Two heritage events take place in Banagher on August 13 and 20.

Over 40 free events across county Offaly for National Heritage Week

As is the case with most post-pandemic events, this year’s National Heritage Week in Offaly – which takes place from Saturday next, August 13 to Sunday, August 21 inclusive - promises to be bigger and better than ever, with over 40 free events organised right around the county for the enjoyment of the general public.

At the launch of Heritage Week in June, the Minister of State for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan, urged all heritage newcomers, enthusiasts and experts of all ages to focus on sustainable heritage and biodiversity when registering their events for Heritage Week, and there is plenty to satisfy in this regard among the list of Offaly events this year.

With only a miniscule number of events taking place on-line this year, heritage enthusiasts will be able to get out and about for castle and country house tours, bog walks, book launches and a host of other interesting events in Offaly during Heritage Week.

Below we publish a selection of just some of the interesting and informative events taking place in Offaly during the nine action-packed days of Heritage Week, but the full 16-page booklet of events, giving details of dates, times and locations for all local events taking place across the county, can be downloaded at

Tullamore River Wetland Walk

Tuesday, August 15 11am – 12.30pm Kilcruttin Fire Station, Kilcruttin R35 E821.

This walk begins at Tullamore Fire Station where John McNally will meet with participants and bring them on a guided walk through the new Tullamore River constructed wetland. Numbers are limited, so if you want to take part please register by email at:

High Street, Tullamore, Open Day

Wednesday, August 16 10am - 1pm.

No 6. High Street, TullamoreR35 T189 is one of the oldest continuously occupied period homes in the town. It is open to the public from 10am to 1pm on Tuesday, August 16. Spaces are limited so pre-booking is recommended on 086 8447677 or email:

Mapmaking Talk

New light on Irish county map-making in the early 19th century –tracings from William Larkin’s map of King’s County/Offaly, c.1808.

Tuesday, August 16 8pm – 9pm ZOOM ONLY.

Join this interesting event on Zoom to hear Dr Arnold Horner discuss the history of mapmaking in Offaly, and his appraisal of the newly donated and specially conserved sketch maps of William Larkin, the nineteenth century surveyor.

Dr Horner is the author of many books including 'Mapping Offaly' which also concerned the work of William Larkin.

PLEASE NOTE: These maps will be on display in Offaly Archives on Friday, August (see separate event listing).

To obtain link for this lecture please email: and further information is available at phone: 057 9321421.

Charleville Castle hosts an open day as part of Heritage Week.

God in a Bottle – Offaly examples described and exhibited with a talk by Rachel McKenna and owners/makers on August 17 7.30pm – 8.30pm Offaly Historical Society Meeting Room, Bury Quay, Tullamore R35 Y5VO.

Rachel McKenna along with some owners of 'God in a Bottle', or Passion Bottles, will discuss the background, meaning and research into these wonderfully made wooden objects which symbolise the Passion of Christ and are inserted into a glass bottle.

Rachel is a Grade 1 conservation architect who has been researching vernacular architecture, fixtures and fittings in Offaly and whose book on this subject will be published later in 2022.

Booking is not required but is advised in case of a change of programme.

To find out more, please phone 057 9346800 or email: to make a booking.

Display of William Larkin Sketch Maps

Friday , August 19 10am – 4pm Unit 1F, Axis Business Park, Tullamore R35 KF58.

In 2021, Offaly Archives received a most interesting donation to its collections of a set of sketch maps of areas near Banagher, Birr and Ferbane, later identified as the work of the surveyor William Larkin dating from c.1809. The maps were very creased and difficult to handle but thanks to the Heritage Council, conservation work on these wonderful maps has been completed. You are invited to look at the original maps on display on Friday 19 August before they go into long term secure storage in Offaly Archives.

Please email: to book a place as numbers are limited, and further information can be obtained by phone at: 087 9177588.

Open Day, Sunday, August 21 2pm – 4pm Charleville Castle, Tullamore R35 RP77.

This is the first open day at Charleville Castle since the pandemic. There are no charges and parking is also free. All the main areas of the vastle will be open to the public and guides will be on hand to assist with any queries, so why not sit back and admire the outstanding beauty of Charleville Castle in one of the many seating areas, or meander at your leisure in the supervised areas.

The 2km walk to Charleville Castle from the main train station is very relaxing, and taxis are also available to take visitors to the Castle from the centre of Tullamore or from the rail station. Pre-booking for this event, which is suitable for solo travellers, couples and families, is not required.

Further information is available from 087 9092593 or email:


Heritage Walk

Walking through the heritage of Banagher Town.

Saturday, August 13 4pm – 6pm starting at Banagher Library Car Park, Banagher R42 XY40.

This event starts at 4pm at Banagher Library and consists of a gentle ramble from the library to the Market Square and Saint Rynagh’s old church and graveyard. The walk will then continue down Main Street with short diversions into Queen Street, Crank House Courtyard, the Marina, The West End, the Bridge Barrack Yard and finally to have a close look at the recently erected new signs illustrating Banagher's Napoleonic Heritage. The two guides leading the walk, Kieran Keenaghan and James Scully from Offaly History, will share the town’s past history and also discuss current heritage initiatives and future horizons for the town’s architectural heritage. For further information email: or telephone: 085 7107569.

Historic Banagher Talk

A presentation and talk with the author of ‘Historic Banagher Conservation, Interpretation and Management Plan’ on Saturday, August 20 11.30am – 1pm from Banagher Library, Harbour Road, Banagher R42 XY40.

Eoghan Broderick, will give a presentation and talk about the ‘Historic Banagher Conservation, Interpretation and Management Plan’ plan at the Library in Banagher. Copies of the plan will also be available on the day. This event is being organiser by Banagher Tidy Towns. Telephone and further information can be obtained at phone: 087 6787403 or by email:


Monastic Site

Church of Ireland Church: One of Ireland’s early monastic sites.

Saturday, August 15 2pm – 5pm fro, Killeigh Church of Ireland Church, 3. Millbrook, Killeigh R35 P786.

The site of a Franciscan monastery, founded in the 6th century and an Augustinian Friary established in the 12th century, Killeigh has a long history of being a place of religious significance.

Explore the remains of the abbey, read about its history, and soak up the atmosphere of centuries of prayer. This is a drop-in event with information for adults, an I-spy sheet for children and a display to be enjoyed by all.

Further information is available by phone: 083 8263792 or email:

White Beam Walk

Friday, August 19 3pm – 5.30pm from Derrybeg Wood, Derrybeg, Killeigh R35 X840

This walk aims to illustrate how forests can be managed while incorporating sustainability, promoting biodiversity and preserving our heritage.

Specific to this walk we will be looking at our contribution to the conservation of our native Whitebeam - Sorbus Hibernica. One of our lesser known native trees which has been propagated here on this site, collecting and saving the seed. This process will be discussed in detail throughout the walk taking in all aspects this very rich and varied wildlife environment.

Maximum twenty people. Call 086 8162466 for booking, or email: further information.


Women, the Arts and the Country Home

Saturday, August 13 6pm – 8pm Corolanty House, Corolanty, Shinrone, Birr R42 EA07

Join sculptor Siobhan Bulfin-Web and Ger Murphy in Corolanty House for an evening of insights and discussion on the role of women in the country home, and explore how ‘The Arts’ was used to express individuality and independence in a male dominated world.

Please note that numbers are limited, so advance booking is strongly advised at:

Further information on this event is available by phone at: 087 1015991. This is an informal event followed by tea and all are welcome to attend.

Crotty Schism Tour

Sunday, August 14 4pm – 4.30pm

Crotty Church and Malting Buildings, Castle Street, Birr R42 CH61.

A Look back at the Ireland of 1820 to 1850 when we were one of the poorest countries in Europe, suffering from severe unemployment, living in hovels with potatoes as the mainstay of diet and the poor were "The Tools of Their Priests".

The people of Birr took part in the largest ever schism in the Catholic Church when 99% of Birr Catholics changed their religion. Armed combat, cup tossing, beatings and drubbing and excommunication were the order of the day.

Further information and bookings can be made at or phone: 086 3286277.

Gloster House & Gardens Tour

Thursday, August 18 6pm – 8pm Gloster House, Brosna, Birr R42 CH02.

Participants on this tour will be afforded the opportunity to view the magnificent Gloster House & Gardens on this unique tour, which will be led by Tom Alexander. The tour is free and car parking is available.

To book please email: or phone: 087 2342135.

Guided tours of the interior of Birr Castle

Monday to Sunday, August 15 to 21 inclusive Rosse Row, Birr R42 V027.

Enjoy a rare opportunity to visit the magnificent interiors of Birr Castle, home to the Parsons family for over 400 years. Visit five main reception rooms with their exquisite craftsmanship and vast art and artefact collection, and hear about their incredible legacy including phenomenal achievements in science, astronomy, photography, engineering and botany. There will be free time to explore the Great Telescope, ILOFAR, the Science Centre, and 120 acres of gardens and parklands after your tour. Tours run Mon-Sat on normal weeks, but for the duration of Heritage Week, tours will run on both Sundays as well.

Visitors are asked to please note that the tours cost €20, which includes access to the gardens and Science Centre area.Sun for the duration of Heritage Week.

Birr Castle will hold a free event during Heritage Week when Professor Dara Stanley host a nature talk regarding Bees and their importance as pollinators, which takes place on August 17. This talk must be pre-booked through the Birr Theatre website.

Paid car parking is available on the street or in the public car park nearby. Tours are suitable for age 12 plus only.

NOTE: Due to a number of steps up to the Castle, this tour is NOT suitable for wheelchair users.

Further information is available by phone: 057 9120336 or email:

Walk of the Camor River and Syngefield Estate

Thursday, August 18 10.30am – 12 noon Syngefield Industrial Estate, Syngefield, Birr.

John Feehan will lead the walk along the Camcor River exploring the landscape and how it interacts with Syngefield Demesne. Eight hectares of the Demesne is in Offaly County Council's ownership and Heritage Officer Amanda Pedlow, who will outline plans for its management to support biodiversity within the landscape demesne.

Booking is required at email: and further information is available at phone: 057 9346800

Outdoor walking shoes should be worn, as the terrain is uneven. The meeting point will be in the Syngefield Industrial Estate at the far end at the double gates to the avenue.

John Feehan


Geashill stories explored

Alderborough Nursery & Poet Egan

Thursday, August 18 8pm – 9pm St Mary’s Hall, Geashill R35 XV97.

This event, organised by Geashill Tidy Towns, will mark the public launch of two beautiful books exploring different aspects of life in Geashill in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

For over 40 years a Nursery in Geashill was famous all over the world for producing plants seeds and flowers, especially St Brigid Anemones.

Following many years of dedicated research, Anne and Tim O’Rourke have written a book, Alderborough Nursery Geashill, Offaly telling the fascinating story of the setting up of the nursery by William and Mary Reamsbottom. It traces the growth of the nursery, its successes in competition at home and abroad placing it at the heart of Irish horticulture and earning it an international reputation for quality. Through the lives of the people working in the nursery we get an insight into the challenges they faced at a time of political turmoil and great uncertainty in Ireland.

These social and political issues were also addressed in poetry and ballad by Edward (the Poet) Egan of the Meelaghans near Tullamore. In 2020, Anne and Tim O’Rourke along with Michael Byrne published a book of Egan’s humorous poems which will also be launched on the night.

Tim will tell the story of the Alderborough Nursery and explore the common links between the two books as they paint vivid images of life in Geashill and across Ireland at that time.

Tea and coffee will be served following the event.

Further information is available from phone: 087 63053567 or email:

Geashill History Walk

Walk through 1,000 years of Geashill history

Sunday, August 21 4pm – 6pm Geashill Castle, on the Ballinagar Road.

A guided walk from the medieval ruins of Geashill castle, past the site of the Manor house and on to St Mary’s Church. Reflect on the legends, uncover the family feuds and appreciate the significance of Geashill throughout the centuries.

Learn about the Norman origins of Geashill Castle, the siege, battles, burning and destruction. Stories about Lettice FitzGerald who lived in the castle, description of the castle contents, the Manor House and Geashill Estate, St. Mary’s church originally built by the Normans.

At the church there will be a display of photos and poems as well as access to the church registers. Children are welcome and we have an “eye spy challenge” for them.

Meet at the entrance to Geashill Castle on the Ballinagar Road at 4pm.

Further information is available by phone: 083 8263792 or email: