of Sir Laurence Parsons and his older son, Richard Castle passed to his younger son William. [7] During the Irish uprising in 1641 William besieged in Birr for fifteen months by Catholic forces. After the Civil War, William son of Laurence (baronet from 1677) restored the castle.

A later descendant, Laurence Parsons, 2nd Earl of Rosse, also engaged in some rebuilding and elevated and “Gothicised” castle in the early 19th century. In turn, his son, William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse, was responsible for the construction of the large telescope at Birr. When complete in 1845, it was the largest telescope on Earth, which can capture more light and look further into space than any telescope had done before. Birr therefore became a focus for astronomical observations, and visitors came to visit the observatory from around the world – including Charles Babbage and Napoléon Eugène, Prince Imperial. [5]

When the 3rd Earl died, his sons carried on the scientific tradition, and the 4th Earl (Lawrence Parsons, 4th Earl of Rosse) is known to measure the heat of the moon. After his death in 1908, but fell into disrepair telescope; the mirror was taken to the Science Museum in London, and around 1914 the telescope’s metallic support structure were melted down to be used in the First World War. 1925 wooden structures around the walls torn down for safety reasons. After several attempts intermediate restoration, was the telescope restored more fully in the late 1990s. [8]

“The big telescope” and other functions

See also: Leviathan of Parsonstown

An important function because of the castle is “the big telescope” orLeviathan (aka The Rosse telescope ) of the third Earl of Rosse, an astronomical telescope with a 183 cm (72 inch) reflector. It was completed in 1845 and used for decades before the last observations were made during the first years of the 20th century. Its record size not surpassed until the completion of the 100-inch (2.5-meter) Hooker telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory in 1917. It was demolished in 1914, but the structure was restored and reconstructed telescope in the 1990s and is open to the public.

Laurence Parsons, 4th Earl of Rosse and his mother was a prominent photographers and her darkroom, which is also on show, are believed to be the oldest surviving example in the world.

The grounds of the palace contains the oldest wrought iron bridge in Ireland, dating from the 1820th [9]

The walled gardens in the grounds of the boxwood hedges that are over 300 years old. They are also, according to The Guinness Book of Records , the tallest hedge in the world. [10]

The Irish entry to the 2014 European Tree of the Year contest was Birr Castle Grey Poplar (poplus x canescens). Unfortunately, February 12, 2014 while voting was still open, it was blown down in a storm.


  1. Jump up ^
  2. Jump up ^ The Birr scientific and Heritage Foundation. “Birr Castle” Archived from the original September 21, 2008.
  3. Jump up ^ The Birr scientific and Heritage Foundation. “Ireland’s Historic Science Center”. Archived from the original September 18, 2008.
  4. Jump up ^ The Birr scientific and Heritage Foundation. “Birr Castle Grounds”. Archived from the original January 21, 2008.
  5. ^ Jump up to: abc The Birr scientific and Heritage Foundation. “Birr Castle, Co. Offaly. “. Archived from the original August 7, 2008.
  6. Jump up ^ Lundy in 2011, citing i15200: Mosley 2003, p. 1327
  7. Jump up ^ The Birr scientific and Heritage Foundation. “Birr Castle Demesne, discovery: genealogy”. Retrieved March 2012. Check date values in: (help) | Access-date =
  8. Jump up ^ Detail of telescopic Reconstruction
  9. Jump up ^ The Rough Guide to Ireland, 9th Edition; p 219 ISBN 978-1-85828-056-1
  10. Jump up ^ The Box Hedge


  • Lundy, Darryl (27 August 2011). “Sir Laurence Parsons”.
  • Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke’s Peerage, Barone & Knightage (3 volumes). 1 (107th ed.). Wilmington, Delaware, USA: Burke’s Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd. p. 1327th

County Offaly

Offaly (Irish: Contae Uibh Fhaili ) is a municipality in Ireland. It is part of the Midlands Region and is also located in the province of Leinster. It is named after the ancient Kingdom UI Failghe and was formerly known as King’s County . Offaly County Council is the local authority for the county. The population of the county is 76,687 according to the census of 2011.

Geography and political subdivisions

Offaly is the 18th largest of Ireland’s 32 counties by area and the 24th largest in terms of population. [2] It is the fifth largest of Leinster’s 12 counties by size and the 10th largest by population. It is the largest county by area and the second largest population in the Midlands.

Towns and Villages

  • Physical geografiBallinagar
  • Ballyboy
  • Ballycumber
  • Banagher
  • Belmont
  • Birr
  • Cadamstown
  • Clara
  • Clareen
  • Cloghan
  • Clonygowan
  • Clonbullogue
  • Clonmacnoise
  • cool Derry
  • Crinkill
  • Croghan
  • Daingean
  • Dunkerrin
  • Edenderry
  • Ferbane
  • Geashill
  • High Street [9]
  • Horseleap
  • kilcormac
  • Killeigh
  • Killoughey
  • Kinnitty
  • Moneygall
  • Mountbolus
  • Mucklagh
  • Portarlington
  • Rahan
  • Rath
  • Rhode
  • Shannon
  • Shannon Harbour
  • Shin Rone
  • Tullamore
  • Tubber
  • Walsh Island

Tullamore is the county seat and largest city of Offaly and is the 30th largest in Ireland. Offaly borders seven counties: Galway, Roscommon, Tipperary, Laois, Westmeath, Kildare and Meath. The Slieve Bloom Mountains are in the southern part of the county on the border of County Laois. Offaly has 24 highest county peak in Ireland. The highest point is Arderin (Irish: Ard Éireann ) in the Slieve Blooms at 527 meters (1,729 feet). Slieve Bloom Mountains contains the county’s highest points, including Stillwater Brook Hill and Wolf Trap mountain which is the county’s second and third highest peaks. Croghan Hill rises from the Bog of Allen and is located in the north Offaly. Although only 234 meters high, it is known for its views of the surrounding area and it stands out by itself.

Floodplain of the River Shannon is in the northwestern part of the county.The river runs through the city Camcor Birr and is a Wild Trout Conservation Area. The Brosna River runs across the county from Lough Owel Westmeath to Shannon Harbour. Silver River runs through several towns in the southern part of the county before he Brosna around Ferbane. The Grand Canal also runs across the county from Edenderry on the northeastern Shannon Harbour before joining påShannon. The county contains many small lakes from Lake Boora Pallas lake and it also includes 42 hectares of swamps.There are a number of ridges in the counties of the province, including Esker Riada.

Offaly consists mostly flat landscape and is known for its extensive peat bog and peat lands. There are many large bogs in Offaly including the Bog of Allen, Clara bog, bog and Raheenmore Boora Bog that are scattered throughout the county with the Bog of Allen extends into four other counties. The county consists of approximately 42,000 hectares of peatlands, which is 21% of Offaly’s total land area.

Offaly contains approximately 9,000 hectares (22,000 acres) of forest and woodland, which amounts to only 4.5% of the county’s land area. This includes forests in the Slieve Blooms and Lough Boora Parklands.Approximately 75% of Offaly’s forest area is high Conifer forest.


Baronies of Offaly

The following are the historic baronies located in County Offaly:

  • Ballyboy
  • Ballybrit
  • Ballycowen
  • Clonlisk
  • Coolestown
  • Eglish
  • Garry Castle
  • Geashill
  • Kilcoursey
  • lower Philipstown
  • upper Philipstown
  • Warren Town


One of the earliest known settlements in Offaly are Boora bog dating back to the Mesolithic era. Excavations have provided evidence of a temporary settlement since no structures were found at the site. Stone axes, arrowheads and blades were discovered which date between 6800 -. 6000 BC[10]

The Dowris stores dating from the late Bronze Age was found in a bog at Dowris, Whigsborough near Birr. It is the largest collection of Bronze Age objects ever found in Ireland. [11] It contains more than 200 articles of which about 190 are preserved, 111 in the National Museum of Ireland and 79 in the British Museum. [12] Forty four spearheads were found, forty-three shoulders, twenty-four and forty-four trumpets crotals (a type of watch or clock instruments, unique to Ireland). A bronze bucket was also found, it was constructed of sheet bronze riveted together, this point is considered an imported item, two other buckets also found and these are believed to be native of copies. [12]

After the Christianisation, the monastery complex was erected Clonmacnoise at the River Shannon near Shannon Bridge. There is today an important tourist destination.

The county itself was formed after the Tudor plantations of Laois and Offaly in an attempt by the English crown to expand its influence in Ireland that had fallen due to the Norman conquest of Ireland. Both Laois (Leix) and Offaly (UI Failghe) was a petty kingdom in Gaelic Ireland is just outside Pale (an area around Dublin and the middle east of Ireland, which remained loyal to the English crown after the Norman Conquest). The older kingdoms Leix and UI Failghe not coincide with today’s county was formed. The Kingdom of Uí Failghe where the name Offaly descended, ruled by Ó Conchobhair Failghe (Anglicized as: O’Conor Faly) whose territory stretched from the eastern part of the county in north Kildare. Kingdom Firceall controlled byO’Molloy clan constitute a large part of the center of the county. Kingdom Firceall was part of the kingdom of Meath, while Uí Failghe was part of the kingdom of Leinster. A large part of the southern part of today’s counties (as well as North Tipperary) ruled by Ó Cearbhaill of Eile (Anglicized as: Ely O’Carroll). Ely was part of the Kingdom of Munster. These petty kingdom were swept away by the Tudor plantations. In 1556, an Act of Parliament Ireland created the “Kings County”, named after Philip, the then King of Ireland. [13] It replaced the old kingdoms of baronies and present County System. Despite the county’s name is maintained as Offaly by the Local Government Act 2001, no legislation ever adopted after independence explicitly to change the name of Kings County, formally named the 1898 Local Government Act, which continued to have legal effect.

Science: George Johnstone Stoney from Birr introduced the concept ofelectron 1891st

Local governments and politics

Offaly County Council is the local authority for the county. The Council is responsible for local services such as housing, social and cultural services, economic development and planning, taxation motor and infrastructure policy in the county.

After the implementation of the Municipal Reform Act 2014, the number of Council back was reduced to 19 from 21 councilors. [14] The reforms also reduced the number of electoral areas 3 which is Tullamore (7 members), Birr (6 members) and Edenderry (6 members). Before the reforms were 4 choices fields in Tullamore (7 members), Ferbane (4 members), Edenderry (6 members) and Birr (4 members). The Council also elected to the City Council in Birr, Tullamore and Edenderry abolished.

Until 2011 general election Offaly was part of the Laois-Offaly constituency that elected five TDs to the Dáil. Between 1921 and 2011, this consisted of the entire territory of both counties. For the 2011 general election certain electoral divisions in South Offaly where part of North Tipperary.

The Electoral (Amendment) (Dáil constituencies) Act 2013 established a new constituency called Offaly for the 2016 general election. [15] The new constituency will incorporate all existing Offaly Laois-Offaly constituency, and twenty-four electoral divisions from Tipperary North . This new constituency will select three TDs to the Dáil.


Population 2006 figure for Offaly is the highest for the county since 1881. [16]The Central Bureau of Statistics estimates that the population increase between 2002 and 2006 (7205) consisted of a natural increase of 2,026 people with the balance of 5179 accounted for by net migration from within Ireland and abroad . The population increased by 11.3% between 2002 and 2006, which was a higher rate than the national average of 8.2%. This can be attributed to the county’s proximity to the Greater Dublin Area, increased accessibility to Dublin (M6, M7 and improved rail services) and lower house prices than in Dublin. [16]

The population of many cities increased during the period 1996-2006: + 21.5% Birr, Tullamore + 28.8% and Edenderry + 53.9%. The population of Port increased by 50.1% between 2002 2006e. [16]

The population as of the 2011 census is 76.687 people with 35.7% (27.378 people) under the age of 25 and 11.6% (8909 people) over 65 years [1]

Tourist attractions

  • Birr. In the southern part of the county is best known for its castle and gardens of Birr Castle is owned by the Parsons family (the family bears the title “Earl of Rosse), and is best known for its 19th-century telescope, the Leviathan of Parsonstown .
  • Georgian Birr
  • Sculpture in the park areas around Lough Boora in Boora Bog.
  • Charleville Castle is located in Tullamore
  • Ancient Christian monastery site of Clonmacnoise with old examples of Irish High Cross as the “Cross of the Scriptures”, the round tower and visitor center.
  • Kinnitty Castle
  • Slieve Bloom Mountains with panoramic views of County Offaly and Laois
  • Banagher and Shannon River cruises along the river.
  • The Boora bog reserve is a haven for wildlife and in particular contain the last Irish population in the partridge.
  • Durrow Abbey and Highcross
  • Tullamore Dew Visitor Centre
  • Birr Theatre and Arts Centre
  • Clara Bog Nature Reserve
  • Leap Castle
  • Old churches Rahan and Lynally
  • Croghan Hill, a 230 m high hill where an old mummy discovered. It is known that the Croghan Bog Man. It is now found in the National History Museum.
  • Moneygall is the ancestral home of the President of the United States, Barack Obama. Located in the village, is a visitor center and gas station called Obama Plaza. [17]


Gaelic games are popular in the county. Offaly GAA consists of about 44 clubs playing Gaelic football and hurling in communities throughout the county. Birr is generally considered a hurling stronghold of Birr GAA winning four All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championships. County teams also had national success in both hurling and football, winning the Liam MacCarthy Cup four times and the Sam Maguire Cup three times. The football team is perhaps best known for Seamus Darby goal in the dying minutes of the 1982 football final as Offaly took the title by one point denying Kerry a historic five All-Ireland titles in a row. Traditionally, West Offaly hurling stronghold been with clubs like Birr, Cool Derry, and kilcormac / Killoughey enjoying success in the Leinster and All-Ireland Championships

Known from Offaly hurlers include:

  • Brian Whelahan, Birr
  • The Dooley Brothers,
  • Brian Carroll, Cool Derry
  • Rory Hanniffy, Birr
  • Shane Dooley, Tullamore
  • Michael Duignan, Banagher

Famous Footballers from Offaly include:

  • Matthew Conor Walsh Island
  • Richie Conor Walsh Island
  • Ciarán McManus, Tubber
  • Niall McNamee, Rhode
  • Martin Furlong, Tullamore
  • Seamus Darby, Rhode
  • Mick Brady, Edenderry
  • Finbarr Cullen, Edenderry

Other popular sports in the county include rugby and association football where Tullamore Town FC is a championship.

There are many golf courses located in the county. Esker Hills is one of the most popular. Irish golfer Shane Lowry is a member here. He is from the city Ferbane outside Tullamore. As an amateur, he won the Irish Open in 2009.


Traditionally, agriculture and industry has been the main driving force in the economy of the county. Offaly has extensive swamps, especially in the northern parts of the county, which is part of the Bog of Allen .Bord na Mona was founded in 1946 and employed hundreds of people in Offaly by peat briquettes (for domestic household use) and delivers peat power stations operated by ESB. Peat briquettes are currently made at Bord na Mona factory in Derrinlough near Birr. Power plants are working at Shannonbridge and Edenderry. With the continued impoverishment of the marshes a number of power stations have been closed in recent years. ESB power station at Lumcloon, Ferbane was a major employer in the Midlands but closed in 2001. Rhode power station was shut down shortly after. These were important landmarks in Offaly with large cooling towers that were visible for miles around Offaly and outside, but was demolished shortly after the stations closed. Many marshes now used as a nature reserve or for tourism Lough Boora.

The opening of the Grand Canal in the 18th century brought prosperity to cities like Banagher and Tullamore. Both cities were important stop on the Dublin to Limerick navigation that supported a number of industries and brought cheap and efficient water transport to the county at the time.

The Celtic Tiger also brought an increase in economic activity for Offaly with business and industrial parks to open in Birr, Edenderry and Tullamore.Many people especially in the eastern part of the county is within easy commuting distance to Dublin where many find work.



Offaly is well served by rail. Railway stations are at Tullamore and Clara.Both stations are on the main Dublin-Westport / Galway railway line with regular trains serving the area especially for Dublin commuters. Port railway station is just across the County Laois border and is in a catchment area of southeastern county. Port railway ~~ POS = TRUNC station ~~ POS = HEAD COMP is the main Dublin Cork Railway with regular commuter to Heuston Station, Dublin and regular service to Cork, Limerick, Killarney and Tralee.

The Limerick Ballybrophy railroad traveling through the southern part of the county but there are no stations on the line in County Offaly. The nearest stations are located at Cloughjordan and Roscrea both just outside the county line. A train from Birr connected to the line at Roscrea until it was closed in the 1960s. A railway line connected even Birr to Portumna.


Three main national secondary roads passing through the county. The N52 road passes from Kilbeggan to Tullamore and Birr which then continues to Nenagh where it intersects with the M7. The N62 from Athlone passes through Ferbaneoch Birr and continues in Roscrea and Thurles. The N80 route starts in Tullamore and continues to the southeast passing Portlaoise and Carlow. There are no major national primary roads in the county, however, M6 skirts county in north ochM7 bypasses the county to the south through Moneygall. Road infrastructure has improved with the completion of Tullamore bypass in 2009 and improved access to regional cities after the completion of the motorway network lines.


Bus Éireann provide public transport services throughout the county with regular bus service to Limerick and Waterford Athlone bus station. Other private bus services provide direct bus services from Birr to Dublin Kearns bus that runs several services daily. Slieve Bloom buses run services from Tullamore and Portarlington Dublin.


The Grand Canal which connects Dublin to the River Shannon was built through the towns of Edenderry and Tullamore and joins the Shannon at Shannon Harbour. Traditionally, an important route for transportation, communication and trade between Dublin, Limerick and the Midlands of Ireland. The route fell into decline as road transport became more popular. A large part of the road is now used for boating and recreational activities.



Midlands 103 (originally Midlands Radio 3) which sends Laois, Offaly and Westmeath are based in Tullamore and has studios across the Midlands.RTÉ’s medium wave transmitter broadcasting RTÉ Radio 1 was also located in Tullamore, but the transfer ceased in 2008.


A number of local newspapers published in Offaly. The Offaly Independent and Tullamore Tribune is based in Tullamore. Midland Tribune based in Birr includes local news in the west and south of the county and parts of North Tipperary, including the cities of Birr, Roscrea and Nenagh and surrounding areas. The Offaly Express was a former newspaper based in Tullamore. It was closed in July 2012 after 29 years in operation.


  • George Brent, Hollywood actors
  • Ged Corcoran, rugby league player, former Halifax RLFC of Super League and currently plays for Toulouse Olympique
  • Brian Cowen, the former prime minister, was born in Clara January 10, 1960 and now lives in the outskirts of Tullamore
  • Neil Delamere, comedian
  • Barry Glendenning, journalist
  • Rex Ingram, Hollywood silent film director, born in Dublin but lived in Kinnitty
  • John Joly, researcher, born in 1857 Bracknagh
  • Shane Lowry, golfers
  • Mundy, musicians
  • William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse, astronomer
  • George Johnstone Stoney (1826 – 1911) Physicists. Born, Oakley Park, Clareen.
  • Bindon Blood Stoney (1828 – 1909) Engineer and inventor. Born, Oakley Park, Clareen.

See also

  • List of abbeys and priories in Ireland (County Offaly)
  • Lord Lieutenant of Kings County
  • High Sheriff of King County


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  2. Jump up ^ Corry, Eoghan (2005). The GAA Book of Lists. Hodder Headline Ireland. pp. 186-191. ISBN 0-340-89695-7.
  3. Jump up ^ For the 1653 and 1659 figures from the Civil Survey Census of those years, the paper Mr. Hardinge Royal Irish Academy March 14, 1865.
  4. Jump up ^ Census of post 1821 figures.
  5. Jump up ^ “Home.” Histpop.Org. 1 July, 2004. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
  6. Jump up ^ NISRA. “Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency – Census website.” Retrieved 14 February 2011.
  7. Jump up ^ Lee, JJ (1981). “On the accuracy of pre-famine Irish censuses”. In the Gold Strom, JM; Clarkson, LA Irish population, economy and society: Essays in Honour of the late KH Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
  8. Jump up ^ Mokyr, Joel, O Grada, Cormac (November 1984). “New Developments in the Irish population history, 1700-1850”. The Economic History Review. 37 (4) :. 473-488 doi: 10.1111 / j.1468 -0289.1984.tb00344.x.
  9. Jump up ^
  10. Jump up ^ “Activities in Offaly: The Bogland – Na Portaigh (section)”.Offaly Historical & Archaeological Society. In 2009. Retrieved June 2, 2009.
  11. Jump up ^
  12. ^ Jump up to: ab
  13. Jump up ^ 3 and 4 Phil & Mar, C.2 (1556)
  14. Jump ,
  15. Jump up ^ “Electoral (Amendment) (Dáil constituencies) Act 2013: Schedule”. Irish Statute Book database. Retrieved April 7, 2013.
  16. ^ Jump up to: abc “demography” (PDF). Offaly County Council Development Plan 2009-2015 is taken. 28 June 2008.
  17. Jump up ^ “Moneygall – Welcome to Obama Plaza”.

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