Online launch for new book on West Offaly townland

Book launch gatherings are among the events which remain out of bounds due to the pandemic, so as a result the latest publication from Offaly historian, author, and former school principal Brendan Ryan will be launched online next week.

Brendan's book 'On Gallen Green: The Story of a West Offaly Townland' will be launched by Ferbane parish priest Fr Peter Burke on the Facebook page on Friday, December 11, at 7pm.

The book focuses on the interesting history of the small townland of Gallen, or Gillen, which straddles the parishes of Ferbane and Cloghan.

Speaking to the Offaly Independent this week, the author explained that the book originated as a small article he worked on for the Offaly Heritage Journal, and he had continued to research and expand on it over the last year.

After exploring the history of the townland's name, Brendan writes in the book about the two monastic settlements in the area - a Celtic monastery and a medieval Augustinian Priory.

For 300 years the local economy was based on the brickmaking industry, he explained, adding that it was an area home to hard-working people "who also know how to enjoy their recreations of football, dancing, music, singing and games."

One of the stories told in the book explains why the Lord Lieutenant in Dublin Castle decided to send a gift to the parish priest in Ferbane in 1831.

Author and historian Brendan Ryan.

A riot had broken out at the 'Gillen Fair' that year, and the parish priest got involved in helping to quell the disturbance. After hearing about this, the Lord Lieutenant was so impressed with the initiative taken by the parish priest that he had a snuff box delivered to him as a token of gratitude!

Previous books by Brendan, a former primary school principal who lives in Ballyclare, Ferbane, include: 'The Dear Old Town: A History of Ferbane Town' (2002); 'Policing in West Offaly 1814-1922' (2009); poetry book 'The Call of The Lonesome Bog' (2016) and 'Shannonbridge' (co-authored with Laura Price) (2019).

A limited number of signed hardback copies of 'On Gallen Green' will be available, priced €20, in O’Callaghan’s Centra, Ferbane; Ferbane Post Office; Spar, Ferbane; Spar Express, Cloghan; and Offaly History Shop, Bury Quay, Tullamore.

Next Friday's launch can be viewed at: [] and copies of the book can also be ordered from the author at:

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