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Books about Edenderry's History

Ciaran Reilly , Edenderry, County Offaly, and the Downshire estate, 1790-1800 (Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2007) part of the NUI Maynooth, Studies in Local Irish History Series, no. 74.
In the history of the 1798 rising in Ireland Offaly is regarded as the forgotten county. It was not the scene of major military activity but that does not mean that it was unaffected by the disturbances that afflicted the Irish midlands in that year. This study shows that in one part of the county, around the old Quaker settlement of Edenderry, the agrarian secret societies that underlay the rising were as active as in many other parts of Ireland. In particular problems between the landlord, the marquis of Downshire, and his tenants fed social tensions produced by more general economic conditions to ensure that Edenderry would be as disturbed as many other parts of the country during the years 1795-7. Why then did these problems not translate into more open violence during 1798 itself? This study answers this crucial questions, central to understanding the history of the 1798 rising a local level.

Ciaran Reilly, Edenderry 1820-1920: Popular politics and Downshire rule (Nonsuch publishing, Dublin, 2007)
The north east Offaly market town of Edenderry is examined in this study by Edenderry native, Ciaran Reilly. The author reconstructs one hundred years of the towns history, charting Edenderry from before the famine, through the Home Rule crisis and the emergence of nationalism, culminating in the break up of the Downshire estate after the War of Independence and Civil War. Edenderry's involvement in WW1, the role of Edenderry in the War of Independence are recorded for the first time in one volume. 'Edenderry 1820-1920: Popular Politics and Downshire Rule' will provide a long-awaited history of Edenderry and also help to dispel many long held local myths.


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From earliest times to the 13th Century.

About 120 AD Cathair Mór. King of Leinster, became powerful enough to be designated Ard-Rí Éireann by the four masters in the annals.He had ten sons, the eldest Ros Fáilghe (“of the rings”) was given the territory of North Offaly which became known as Uí Fáilighe in later times and from which the name Offaly derives.

The O’Connor sept is descended from Ros, they ruled all or part of Offaly up until the late 16th century.Offaly was divided into 7 “tríocha céad” or districts.Each district had it’s own sub-chief, the area that includes modern day Edenderry was called Tuatha-dá-Muighe, the territory of the two plains, which was the patrimonial inheritance of the O’Mulkenes.The name of the area gradually became corrupted until it was known as Tetmoy Ballykilleen Fort
This is the oldest structure extant in the Edenderry area. (To get to it head out of Edenderry on Tullamore road and turn left at Ballyfore crossroads towards the power station).

It is a tri…

Blundell Castle, Edenderry

BLUNDELL CASTLE: A BRIEF HISTORY The area around Edenderry is littered with castles, most of which were built in the Anglo- Norman period, such as Carrick, Kinnefad, Ballyleakin and Brackagh amongst others. Overlooking the town of Edenderry, BlundellCastle is located on a hill from which the town gets its name; Eadon Doire, meaning brow or hill-top of the oak trees. Today, the oak trees are long since gone, but the ruins of the castle remain, a testament to the days of De Bermingham and O’Connor feuding, and later Cooley (or Cowley) power, the family who were granted the lands of Edenderry after the Laois/Offaly Plantation in 1556. In their book, Edenderry through the ages[1], Evans and Whelan make no mention of a date of the building of BlundellCastle. The earliest mention they make of the castle is when referring to the 1550 survey taken prior to the plantation, which mentions “a path to the castell of Eadandyrre”[2]. The remains of the present castle, or tower house, can be traced t…

When Edenderry was Ireland’s ‘Detroit’

Detroit is synonymous with being the Headquarters of the US Car manufacturing Industry. There was a time at the start of the 20th Century when it could be fairly said that Edenderry was the “Detroit”, or motor car manufacturing capital of Ireland.

The first motor car manufacturer was William Corrigan.His gravestone at CastroPetreCemetery records that he died on the 3rd January 1946 aged 83 years. 42 years earlier, in 1902, and at the age of 41 or so, he manufactured a 4 ½ hp car. Apparently there is a photograph of this car in the museum of the Royal Irish Automobile Club which has its headquarters in Kildare Street, Dublin. William Corrigan ran a very successful garage business. According to details recorded in one of the late Joe Reilly’s books, over 40 people were employed there and some of the principal customers were O’Brien’s which had 15 Lorries and 8 Vans and Williams’ Bakery.The garage business was located at the rear of William Corrigan’s house on Main Street Edenderry. Joe D…