The Secrets of Offaly

Three Villages Three Secrets....

Secrets of Offaly


In October 2014 Offaly County Council went looking for the hidden stories of Offaly. We asked community groups, schools, drama societies and Tidy Towns groups to submit their villages biggest secret. We had a great response but could only choose three villages. The community groups in the villages that were chosen worked closely with their chosen professional artists to uncover their story. The three chosen villages were Clonbullogue, Kinnitty and Clara. Their stories and projects are listed below.

Each of the secrets had their very own launch but they will assemble together on Thursday 4th - 28th February 2016 for an exhibition in Aras an Chontae, Tullamore. (Press release here- launch 4th Feb @ 7pm in Aras an Chontae)



John Joly

An Artists Response to the Offaly Scientist John Joly by Amanda Rice

Visual artist Amanda Rice was selected by Clonbullogue to uncover John Joly. An artist in residence at Trinity College Dublin, Amanda engaged with artefacts and objects bequeathed to the college by the Offaly Scientist and geologist John Joly (1857-1933). Joly is famous for his development of radiotherapy in the treatment of cancer and also known for developing techniques to accurately estimate the age of a geological period. Amanda created a visual artwork entitled " Notes on the (Microscopical) Charachter of Krakatoa" an interactive installation comprising of a research presentation, sound, video and scuplture. The artwork allows the viewer to peer into a geometric sculptural object and see video images of Joly's artefacts and hear a spoken excerpt from one of John Joly's research papers on Krakatoa. For more information please visit


 Rex Ingram Silent Journeys

Silent Journeys by Ciaran Taylor

Did you know that one of the worlds most famous silent movie directors lived in Kinnitty as a boy? The Secrets of Offaly project reveals his story in a great way. On one amazing day in August 2015 the people of Kinnitty recreated scenes on location from the life and films of Rex Ingram, the Hollywood silent movie director from the village. The project was the creation of Ciaran Taylor who worked with the community of Kinnitty in partnership with Kinnitty Tidy Towns. Months of drama classes, rehearsals and hard work ensured a successful show on the day. The reenactment was photographed as tableauxs and filmed to produce a short documentary "Silent Journeys".

The documentary can be viewed on the OffalyArts Youtube Channel click this link to see it..


 Secrets of Offaly Meeting House poster

Meeting House by Tom Lane, Maeve Stone and Rory Grubb

Composer Tom Lane, Director Maeve Stone and Composter/Artist Rory Grubb worked closely with the Clara Musical Society to reveal the Offaly secret of the industrial tycoons of Clara, the Goodbody Family. The artists created a sound installtion with an accompanying live performance by Clara Musical Society. Clara Musical Society aquired a 99 year lease to The Friends Meeting House Building from the Goodbody Family Trustees in 1989 for just one pound.

The artists concentrated on the history of the Goodbody Jute manufacturing industry in Clara and used Jute throughout their installation. Jute was strung through the building, tuned and used as a sound generating material. By focussing on a material that is deeply connected to the history of the building and the local area, and integrating this into the structure and shape of the Meeting House, they turned the house into a musical instrument.
The live performances took place on Friday 27th of November at 7 pm and Saturday 28th of November at 6 pm and 8 pm. 


Secrets in Offaly Exhibition

John Joly Project

Silent Journeys Screening Kinnitty Screening

Silent Journeys Screening at OFFLine

Silent Journeys

Meeting House