Offaly County Council wishes to advise that the following Public Offices will re- open public counters on Thursday 5th August 2021 from 9.30 am to 1.00 pm Monday to Friday:

Áras an Chontae, Charleville Road, Tullamore

Tullamore Tullamore Municipal District Offices

The Public Offices listed below will open as follows:

** Edenderry Municipal District Offices (Tuesday-Thursday each week from 9.30 am to 1.00 pm only)

** Birr Municipal District Offices (Tuesday-Thursday each week from 9.30 am to 1pm only)

At Áras an Chontae, Tullamore, counter services for Planning, Roads, the Local Enterprise Office, Community & Culture, Corporate Services, Water Services and Environment will be available by APPOINTMENT MADE IN ADVANCE only.

Where possible the public should continue to access our services by phone, email, online or by appointment. Please read for latest information and measures in place.

Glass-Making at Glasshouse, Shinrone

3d scan image of glass furnace

In the townland of Glasshouse, outside Shinrone, on private farmland is a unique furnace from the 17th century which was used to make glass.

During the years 1620-1660, Offaly was one of the main glassmaking centres of Ireland. Around this time, French Huguenot glassmakers, such as Phillip Bigoe and Annanias Hensey, came to the county where they constructed small glassmaking factories known as glasshouses. These glasshouses were located close to woodlands of oak and ash, which provided fuel for their glassmaking furnaces. The wood-fired glass furnace at Glasshouse is the only upstanding furnace in Ireland, Britain and France. Today the surface of the furnace interior glistens with the distinctive blue-green glass often described as 'forest-glass'. Wood-fired glass furnaces were replaced by coal-fired glass factories in coastal ports, such as Dublin, Cork and the famous Waterford factory, bringing an end to the period when glass was made in Offaly.

A 3d survey of the structure has been undertaken and can be seen on http://www.offaly.ie/eng/Services/Heritage/Digital-Media/Archaeology-3d/

In 2018 the 17th century furnace was conserved as part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage work with Creative Ireland funding. Reconstruction artist, Paul Francis, visited the site with archaeologist Caimin O'Brien and the image below by Paul is how it is thought the furnace might have looked during production in the 1600s.

Paul Francis reconstruction drawing 2018

For a comprehensive report on research at the site see the 2014 Article Published in Post Medieval Archaeology 'Excavation of an early 17th-century glassmaking site at Glasshouse, Shinrone, Co. Offaly, Ireland' Volume 48 Issue 1 (June 2014), pp. 45-89 with contributions by Jean Farrelly, Caimin O'Brien and others. To purchase a copy of this article contact Maney Online