News and Events

Offaly County Council –  Offaly Heritage Plan Key Actions for 2017 – 2021

This is the fourth Heritage Plan for county Offaly which guides the work of the Offaly Heritage Forum and Heritage Office.  This plan has been adopted at the March 2017 meeting of Offaly County Council.

Eight Action Areas for 2017 -2021 

  1. Offaly County Council Heritage related projects such as 1916/2016 Centenary Commemorations and the follow on programme Creative Ireland; management of key county sites such as Durrow and Clonmacnoise, public realm plans and ongoing projects as they arise.
  2. Partnering with local communities and societies working on heritage projects, ranging from the Tidy Towns network to Historical Societies.
  3. Heritage and Tourism – making sites accessible and improving signage and information including inputs to www.visitoffaly.ie
  4. Developing a County Archive Service in partnership with Offaly History, the Library Service and private owners. 
  5. Medieval churches/Monastic Site conservation of the structures, management plans and access (these sites are predominantly in Offaly County Council ownership) 
  6. Publications – commissioning of and assisting with publications, specifically Offaly Castles and demesne landscapes which are currently in preparation. 
  7. Biodiversity - promotion of the All Ireland Pollinator Plan, submitting records to the National Biodiversity Data Centre and control of invasive species with particular focus on Japanese and Himalayan knotweed and Himalayan Balsam.  
  8. Access to heritage - coordinating and management of events such as Heritage Week, Offaly Naturalists’ Field Club, Annual Offaly Heritage Seminar and awareness of Offaly’s heritage through all appropriate means.

Role of the Offaly Heritage Forum - The forum is made up of Council, community, NGO and state agency representatives that meet quarterly. Members have given huge commitment to the forum and in delivering heritage projects. The forum has had a key role in providing members with an opportunity to discuss what their group or agency are working on, their restraints and opportunities and it has done much to assist with interagency working relations. This forum is brought together and co-ordinated by the Heritage Office. Joint community/agency projects have proven to be an efficient and cost effective way to work. 

Creative Ireland  - Culture and Creativity in Offaly

Creative Ireland is the Government's Legacy Programme for Ireland 2016 - a multi annual initiative from 2017-22 which places creativity at the centre of public policy. The aim is to bring an enhanced level of coordination, focus and leadership to existing policies and initiatives across all sectors.   The Offaly Culture and Creativity Plan for 2018-22 was adopted at the December 2017 meeting of Offaly County Council. For more information on the National Programme see https://www.creativeireland.gov.ie/en

The 2019 Creative Ireland Community Call for projects is now out with a deadline of noon on Friday 26 April 2019.  This is the third year of this programme where the focus is on exploring aspects of Offaly’s heritage through a wide range of art forms.  If you have an idea for this scheme, please do feel free to contact the office and discuss how it might work. In some cases, communities may have ideas but not have a link with an artist and we may be able to provide a contact for artists – or visa versa.

 Some of the projects that received funding last year were

  • Vintage Luminaries –  A series of projections onto key buildings in Birr during Vintage Week exploring their site specific history.
  • Poet Egan in Geashill -  Poet John Cummins worked with the school to develop poems inspired by Poet Egan from the Meelaghans which were then published in a broadsheet. A verse of Poet Egan’s poem about Geashill was carved in limestone in the Green by stonemason Ciaran Byrne which was then set into the pavement in the Green. Poet Egan’s poems were collated for reprinting. See Geashill Tidy Town’s facebook page for videos.
  • The Joey Telescope – Birr Stage Guild’s production of the play written by Michael Donegan focusing on the history and role of the workhouse in Birr through the eyes of Joey.
  • Mary Ward – the continuation of the Mary Wards Amazing World of Wonder  see http://www.marywardsamazingworld.com/ and the reproduction of the original 1857 Sketches From a Microscope published in Birr.

 This is a great opportunity to bring art forms to explore our heritage and we look forward to hearing from you. Download the Creative Ireland Community Project 2019 application form PDF; or download the Creative Ireland Community Project 2019 word doc

Offaly Naturalists' Field Club Programme for 2019

We are delighted to have the 2019 programme for the Offaly Naturalists' Field Club available to download - with thanks as always to all the leaders and hosts of events. The summer school week in July is now fully booked out.

Offaly Annual Heritage Seminar

Each November  the Heritage Office hosts a seminar to provide an update on heritage projects which took place in Offaly during the year. This is a free event but please do book with heritage@offalycoco.ie .