County Roscommon is a county in Ireland. In the western region, it is part of the province of Connacht, it is the 11th largest Irish county by 27th most populous. Its county town and largest town is Roscommon. Roscommon County Council is the local authority for the county; the population of the county was 64,544 according to the 2016 census. County Roscommon is named after the county town of Roscommon. Roscommon comes from the Irish Ros meaning a wooded, gentle height and Comán, the first abbot and bishop of Roscommon who founded the first monastery there in 550 AD. Roscommon is the eleventh largest of the 32 counties of Ireland by area and the fifth least-populous county in Ireland, it has an area of 984 square miles. Lough Key in north Roscommon is noted for having thirty-two islands; the geographical centre of Ireland is located on the western shore of Lough Ree in the south of the county. Roscommon is the third largest of Connacht's five counties by size and fourth largest in terms of population.
The county borders every other Connacht county – Galway, Mayo and Leitrim, as well as three Leinster counties – Longford and Offaly. In 2008, a news report said that statistically, Roscommon has the longest life expectancy of any county on the island of Ireland. Seltannasaggart, located along the northern border with County Leitrim is the tallest point in County Roscommon measuring to a height of 428 m. There are nine historical baronies in County Roscommon. North Roscommon Boyle. Frenchpark. Roscommon. Castlereagh. Ballintober North. South Roscommon Ballymoe shared with County Galway includes Ballymoe and Glenamaddy. Ballintober South. Athlone. Moycarn. Rathcroghan, near Tulsk, a complex of archaeological sites, the home of Queen Medb, was the seat of Kings of Connacht and to the High Kings of Ireland; this was the starting point of the Táin Bó Cúailnge, or Cattle Raid of Cooley, an epic tale in Irish mythology. The county is home to many prehistoric and British Iron Age ringforts like, Carnagh West Ringfort and Drummin fort.
County Roscommon as an administrative division has its origins in the medieval period. With the conquest and division of the Kingdom of Connacht, those districts in the east retained by King John as "The King's Cantreds" covered County Roscommon, parts of East Galway; these districts were leased to the native kings of Connacht and became the county. In 1585 during the Tudor re-establishment of counties under the Composition of Connacht, Roscommon was established with the South-west boundary now along the River Suck. A "well defined" and "original" fine metal workshop was active in County Roscommon in the 12th century; the Cross of Cong, the Aghadoe crosier, Shrine of the Book of Dimma and Shrine of Manchan of Mohill' are grouped together as having been created by Mael Isu Bratain Ui Echach et al. at the same Roscommon workshop. The workshop has been linked to St. Assicus of Elphin. John O'Donovan and scholar, visited County Roscommon in 1837, while compiling information for the Ordnance Survey.
Entering St Peter's parish in Athlone in June 1837, he wrote, "I have now entered upon a region different from Longford, am much pleased with the intelligence of the people." However, he had major problems with place-names. He wrote, "I am sick to death's door of lochawns, it pains me to the soul to have to make these remarks, but what can I do when I cannot make the usual progress? Here I am stuck in the mud in the middle of Loughs, Turlaghs and Curraghs, the names of many of which are only known to a few old men in their immediate neighbourhood and I cannot give many of them utterance from the manner in which they are spelled." Roscommon is governed locally by the 26-member Roscommon County Council. For general elections, Roscommon forms part of the three-seat Roscommon–Galway constituency. Iarnród Éireann provides Roscommon with freight rail services. Many passenger services to Dublin use Heuston. Athlone is the interchange between the Dublin -- Dublin -- Westport services. There are trains from Sligo on the Dublin–Sligo railway line serving two County Roscommon stations, at Boyle and Carrick-on-Shannon on the line to Dublin Connolly.
Gaelic football is the dominant sport in Roscommon. Roscommon GAA have won 2 All-Ireland Senior Football Championships in 1943 and 1944 and a National Football League Division 1 in 1979 and Division 2 in 2015 and 2018. Roscommon GAA play home games at Dr. Hyde Park. Roscommon has less success in hurling, their main hurling title was the 2007 Nicky Rackard Cup. In order of birth: Charles O'Conor and antiquarian of the O'Conor Don family Matthew O'Conor Don historian born in Ballinagare, Co. Roscommon Arthur French, 1st Baron de Freyne, Member of Parliament and landlord of Frenchpark House Sir John Scott Lillie CB, decorated Peninsular War veteran and political activist in England William Wilde, surgeon and father of Oscar Wilde, born in Castlerea, Co. Roscommon Michael Dockry, member of the Wisconsin State Assembly Thomas Curley, American Civil War colonel and Wisconsin legislator, born in Tremane, near Athleague, Co. Roscommon Henry Gore-Browne, Victoria Cross recipient, born in Co.. Roscommon Luke O'Connor, first soldier t
County Galway is a county in Ireland. It is located in the West of part of the province of Connacht. There are several Irish-speaking areas in the west of the county; the traditional county includes, is named for, the city of Galway, but the city and county now have separate local authorities: Galway City Council administers the urban area, while the rest of the county is administered by Galway County Council. The population of the county was 258,058 at the 2016 census; the first inhabitants in the Galway area arrived over 7000 years ago. Shell middens indicate the existence of people as early as 5000 BC; the county comprised several kingdoms and territories which predate the formation of the county. These kingdoms included Uí Maine, Maigh Seóla, Conmhaícne Mara, Soghain and Máenmaige. County Galway became an official entity around 1569 AD; the region known as Connemara retains a distinct identity within the county, though its boundaries are unclear, so it may account for as much as one third, or as little as 20%, of the county.
The county includes a number such as the Oileáin Árann and Inis Bó Fine. With the arrival of Christianity many monasteries were built in the county. Monasteries kept written records of events of its people; these were followed by a number of law-tracts, genealogies and miscellaneous accounts. Extant manuscripts containing references to Galway include: Nearly 20% of the population of County Galway live in the Gaeltacht. County Galway is home to the largest Gaeltacht Irish-speaking region in Ireland. There are over 48,000 people living within this region, which extends from Galway city westwards through Connemara; the region consists of the following Irish-speaking areas. All schools within the Gaeltacht use the Irish language for classroom instruction. There is a third-level constituent college of NUIG called Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge in Carraroe and Carna. Clifden is the largest town in the region. Galway City is home to Ireland's only Irish-language theatre, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe. There is a strong Irish-language media presence in this area too, which boasts the radio station Raidió na Gaeltachta and Foinse newspaper in Carraroe and national TV station TG4 in Baile na hAbhann.
The Aran Islands are part of the Galway Gaeltacht. According to Census 2016, there were 84,249 people in County Galway. According to Census 2011, the Galway city and county Gaeltacht has a population of 48,907, of which 30,978 say they can speak Irish, 23,788 can be classed as native Irish speakers while 7,190 speak Irish daily only within the classroom. There are 3,006 attending three Gaelcholáiste outside the Galway Gaeltacht. According to the Irish Census 2016 there are 9,445 people in the county who identify themselves as being daily Irish speakers outside the education system. Prior to the enactment of the Local Government Act 2001, the county was a unified whole for administrative purposes, despite the presence of two local authorities. Since that time, the administrative re-organisation has reduced the geographical extent of the county by the extent of the area under the jurisdiction of Galway City Council. Today, the geographic extent of the county is limited to the area under the jurisdiction of Galway County Council.
Each local authority ranks as first level local administrative units of the NUTS 3 West Region for Eurostat purposes. There are 34 LAU 1 entities in the Republic of Ireland; the remit of Galway County Council includes some suburbs of the city not within the remit of Galway City Council. Both local authorities are responsible for certain local services such as sanitation and development, the collection of motor taxation, local roads and social housing; the county is part of the Midlands–North-West constituency for the purposes of European elections. For elections to Dáil Éireann, the county is part of three constituencies: Galway East, Galway West and Roscommon–Galway. Together they return 11 deputies to the Dáil. County Galway is home to Na Beanna Beola mountain range, Na Sléibhte Mhám Toirc, the low mountains of Sliabh Echtghe; the highest point in the county is one of Benbaun, at 729m. County Galway is home to a number of Ireland's largest lakes including Lough Corrib, Lough Derg and Lough Mask.
The county is home to a large number of smaller lakes, many of which are in the Connemara region. These include Lough Anaserd, Ardderry Lough, Aughrusbeg Lough, Ballycuirke Lough, Ballynahinch Lake, Lough Bofin, Lough Cutra, Derryclare Lough, Lough Fee, Glendollagh Lough, Lough Glenicmurrin, Lough Inagh, Kylemore Lough, Lettercraffroe Lough, Maumeen Lough, Lough Nafooey, Lough Rea, Ross Lake and Lough Shindilla; the location of County Galway, situated on the west coast of Ireland, allows it to be directly influenced by the Gulf Stream. Temperature extremes are rare and short lived, though inland areas east of the Corrib, can boast some of the highest recorded temperatures of the summer in the island of Ireland. Overall, Galway is influenced by Atlantic airstreams which bring ample rainfall in between the fleeting sunshine. Rainf
Clanricarde known as Mac William Uachtar or the Galway Burkes, were a Gaelicised branch of the Norman originated House of Burke in Ireland. The term was important in Ireland from the 13th to the 20th centuries; the territory, in what is now County Galway, stretched from the barony of Clare in the north-west along the borders of County Mayo, to the River Shannon in the east. Subservient territories included Uí Maine, Kinela, de Bermingham's Country, Síol Anmchadha and southern Sil Muirdeagh; the Clanricarde, was a Gaelic title meaning "Richard's family", or " Richard's family". The Richard in question was the illegitimate son of William de Burgh, whose great-great grandson became the first Clanricarde in the 1330s; the title was first recorded in 1335, had being used informally for a few generations. However, with the advent of the Burke Civil War 1333-38 it came to denote the head of the Burkes of Upper or south Connacht based in what is now east and central County Galway, it was used to describe the lands held by the family.
The title Mac William Uachtar was used as a synonym. It was a Gaelic title meaning "son of the upper William", it was used to differentiate the Burkes of upper or south Connacht from their cousins, the Bourkes of lower or north Connacht, who were known was the Mac William Lower. However it was never used as popularly as the term Clanricarde and was in any case abandoned by the end of the 16th century. In 1543 the Clanricarde was created Earl of Clanricarde by Henry VIII. Sir Ulick Burke, reigned 1333-1353 Richard Óg Burke 1353-1387 Ulick an Fhiona Burke, 1387-1424 William mac Ulick Burke 1424-1430 Ulick Ruadh Burke 1430-1485 Ulick Fionn Burke 1485-1509 Richard Óge Burke 1509-1519 Ulick Óge Burke 1519-1520 Richard Mór Burke 1520-1530 John mac Richard Mór Burke 1530-1536 Richard Bacach Burke 1536-1538 Ulick na gCeann Burke 1538-1544 Walter de Burgh | |____________________________________________ | | | | William de Burgh, died 1205. Hubert de Burgh, 1st Earl of Kent, d. 1243. | |_________________________________________________________________________________________________________ | | | | | | Richard Mór de Burgh, 1st Baron of Connaught Hubert de Burgh, Bishop of Limerick, d. 1250.
Richard Óge de Burgh | | | ____________________________________________________________| de Burgh Earl of Ulster, | | | Burke of Castleconnell, County Limerick | | | Mac William Iochtar Bourke of County Mayo. Hubert William Richard | | | | | |_________________ Clan Mac Hubert? Richard an Fhorbhair | | | | | _______________________________________________________________| Sir David Donn Sir William Ruad | | | | d.1327. | | | Clan Mac David Ulick Burke of Annaghkeen, d. 1343. Raymond Walter Óge | | Richard Óg Burke, d. 1387. | | Burke of Clanricarde Earl of Clanricarde A New History of Ireland, volume IX, Oxford, 1984. Burke's East Galway
Republic of Ireland
Ireland known as the Republic of Ireland, is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, located on the eastern part of the island, whose metropolitan area is home to around a third of the country's over 4.8 million inhabitants. The sovereign state shares its only land border with a part of the United Kingdom, it is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, St George's Channel to the south-east, the Irish Sea to the east. It is a parliamentary republic; the legislature, the Oireachtas, consists of a lower house, Dáil Éireann, an upper house, Seanad Éireann, an elected President who serves as the ceremonial head of state, but with some important powers and duties. The head of government is the Taoiseach, elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President; the state was created as the Irish Free State in 1922 as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. It had the status of Dominion until 1937 when a new constitution was adopted, in which the state was named "Ireland" and became a republic, with an elected non-executive president as head of state.
It was declared a republic in 1949, following the Republic of Ireland Act 1948. Ireland became a member of the United Nations in December 1955, it joined the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the European Union, in 1973. The state had no formal relations with Northern Ireland for most of the twentieth century, but during the 1980s and 1990s the British and Irish governments worked with the Northern Ireland parties towards a resolution to "the Troubles". Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, the Irish government and Northern Ireland Executive have co-operated on a number of policy areas under the North-South Ministerial Council created by the Agreement. Ireland ranks among the top twenty-five wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita, as the tenth most prosperous country in the world according to The Legatum Prosperity Index 2015. After joining the EEC, Ireland enacted a series of liberal economic policies that resulted in rapid economic growth.
The country achieved considerable prosperity between the years of 1995 and 2007, which became known as the Celtic Tiger period. This was halted by an unprecedented financial crisis that began in 2008, in conjunction with the concurrent global economic crash. However, as the Irish economy was the fastest growing in the EU in 2015, Ireland is again ascending league tables comparing wealth and prosperity internationally. For example, in 2015, Ireland was ranked as the joint sixth most developed country in the world by the United Nations Human Development Index, it performs well in several national performance metrics, including freedom of the press, economic freedom and civil liberties. Ireland is a member of the European Union and is a founding member of the Council of Europe and the OECD; the Irish government has followed a policy of military neutrality through non-alignment since prior to World War II and the country is not a member of NATO, although it is a member of Partnership for Peace. The 1922 state, comprising 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland, was "styled and known as the Irish Free State".
The Constitution of Ireland, adopted in 1937, provides that "the name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland". Section 2 of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948 states, "It is hereby declared that the description of the State shall be the Republic of Ireland." The 1948 Act does not name the state as "Republic of Ireland", because to have done so would have put it in conflict with the Constitution. The government of the United Kingdom used the name "Eire" and, from 1949, "Republic of Ireland", for the state; as well as "Ireland", "Éire" or "the Republic of Ireland", the state is referred to as "the Republic", "Southern Ireland" or "the South". In an Irish republican context it is referred to as "the Free State" or "the 26 Counties". From the Act of Union on 1 January 1801, until 6 December 1922, the island of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. During the Great Famine, from 1845 to 1849, the island's population of over 8 million fell by 30%. One million Irish died of starvation and/or disease and another 1.5 million emigrated to the United States.
This set the pattern of emigration for the century to come, resulting in constant population decline up to the 1960s. From 1874, under Charles Stewart Parnell from 1880, the Irish Parliamentary Party gained prominence; this was firstly through widespread agrarian agitation via the Irish Land League, that won land reforms for tenants in the form of the Irish Land Acts, secondly through its attempts to achieve Home Rule, via two unsuccessful bills which would have granted Ireland limited national autonomy. These led to "grass-roots" control of national affairs, under the Local Government Act 1898, in the hands of landlord-dominated grand juries of the Protestant Ascendancy. Home Rule seemed certain when the Parliament Act 1911 abolished the veto of the House of Lords, John Redmond secured the Third Home Rule Act in 1914. However, the Unionist movement had been growing since 1886 among Irish Protestants after the introduction of the first home rule bill, fearing discrimination and loss of economic and social privileges if Irish Catholics achieved real political power
Lusmagh is an area and townland in County Offaly, situated three miles south-west of Banagher. It is bounded on three sides by rivers, the River Shannon, the River Lusmagh and the Little Brosna River, it is a Roman Catholic parish, in the Diocese of Clonfert, the only parish in the Diocese east of the River Shannon. Prior to 1373, Lusmagh was in the province of Connacht. According to the history of the O'Kellys of Hy-Many, the name means the plain of the healing herbs. In Christian times, the parish was named Cill Mochonna, after Saint Mochonna. Saint Crónán founded a monastery in the parish; the name Lusmagh was restored to the Parish around 1810. The present Roman Catholic parish church is named after St. Crónán. Cloghan Castle was built as a monastery by St. Crónán in 600; the Normans fortified the remains of the monastery in 1203 by building a defensive wall around it, a part of which still exists. The Gaelic Chieftain Eoghan O’Madden constructed the castle keep in 1336, his kingdom stretched to the west as far as Loughrea in County Galway.
The castle was attacked and razed in 1595 by Sir William Russell, the Lord Deputy, confiscated for the Crown. It was granted, together with 6,000 acres, to Sir John Moore in 1601 and he was responsible for the existing oak beamed roof. Sir John was sacked from his Government post; the castle remained in the Moore family until it was taken by Cromwellian soldiers in 1654. They remained in residence until 1683, it was garrisoned by the Jacobites in 1689 and 1690 and remains of their gun emplacements can still be seen in the grounds. The Moores were good landlords and tried their best to alleviate the suffering of their tenants in the Great Famine of 1845 to 1847; as a result of the Famine, the Moores had to sell the lands. It was purchased by Dr. Robert Graves, the Dublin Doctor who discovered Graves Disease of the thyroid, at the insistence of his wife, he died a year after purchasing the castle. After his death, his widow evicted up to 100 tenants from the property, his grandson sold it in 1908 before emigrating to Australia.
The land of Lusmagh was taken over by the Land Commission, divided among the local tenant farmers around 1910. Lusmagh was the birthplace of Michael Larkin one of the three Manchester Martyrs, he was born on the properties of Cloghan Castle, the entrance of, just past St. Cronan's Church and parish house. Lusmagh is best known for its hurling tradition. Joachim Kelly, Brendan Bermingham, Jim Troy, Brendan Kelly, Pat Temple and John Troy have all won All-Ireland Senior Hurling medals with Offaly as well as numerous provincial titles. Brendan Kelly, Ronald Byrne and John Troy have won All-Ireland Minor medals, with John Troy having the distinction of being one of only three men in the history of the GAA to win three all-Ireland Minor medals. Lusmagh GAA club won their one and only County Senior title in 1989, having been promoted from the Junior ranks in 1973, they defeated Seir Kieran in the final by one point. Joachim and John Kelly and Brendan Bermingham figured on both the successful teams of 1973 and 1989.
Lusmagh have won two All-Ireland 11-a-side titles, an annual club competition, held in Carlow, beating neighbours St. Rynagh's of Banagher in the inaugural competition in 1990 and Ferns in 2000. In 1908, Edward Dolan, 20 years old, left Lusmagh as an emigrant to Australia. On the long journey he wrote a song about the pain of emigration and of parting from his native land, which he enclosed with his first, only, letter home, he was never heard from again, but news has surfaced of his life. He worked for the railways in the Northern Territory in Darwin circa 1923–30, he was a founder member of the Wheat Growers Union in Western Australia in 1930 to enable small scale farmers to join together to get a better deal as they were being thrown off their farms by the government of the day. This union was much left leaning and allied to the Australian Labour party, it morphed into Cooperative Bulk Handling, the backbone of all wheat handling in Western Australia to this day. Edward or "Ned" passed away in 1956 aged 69.
The Lusmagh Herb: The Annals of a Country Parish, 1982
In medieval Irish myth, the Fir Bolg were the fourth group of people to settle in Ireland. They were descended from the Muintir Nemid, an earlier group who abandoned Ireland and went to different parts of Europe; those who went to Greece became the Fir Bolg and returned to the now-uninhabited Ireland. After ruling it for some time, they were overthrown by the invading Tuatha Dé Danann; the Lebor Gabála Érenn tells of Ireland being settled six times by six groups of people. The first three—the people of Cessair, the people of Partholón, the people of Nemed—are wiped out or forced to abandon the island, it says. All but thirty of Nemed's people were wiped out. Of this thirty, one group flees "into the north of the world", one group flees to Britain, another group flees to Greece; those who went into the north become the main pagan gods of Ireland. Those who went to Greece become the Fir Bolg; the LGÉ says that they were enslaved by the Greeks and made to carry bags of soil or clay, hence the name'Fir Bolg'.
The Cét-chath Maige Tuired says that they were forced to settle on poor, rocky land but that they made it into fertile fields by dumping great amounts of soil on it. After 230 years of slavery, they leave Greece at the same time. In a great fleet, the Fir Bolg sail to Iberia and on to Ireland. Led by their five chieftains, they divide Ireland into five provinces: Gann takes North Munster, Sengann takes South Munster, Genann takes Connacht, Rudraige takes Ulster and Slánga takes Leinster, they establish the High Kingship and a succession of nine High Kings rule over Ireland for the next 37 years. The last High King, Eochaid mac Eirc, is the example of a perfect king; the Fir Bolg are said to contain two sub-groups known as the Fir Domnann and Fir Gáilióin. After 37 years, the Tuath Dé arrive in Ireland, their king, asks that they be given half the island, but the Fir Bolg king Eochaid refuses. The two groups meet at the Pass of Balgatan, the ensuing battle—the First Battle of Mag Tuired—lasts for four days.
During the battle, the champion of the Fir Bolg, challenges Nuada to single combat. With one sweep of his sword, Sreng cuts off Nuada's right hand. However, the Fir Bolg are defeated and their king, Eochaid, is slain by the Morrígan, though Sreng saves them from total loss. According to some texts, the Fir Bolg flee Ireland. According to others, the Tuath Dé offer them one quarter of Ireland as their own, they choose Connacht, they are mentioned little after this in the myths. The name Fir Bolg is translated as "men of bags"; the Irish word fir means "men" and the word bolg/bolc can mean a belly, sack, so forth. It has been suggested that it meant men who were'bulging' or'swollen' with battle fury. Today, most scholars regard the Lebor Gabála as myth rather than history, it is thought that its writers intended to provide an epic origin tale for Ireland that could compare to that of the Israelites, which reconciled native myth with the Christian view of history. Ireland's inhabitants are likened to the Israelites by fleeing slavery and making a great journey to a'Promised Land'.
The pagan gods are depicted as a group of people with powers of sorcery. The Historia Brittonum—which is earlier than the Lebor Gabála—says there were only three settlings of Ireland: the people of Partholón, the people of Nemed, the Gaels. However, it mentions that a leader called Builc or Builg and his followers had taken an island called Eubonia, believed to be the Isle of Man; the Lebor Gabála increases the number of settlings to six. It has been suggested that this number was chosen to match the "Six Ages of the World"; the name may be based on, cognate with, Belgae. The Belgae were a group of tribes living in northern Gaul; some have suggested that the writers named a fictional race, the Fir Bolg, after a real group, the Belgae. Others, such as T. F. O'Rahilly, suggest that the Fir Bolg, Fir Domnann and Fir Gáilióin were real peoples who arrived in Ireland in ancient times, he proposed that the Fir Bolg were linked to the historical Belgae, the Fir Domnann were the historical Dumnonii and the Fir Gáilióin were the Laigin.
It is suggested by John Rhys and R. A. Stewart Macalister that the Fir Bolg are the Fomorians under another guise; the Fomorians seem to have represented the harmful or destructive powers of nature, while the Tuath Dé represented the gods of growth and civilization. The Tuath Dé fight two similar battles at Mag Tuired, one against the supernatural Fomorians and one against the human Fir Bolg. In the myths, the Fir Bolg are the only group of settlers who do not encounter the Fomorians and the two groups never appear together. Na fir bolg Fir Ol nEchmacht Carey, John "Fir Bolg: a Native Etymology Revisited" in: Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies 16, pp. 77–83. Squire, Charles Celtic Myth and Legend. London: Gresham Arbois de Jubainville, Henri d' Le Cycle mythologique irlandais. Osnabrück: Zeller Wilde, Sir William R. Loch Corrib, Its Shores and Islands. Dublin: McGlashan & Gill, chap. viii Arrowsmith, with Moorse, George Field Guide to the Little People. London: Macmillan
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