Mary I of England
Mary I known as Mary Tudor, was the Queen of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death. She is best known for her aggressive attempt to reverse the English Reformation, which had begun during the reign of her father, Henry VIII; the executions that marked her pursuit of the restoration of Roman Catholicism in England and Ireland led to her denunciation as "Bloody Mary" by her Protestant opponents. Mary was the only child of Henry VIII by his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, to survive to adulthood, her younger half-brother Edward VI succeeded their father in 1547 at the age of nine. When Edward became mortally ill in 1553, he attempted to remove Mary from the line of succession because he supposed that she would reverse the Protestant reforms that had begun during his reign. On his death, leading politicians proclaimed Lady Jane Grey as queen. Mary speedily assembled a force in East Anglia and deposed Jane, beheaded. Mary was—excluding the disputed reigns of Jane and the Empress Matilda—the first queen regnant of England.
In 1554, Mary married Philip of Spain, becoming queen consort of Habsburg Spain on his accession in 1556. During her five-year reign, Mary had over 280 religious dissenters burned at the stake in the Marian persecutions. After Mary's death in 1558, her re-establishment of Roman Catholicism was reversed by her younger half-sister and successor Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry and Anne Boleyn, at the beginning of the 45-year Elizabethan era. Mary was born on 18 February 1516 at the Palace of Placentia in England, she was the only child of his first wife Catherine of Aragon to survive infancy. Her mother had suffered many miscarriages. Before Mary's birth, four previous pregnancies had resulted in a stillborn daughter and three short-lived or stillborn sons, including Henry, Duke of Cornwall. Mary was baptised into the Catholic faith at the Church of the Observant Friars in Greenwich three days after her birth, her godparents included Lord Chancellor Thomas Wolsey. Henry VIII's cousin once removed, Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, stood sponsor for Mary's confirmation, held after the baptism.
The following year, Mary became a godmother herself when she was named as one of the sponsors of her cousin Frances Brandon. In 1520, the Countess of Salisbury was appointed Mary's governess. Sir John Hussey Lord Hussey, was her chamberlain from 1530, his wife, Lady Anne, daughter of George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent, was one of Mary's attendants. Mary was a precocious child. In July 1520, when scarcely four and a half years old, she entertained a visiting French delegation with a performance on the virginals. A great part of her early education came from her mother, who consulted the Spanish humanist Juan Luis Vives for advice and commissioned him to write De Institutione Feminae Christianae, a treatise on the education of girls. By the age of nine, Mary could write Latin, she studied French, music and Greek. Henry VIII doted on his daughter and boasted to the Venetian ambassador Sebastian Giustiniani, "This girl never cries"; as the miniature portrait of her shows, Mary had, like both her parents, a fair complexion, pale blue eyes and red or reddish-golden hair.
She was ruddy cheeked, a trait she inherited from her father. Despite his affection for Mary, Henry was disappointed that his marriage had produced no sons. By the time Mary was nine years old, it was apparent that Henry and Catherine would have no more children, leaving Henry without a legitimate male heir. In 1525, Henry sent Mary to the border of Wales to preside in name only, over the Council of Wales and the Marches, she was given her own court based at Ludlow Castle and many of the royal prerogatives reserved for the Prince of Wales. Vives and others called her the Princess of Wales, although she was never technically invested with the title, she appears to have spent three years in the Welsh Marches, making regular visits to her father's court, before returning permanently to the home counties around London in mid-1528. Throughout Mary's childhood, Henry negotiated potential future marriages for her; when she was only two years old, she was promised to Francis, the infant son of King Francis I of France, but the contract was repudiated after three years.
In 1522, at the age of six, she was instead contracted to marry her 22-year-old first cousin, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. However, the engagement was broken off within a few years by Charles with Henry's agreement. Cardinal Wolsey, Henry's chief adviser resumed marriage negotiations with the French, Henry suggested that Mary marry the Dauphin's father, King Francis I himself, eager for an alliance with England. A marriage treaty was signed which provided that Mary marry either Francis I or his second son Henry, Duke of Orleans, but Wolsey secured an alliance with France without the marriage. According to the Venetian Mario Savorgnano, by this time Mary was developing into a pretty, well-proportioned young lady with a fine complexion. Meanwhile, the marriage of Mary's parents was in jeopardy. Disappointed at the lack of a male heir, eager to remarry, Henry attempted to have his marriage to Catherine annulled, but Pope Clement VII refused his request. Henry claimed, citing biblical passages, that his marriage to Catherine was unclean because she was the widow of his brother Arthur.
Catherine claimed so was not a valid marriage. Her first marriage had been annulled by a previous pope, Julius II, on t
Thomas FitzGerald, 10th Earl of Kildare
Thomas FitzGerald, 10th Earl of Kildare known as Silken Thomas, was a leading figure in 16th-century Irish history. Thomas Fitzgerald was born in London in 1513, the son of Gerald FitzGerald, 9th Earl of Kildare and his first wife Elizabeth Zouche, a distant cousin of Henry VII. In February 1534, his father was summoned to London and appointed the 21-year-old Thomas deputy governor of Ireland in his absence. In June 1534 Thomas heard rumours that his father had been executed in the Tower of London and that the English government intended the same fate for himself and his uncles, he summoned the Council to St. Mary's Abbey, on 11 June, accompanied by 140 armoured gallowglasses with silk fringes on their helmets, rode to the abbey and publicly renounced his allegiance to his cousin King Henry VIII, Lord of Ireland; the Chancellor, Archbishop John Alen, attempted to persuade him not to commit himself to such a rash proceeding. Roused by this he rushed from the hall, followed by his adherents; the council sent an order for his immediate arrest to the Lord Mayor of Dublin, however, had not sufficient force at his disposal.
The Earl of Desmond and many of his father's oldest and best friends reasoned with him. As Vice-Deputy, Kildare had under his control most of the Pale fortresses, large government stores. Dublin Castle alone held out for the King of England. Lord Offaly called the lords of the Pale to the siege of the Castle. Goods and chattels belonging to the King's subjects he declared forfeited, he announced his intention of exiling or putting to death all born in England, he sent messengers to his cousin and friend Lord Butler, son of the Earl of Ormond, offering to divide the kingdom with him if he would join his cause, but Butler refused. Several children of the citizens of Dublin in different parts of the Pale were seized as hostages for the good behavior of the city. In July, he attacked Dublin Castle, he was, rightly or wrongly, judged to be responsible for the execution at Clontarf of Archbishop Alen, who had tried to mediate. According to a long-established tradition, the killers, John Teeling and Nicholas Wafer, misunderstood his order, given in Irish, to "take this fellow away" as an order to kill Alen.
By this time his father had taken ill and died in London, he had technically succeeded as 10th earl, but the Crown never confirmed his title. He retreated to his stronghold at Maynooth Castle, but in March 1535 this was taken by an English force under Sir William Skeffington by bribing a guard, while Thomas was absent gathering reinforcements to relieve it; the surrendered garrison was put to death, which became known as the "Maynooth Pardon". Thomas had wrongly assumed that his cause would attract overwhelming support, in particular from Catholics opposed to Henry VIII's English Reformation, but Henry's new policy outlawed Lutheranism, so Henry was not excommunicated until 1538. In July, Lord Leonard Grey arrived from England as Lord Deputy of Ireland, he was still a formidable opponent, Grey, wishing to avoid a prolonged conflict, guaranteed his personal safety and persuaded him to submit unconditionally to the King's mercy. In October 1535 he was sent as a prisoner to the Tower. Despite Grey's guarantee, he was executed with his five uncles at Tyburn on 3 February 1537.
According to G. G. Nichols, the five uncles were "...draune from the Tower in to Tyborne, there alle hongyd and hedded and quartered, save the Lord Thomas for he was but hongyd and hedded and his body buried at the Crost Freeres in the qwere..."The Attainder of the Earl of Kildare Act 1536 was passed to permit his execution and the confiscation of his property. The 1536 Act remained law until it was repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act 2005. Silken Thomas's revolt caused Henry to pay more attention to Irish matters, was a factor in the creation of the Kingdom of Ireland in 1542. In particular the powers of the lords deputy were curbed, policies such as surrender and regrant were introduced. To provide for greater security the Royal Irish Army was established as a standing army. Attainder of the Earl of Kildare Act 1536 List of Irish rebellions History of County Kildare The hum in Ireland during the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI. from History of the Catholic Church from the Renaissance to the French Revolution by Rev. James MacCaffrey, S.
Robert Digby, 1st Baron Digby
Robert Digby, 1st Baron Digby was an Anglo-Irish peer. Digby was the son of Sir Robert Digby of Coleshill and Lettice FitzGerald, of Geashill, granddaughter of Gerald FitzGerald, 11th Earl of Kildare. John Digby, 1st Earl of Bristol, was his uncle, Essex Digby, Bishop of Dromore, his brother. Digby notably served as Governor of King's County in Ireland. In 1620 he was raised to the Peerage of Ireland as Baron Digby, of Geashill, he married, Lady Sarah Boyle, daughter of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork and Catherine Fenton. Digby married secondly, Elizabeth Altham, daughter of Sir James Altham and his second wife, Mary Stapers, he died in 1642 and was succeeded in the barony by his son, Kildare Digby, 2nd Baron Digby
Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke
Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, Lord of Leinster, Justiciar of Ireland was an Anglo-Norman nobleman notable for his leading role in the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland. Like his father, Richard fitz Gilbert has since become known by his nickname Strongbow which may be a mistranscription or mistranslation of Striguil, his son Gilbert de Striguil, or Strigoil, died unmarried before 1189. As a minor, he never became an earl, thus the earldom was passed with Richard's daughter Isabel to her spouse William Marshall. Richard's cognomen Strongbow has become the name he is best known by, but it is unlikely that he was called that at the time. Cognomens of other Cambro-Norman and Norman lords were Norman-French as the nobility spoke French and, with few exceptions, official documents were written in Latin during this period; the confusion seems to have arisen. In the Domesday Exchequer annals between 1300 and 1304 it was written as "Ricardus cognomento Stranghose Comes Strugulliae." This chronicler erroneously has attributed Stranghose as a cognomen, where it is much more a variant spelling or mistranscription of Striguil, called Strangboge, Stranboue or Stranbohe in other transcriptions.
It is in the fourteenth century that we have Richard's name rendered as Strongbow "Earl Richard son of Gilbert Strongbow." Richard was the son of 1st Earl of Pembroke and Isabel de Beaumont. Richard's father died in about 1148, when he was 18 years old, Richard inherited the title'count of Strigoil' Earl of Pembroke, it is probable that this title was not recognized at Henry II's coronation in 1154. As the son of the first'earl', he succeeded to his father's estates in 1148, but was deprived of the title by King Henry II of England in 1154 for siding with King Stephen of England against Henry's mother, the Empress Matilda. Richard was in fact, called by his contemporaries Count Striguil, for his marcher lordship of Striguil where he had a fortress at a place now called Chepstow, in Monmouthshire on the River Wye, he saw an opportunity to reverse his bad fortune in 1168 when he met Diarmait Mac Murchada, the deposed King of Leinster. In 1167, Diarmait Mac Murchada was deprived of the Kingdom of Leinster by the High King of Ireland – Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair.
The grounds for the dispossession were that Mac Murchada had, in 1152, abducted Derbforgaill, the wife of the King of Breifne, Tiernan O'Rourke. To recover his kingdom, Mac Murchada solicited help from the King of England – Henry II; the deposed king embarked for Bristol from near Bannow on 1 August 1166. He met Henry in Aquitaine in the Autumn of 1166. Henry could not help him at this time, but provided a letter of comfort for willing supporters of Mac Murchada's cause in his kingdom. However, after his return to Wales, he failed to rally any forces to his standard, he met the count of Striguil and other barons of the Welsh Marches. Mac Murchada came to an agreement with Richard de Clare: for the Earl's assistance with an army the following spring, he could have Aoife, Mac Murchada's eldest daughter in marriage and the succession to Leinster; as Henry's approval or licence to Mac Murchada was a general one, the count of Striguil thought it prudent to obtain Henry's specific consent to travel to Ireland: he waited two years to do this.
The licence he got was to aid Mac Murchada in the recovery of his kingdom of Leinster. Mac Murchada and Richard de Clare raised a large army, which included Welsh archers and arranged for Raymond FitzGerald to lead it; the force took the Ostman towns of Wexford and Dublin in rapid succession between 1169 and 1170. Richard de Clare, was not with the first invading party and arrived in August 1170. In May 1171, Diarmait Mac Murchada died and his son, Donal MacMurrough-Kavanagh, claimed the kingdom of Leinster in accordance with his rights under the Brehon Laws. Richard de Clare claimed the kingship in the right of his wife. At this time, Strongbow sent his uncle, Hervey de Montmorency, on an embassy to Henry II; this was necessary to appease the King, growing restive at the count's increasing power. Upon his return, de Montmorency conveyed the King's terms – the return of Richard de Clare's lands in France and Wales as well as leaving him in possession of his Irish lands. In return, Richard de Clare surrendered Dublin and other fortresses to the English king.
Henry's intervention was successful and both the Gaelic and Norman lords in the south and east of Ireland accepted his rule. Henry stayed in Ireland six months, he put his own men into Richard keeping only Kildare. In 1173 Richard went in person to France to help Henry II during the rebellion by his sons, being reinstated in Leinster as a reward. In 1174 he advanced into Connaught and was defeated, but subsequently Raymond FitzGerald re-established his supremacy in Leinster. By an unknown mistress, Richard de Clare fathered two daughters: Aline de Clare, who married William FitzMaurice FitzGerald, baron of Naas Basilia de Clare, who married Robert de Quenci, Constable of LeinsterOn about 26 August 1171 in Reginald's Tower, Richard de Clare married MacMurrough's daughter, Aoife MacMurrough, their children were: Gilbert de Clare, 3rd Earl of Pemb
Gerald FitzGerald, 11th Earl of Kildare
Gerald FitzGerald, 11th Earl of Kildare known as the "Wizard Earl", was an Irish peer. He was the son of his second wife Elizabeth, Countess of Kildare. Young Lord Kildare became the sole male representative of the Kildare Geraldines at the age of twelve, after his half-brother, Silken Thomas, the tenth earl, was executed at Tyburn in February 1537 with five of his uncles, he spent the next few years on the run in Ireland and spent some time in Tír Chonaill in Ulster, under the guardianship of his aunt, Lady Eleanor McCarthy, the wife of Manus O'Donnell, An Ó Domhnaill. The short-lived Geraldine League, a federation including the O'Neills, the O'Donnells, the O'Briens of Thomond, other powerful Irish clans related to the Geraldines through marriages, formed around FitzGerald's claim to the Earldom of Kildare; the League came to nothing, after the principal members were badly defeated in modern-day County Monaghan following a raid into The Pale in August 1539. FitzGerald escaped Ireland with a few loyal servants and was protected from King Henry VIII and his agents by both Francis I of France and Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire.
He was educated at a monastery in Liège, spent time with Ercole Cardinal Gonzaga, Lord Bishop of Mantua, a scion of the House of Gonzaga and the effective'Regent' of the Duchy of Mantua. Due to his time in the Cardinal's court, FitzGerald was fluent in Italian and experienced the court culture of Renaissance Italy. From there, he moved on to Rome, for three years studied under the guidance of his kinsman, Reginald Cardinal Pole Lord Archbishop of Canterbury. During his exile from Ireland, FitzGerald fought with the Knights of Rhodes against the Turks and travelled as far as Tripoli in Libya held by the Knights of St. John. Following the death of Henry VIII in 1547, he travelled to England and was received at the court of Edward VI; the young king restored the Kildare lands to him at this time. During the reign of Mary I, FitzGerald assisted in suppressing the rebellion of Sir Thomas Wyatt in 1554, he was restored as Earl of Kildare and Baron of Offaly. He returned to Ireland soon after. Lord Kildare had a keen interest in alchemy, which caused much speculation among those living around Kilkea Castle.
He was rumoured to possess magic powers, thus earned the nickname "the Wizard Earl". He was a intelligent and cultivated man, "a product of the Renaissance", but he seems to have lacked the political skills of his grandfather, The 8th Earl of Kildare, who ruled Ireland for 35 years, in the turbulent political atmosphere of the 1560s and 70s he was vulnerable to attack since he professed the Roman Catholic faith, he was unfortunate in being the father-in-law of Lord Delvin, suspected of treason throughout his career. His restoration as Earl of Kildare aroused the hostility of many, both Old English and New English, successive Lord Deputies, throughout his career he was accused of treason, was imprisoned in Dublin Castle and in the Tower of London, he owed his survival to the personal regard of Queen Elizabeth, who twice dismissed the charges of treason against him. He conformed to the Protestant religion in the beginning of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. In his last years although technically a free man he was forbidden to leave London, save that he was permitted to take his seat in the Parliament of Ireland which met in Dublin during April–May 1585.
Lord Kildare died in London, still in a condition of semi-captivity, on 16 November 1585. According to legend, his ghost returns to Kilkea Castle every seventh year, mounted on a silver-shod white charger. While at the court of Edward VI, FitzGerald met Mabel Browne, daughter of Sir Anthony Browne, Master of the Horse and his first wife Alice Gage. Kildare and Mabel Browne married during the reign of Mary I on 28 May 1554, in the Chapel Royal. Amongst a certain branch of the FitzGerald's there was a belief/legend that the 11th Earl of Kildare had been married to an Ellinor O'Kelly by Thomas Leverous in 1545; this resulted in the birth of the progenitor of this branch of the FitzGerald's. However, the date purported for the marriage seems unlikely given the timescale and that there would not be some written sources to confirm this event. Lady Elizabeth FitzGerald, married Donnchadh MacConchobhair O'Brien, the 4th Earl of Thomond, by whom she had issue. Lord Gerald FitzGerald, Lord Offaly, Lord Garratt, married in October 1578, Catherine Knollys, a granddaughter of Mary Boleyn.
They had 1st Baroness Offaly who married Sir Robert Digby. These were the direct ancestors of the celebrated 19th-century adventuress Jane Digby. Lord Henry Na Tuagh FitzGerald, 12th Earl of Kildare, married Lady Frances Howard, by whom he had female issue. Lord William FitzGerald, 13th Earl of Kildare, died unmarried. Lady Mary FitzGerald, married Christopher Nugent, 6th Baron Delvin. Mabel died in 1610, much troubled in her last years by a lawsuit brought by her granddaughter Lettice, claiming that the Earl's will had been fraudulently altered. Gerald FitzGerald appears in The Irish Princess by Karen Harper, a fictional portrayal of the life of FitzGerald's sister, Elizabeth FitzGerald
Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, the twentieth-largest on Earth. Politically, Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland, which covers five-sixths of the island, Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom. In 2011, the population of Ireland was about 6.6 million, ranking it the second-most populous island in Europe after Great Britain. Just under 4.8 million live in the Republic of Ireland and just over 1.8 million live in Northern Ireland. The island's geography comprises low-lying mountains surrounding a central plain, with several navigable rivers extending inland, its lush vegetation is a product of its mild but changeable climate, free of extremes in temperature. Much of Ireland was woodland until the end of the Middle Ages. Today, woodland makes up about 10% of the island, compared with a European average of over 33%, most of it is non-native conifer plantations.
There are twenty-six extant mammal species native to Ireland. The Irish climate is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and thus moderate, winters are milder than expected for such a northerly area, although summers are cooler than those in continental Europe. Rainfall and cloud cover are abundant; the earliest evidence of human presence in Ireland is dated at 10,500 BC. Gaelic Ireland had emerged by the 1st century AD; the island was Christianised from the 5th century onward. Following the 12th century Norman invasion, England claimed sovereignty. However, English rule did not extend over the whole island until the 16th–17th century Tudor conquest, which led to colonisation by settlers from Britain. In the 1690s, a system of Protestant English rule was designed to materially disadvantage the Catholic majority and Protestant dissenters, was extended during the 18th century. With the Acts of Union in 1801, Ireland became a part of the United Kingdom. A war of independence in the early 20th century was followed by the partition of the island, creating the Irish Free State, which became sovereign over the following decades, Northern Ireland, which remained a part of the United Kingdom.
Northern Ireland saw much civil unrest from the late 1960s until the 1990s. This subsided following a political agreement in 1998. In 1973 the Republic of Ireland joined the European Economic Community while the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, as part of it, did the same. Irish culture has had a significant influence on other cultures in the field of literature. Alongside mainstream Western culture, a strong indigenous culture exists, as expressed through Gaelic games, Irish music and the Irish language; the island's culture shares many features with that of Great Britain, including the English language, sports such as association football, horse racing, golf. The names Éire derive from Old Irish Eriu; this in turn comes from the Proto-Celtic *Iveriu, the source of Latin Hibernia. Iveriu derives from a root meaning'fat, prosperous'. During the last glacial period, up until about 10,000 BC, most of Ireland was periodically covered in ice. Sea levels were lower and Ireland, like Great Britain, formed part of continental Europe.
By 16,000 BC, rising sea levels due to ice melting caused Ireland to become separated from Great Britain. Around 6000 BC, Great Britain itself became separated from continental Europe; the earliest evidence of human presence in Ireland is dated at 10,500 BC, demonstrated by a butchered bear bone found in a cave in County Clare. It is not until about 8000 BC, that more sustained occupation of the island has been shown, with evidence for Mesolithic communities around the island; these Mesolithic communities lived as hunter-gatherers across the island until about 4000 BC. Some time before 4000 BC, Neolithic settlers arrived introducing cereal cultivars, domesticated animals such as cattle and sheep, large timber building, stone monuments; the earliest evidence for farming in Ireland or Great Britain is from Co.. Kerry, where a flint knife, cattle bones and a sheep's tooth were carbon-dated to c. 4350 BC. Field systems were developed in different parts of Ireland, including at the Céide Fields, preserved beneath a blanket of peat in present-day Tyrawley.
An extensive field system, arguably the oldest in the world, consisted of small divisions separated by dry-stone walls. The fields were farmed for several centuries between 3500 BC and 3000 BC. Wheat and barley were the principal crops; the Bronze Age – defined by the use of metal – began around 2500 BC, with technology changing people's everyday lives during this period through innovations such as the wheel. According to John T. Koch and others, Ireland in the Late Bronze Age was part of a maritime trading-network culture called the Atlantic Bronze Age that included Britain, western France and Iberia, that this is where Celtic languages developed; this contrasts with the traditional view that their origin lies in mainland Europe with the Hallstatt culture. During the Iron Age, a Celtic language and culture emerged in Ireland. How and when the island became Celtic has been debated for close to a century, with the migrations of the Celts being one of the more enduring themes of archaeological and linguistic studies.
The most recent genetic research s
County Offaly is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Midlands Region and is located in the province of Leinster, it is named after the ancient Kingdom of Uí Failghe and was known as King's County. Offaly County Council is the local authority for the county; the county population was 77,961 at the 2016 census. Offaly is the 18th largest of Ireland's 32 counties by area and the 24th largest in terms of population, it is the fifth largest of the 10th largest by population. Tullamore is the 30th largest in Ireland. Offaly borders seven counties: Galway, Tipperary, Westmeath and Meath; the Slieve Bloom Mountains are in the southern part of the county on the border with County Laois. Offaly has the 24th highest county peak in Ireland; the highest point is Arderin in the Slieve Blooms at 527 metres. The Slieve Bloom Mountains contain the county's highest points including Stillbrook Hill and Wolftrap Mountain which are the county's second and third highest peaks. Croghan Hill is located in northern Offaly.
Although only 234 metres high, it is known for its view over the surrounding area and it stands out by itself. The floodplain of the River Shannon is in the north-western part of the county; the River Camcor is a Wild Trout Conservation Area. The River Brosna runs across the county from Lough Owel in Westmeath to Shannon Harbour. Silver River runs through several towns in the south of the county before joining Brosna near the town of Ferbane; the Grand Canal runs across the county from Edenderry on the north-east to Shannon Harbour before joining the Shannon. The county contains many small lakes from Lough Boora to Pallas Lake and it contains 42 hectares of swamp land. There are a number Eskers in the counties landscape including Esker Riada. Offaly comprises a flat landscape and is known for its extensive bog and peatlands. There are many large bogs in Offaly including the Bog of Allen, Clara bog, Boora bog and Raheenmore Bog which are spread out across the county with the Bog of Allen extending into four other counties.
The county consists of 42,000 hectares of peatlands, 21% of Offaly's total land area. Offaly contains 9,000 hectares of forest and woodland area, which only amounts to 4.5% of the county's land area. This includes woodlands within the Lough Boora Parklands. 75% of Offaly's forested area is Conifer High Forest. The following are the historical baronies located in County Offaly: Ballyboy Ballybrit Ballycowen Clonlisk Coolestown Eglish Garrycastle Geashill Kilcoursey Lower Philipstown Upper Philipstown Warrenstown One of the earliest known settlements in County Offaly is at Boora bog which dates back to the Mesolithic era. Excavations here provide evidence of a temporary settlement. Stone axes, arrow heads and blades were discovered which date to between 6,800 – 6,000 BCE; the Dowris Hoard dating from the Late Bronze Age was found in a bog at Dowris, Whigsborough near Birr. It is the largest collection of Bronze Age objects found in Ireland, it includes more than 200 items of which 190 are extant, 111 in the National Museum of Ireland and 79 in the British Museum.
Forty four spearheads were found, forty-three axes, twenty-four trumpets, forty-four crotals. A bronze bucket was found, it was constructed of sheets of bronze riveted together, this item is considered to be an imported item, two other buckets were found and these are presumed to be native copies. After Christianisation, the monastic complex of Clonmacnoise was erected at the River Shannon near Shannonbridge, it is today a significant tourist destination. The county itself was formed following the Tudor plantations of Laois and Offaly in an attempt by the English Crown to expand its sphere of influence in Ireland which had declined following the Norman Conquest of Ireland. Both Laois and Offaly were petty kingdoms in Gaelic Ireland located just outside the Pale; the older kingdoms of Leix and Uí Failghe are not coterminous with the present day counties that were formed. The Kingdom of Uí Failghe from which the name Offaly is derived, was ruled by the Ó Conchobhair Failghe whose territory extended from the east of the county into north Kildare.
The Kingdom of Firceall ruled by the O'Molloy clan constituted much of the centre of the county. The Kingdom of Firceall was part of the Kingdom of Meath while Uí Failghe was part of the Kingdom of Leinster. Much of the south of the present day county was ruled by Ó Cearbhaill of Éile. Ely formed part of the Kingdom of Munster; these petty kingdoms were swept aside by the Tudor plantations. In 1556, an Act of the Parliament of Ireland created "King's County", named after Philip, the King of Ireland; this replaced the old Kingdoms with the present day County System. Despite the county's name being upheld as Offaly through the 2001 Local Government Act, no legislation was enacted after independence explicitly changing the name from King's County, the name formally established under the 1898 Local Government Act which continued to have legal effect. Legal transfers and assignments of land in the county still refer to it as "King's County". Offaly County Council is the local authority for the county.
The council is responsible for local services such a