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Coordinates: 53°16′00″N 7°30′00″W / 53.2667°N 7.5000°W / 53.2667; -7.5000
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Tulach Mhór
From top left: O' Connor Square, Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Lady, Tullamore Town Hall, town park
Flag of Tullamore
Coat of arms of Tullamore
Tullamore is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°16′00″N 7°30′00″W / 53.2667°N 7.5000°W / 53.2667; -7.5000
73 m (240 ft)
Time zoneUTC±0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (IST)
Eircode routing key
Telephone area code+353(0)57
Irish Grid ReferenceN335248

Tullamore (/ˈtʊləˌmɔːr/; Irish: Tulach Mhór, meaning 'great mound') is the county town of County Offaly in Ireland. It is on the Grand Canal, in the middle of the county, and is the fourth most populous town in the Midlands Region, with 15,598 inhabitants at the 2022 census.[1]

The town retained Gold Medal status in the National Tidy Town Awards in 2015 and also played host to the World Sheep Dog Trials in 2005, which attracted international interest in the region. The Tullamore Show is held near the town every year. The town's most famous export is Tullamore Dew – an Irish whiskey distilled by Tullamore Distillery – that can be traced back to 1829. The original distillery was shut down in 1954. The brand was later resurrected, but at first was produced at the Midleton Distillery in Cork. However, in 2014, the brand's new owners, William Grant & Sons, invested in a new distillery near Tullamore, bringing whiskey production back to the town.[2]


In the Middle Ages, Tullamore was within the Gaelic territory of Firceall ruled by the O'Molloy clan. Firceall was part of the Kingdom of Meath. The Tullamore area was part of the first English plantations in Ireland during the 1550s when land was confiscated from the native Irish and colonized with English settlers. Firceall was divided into the baronies of Ballycowan, Ballyboy and Eglish, with Tullamore located in Ballycowan.[9]

The Tullamore area, comprising some 5,000 acres, was granted by the English to Sir John Moore in 1622. At that time the Tullamore estate included a ruined castle, ten cottages and two water mills. Sir Robert Forth, who leased the lands from Thomas Moore (son and heir of Sir John), built a mansion house c.1641 in what is now the Charleville demesne. Charles Moore, Lord Tullamore, grandson of Thomas, eventually regained possession of the estate and when he died in 1674 it went via his sister to Charles William Bury. Charles William was later (1806) created the 1st Earl of Charleville in a second creation of the title.[10]

On 10 May 1785, the town was seriously damaged when the crash of a hot air balloon resulted in a fire that burned down as many as 130 homes, giving the town the distinction of being the location of the world's first known aviation disaster.[11] To this day, the town shield depicts a phoenix rising from the ashes. The event is yearly commemorated by the Phoenix festival which celebrates Tullamore's resurrection from the ashes following the accident.

The Grand Canal linked Tullamore to Dublin in 1798. During the Napoleonic Wars, a clash between troops of the King's German Legion and a regiment of British Light Infantry who were both stationed in the town, became known as the Battle of Tullamore. Tullamore became county town of County Offaly in 1835, replacing Daingean.

Tullamore has a long history of whiskey distilling, with two distilleries known to have operated in the town in the 1780s, though closed some years later.[12] Subsequently, a new distillery was established by Michael Molloy, on the site of one of the old distilleries in 1829.[12] When Molloy died, the distillery first passed to his brother Anthony, before eventually making its way into the hands of his nephew, Bernard Daly.[12] When Daly died, his son, Captain Bernard Daly took ownership of the business. With an estate in Terenure, Captain Daly left the day-to-day running of the business to Daniel E. Williams, the distillery's general manager, under whose careful watch the distillery grew and prospered, and launched Tullamore Dew, the whiskey which bears his initials. Williams brought electricity to Tullamore in 1893. The distillery installed the town's first telephones and introduced motorised transport. Williams ran various commercial businesses throughout the Irish midlands – drinks businesses, tea importing, seed and grain retail, and a network of 26 general stores.[citation needed]

Following this period, Prohibition in the United States, an economic war with Britain in the 1930s, and World War II all harmed the industry. Tullamore was one of many Irish distilleries affected by a general decline in Irish whiskey sales worldwide. After World War II, Desmond Williams, grandson of Daniel E. Williams, used modern marketing techniques to re-establish Irish whiskey in world markets. In 1947, Desmond Williams also developed Irish Mist, an Irish liqueur made from a blend of whiskey, herbs and honey, using a recipe alleged to have disappeared in the late 17th century and to have been rediscovered in a manuscript 250 years later. Williams also capitalised on the Irish coffee concept, and promoted blended whiskeys along with Tullamore Dew.


Patrick Street, Tullamore

The Tullamore Phoenix Festival was an annual celebration of art, culture and heritage first held in August between 2000 and 2007.[citation needed] Festival events included hot air balloons, concerts, street entertainment, a parade, and fireworks.[citation needed]

The Queen of the Land Festival takes place in Tullamore each year on the second weekend in November. Primarily a personality contest, it seeks to find the best examples of a modern Irish woman. It is organised by Offaly Macra Na Feirme. Each year about 25 girls between the age of 17 and 35 compete to be crowned Queen of the Land. The festival provides a host of entertainment throughout the town over the weekend, primarily at night.

An annual Tullamore Show takes place on the second Sunday of August every year. It was cancelled in 2007 and 2008 due to heavy rain, though it ran again in 2009.[13] Agriculture was originally the show's main focus, but this has broadened to include entertainment, food, crafts, lifestyle, trade stands, food and refreshments, fashion and entertainment.[citation needed]

Hugh Lynch's Pub on Kilbride Street has been operating as a public house since the early 1800s. In the early 1900s it was bought by the Williams Group, founders of the D.E. Williams Distillery, and run as a public bar and grocery, along with many other outlets in the Irish Midlands, from which they sold their growing whiskey brand "Tullamore Dew". It has been in the Lynch Family since 1971.

The national Fleadh Cheoil was held in Tullamore for the very first time in August 2007. It returned in 2008 and returned for the third time from 21 to 23 August 2009.[14]

The National Ploughing Championships, Europe's largest Outdoor Exhibition and Agriculture Trade Show, was held in Screggan, Tullamore in 2016. The total attendance figures for the 2016 Championship came to a record-breaking 283,000. The show returned to Screggan in September 2017.[15]

Places of interest[edit]

Charleville Castle
A bottle of Tullamore Dew whiskey
Tullamore Dew

The Tullamore Dew Visitor Centre on the banks of the Grand Canal focuses on the distilling, canal and urban history of the town.[16] Audio visual and self-guided tours are available.

Charleville Estate is located on the edge of the town. One of Ireland's most splendid Gothic buildings, Charleville Castle, stands in this parkland setting which contains the King Oak, one of the biggest and oldest oak trees in the country. The castle is said to be haunted and was featured on series 1 of Living TV's Most Haunted.[17] The oak woodland is botanically an important survivor of primeval stock. The park was the location of the annual Tullamore Agricultural Show. However following the cancellation of the show for two consecutive years due to heavy rainfall the event was moved to a new location with improved drainage in the Blue Ball area, south of the town.

Tullamore is used as a base for the Slieve Bloom Mountains to the south of the county.[citation needed]

Just south of Tullamore are the unique 'Lough Boora' parklands. The boglands are a landscape for a wide range of flora and fauna. The wetlands and wildlife wilderness of Lough Boora now hosts some of the most innovative land and environmental sculptures in Ireland.[citation needed] The artists, inspired by the rich natural and industrial legacy of the boglands, have created a series of large-scale sculptures that are now part of the environmental sculpture park Sculpture in the Parklands. [citation needed]

10  km west of Tullamore is the village of Rahan. The remains of what was once a large monastery settlement founded by St.Carthage or Mochuda in the 6th century, can be seen in the village.

Within 5 minutes drive is the Celtic cross of Durrow. In the middle of the 6th century, a monastery was founded here by Saint Columba. The monastery is famous for an illuminated manuscript, written here in the 7th century, known as the Book of Durrow. [citation needed]

There are four metal sculptures located on the N52 Tullamore bypass funded under the percentage for arts scheme where 1% of the budget is allocated to roadside art.[18] Sculptor Maurice Harron created the figures presenting symbols of learning and sanctity. From the north the 1st figure holds up a chalice, the 2nd a book, the 3rd a crosier and the 4th shows the release of a flock of birds representing souls. The figures are located on esker ridges that the new roadway cuts through.[19]

There are also a number of churches in the town, including Tullamore Catholic Church, Tullamore Presbyterian Church and St. Catherine's Church of Ireland church.

Tullamore Town Hall, which dates from 1786, used to be a private house known as Acres Hall.[20]


Bridge Centre Shopping Centre, Tullamore

As the county town of Offaly, many government services are located here such as the headquarters of Offaly County Council, the Midlands Regional Hospital and HSE services. Government departments located in the town include the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Department of Education.

Tullamore has traditionally been an important industrial, retail and services centre for County Offaly. When the Grand Canal opened in the late 18th century, it offered increased connectivity to the town and offered an increased market for goods produced in the area. Tullamore Dew, a brand of Irish Whiskey was first distilled in the town in 1829. Tullamore was connected to the national railway network in 1854 by the Great Southern and Western Railway company, now Iarnród Éireann. Tullamore is also located near the boglands of the Bog of Allen. This provided employment through the work of Bord na Mona. Agriculture is also important to the local economy.

A number of industrial estates are located in the town. For example, in Srah Industrial Estate, employers include multinationals like Sennheiser, GeneMedix, Covidien, Isotron and Zannini.[citation needed]


The Bridge Centre, is one of the main shopping areas in the town centre, with shops including Dunnes Stores, Vero Moda, and Holland and Barrett.[21] The Tullamore Retail Park on the Portarlington Road also has a mix of shops including Tesco, Heatons, Petmania, Harry Corry and Woodie's DIY. In September 2016, Boots opened in the town centre. This is the largest outlet outside of Dublin city centre and Cork. [citation needed]


From 1975 until 24 March 2008 Tullamore was the home of RTÉ Radio 1's principal medium-wave transmitter, broadcasting the AM version of Radio 1 on 567 kHz, at a power of 500 kW. Before this, the main transmission centre had been sited near Athlone. Tullamore is also home to the headquarters of Midlands 103. It is home to a number of local newspapers including The Tullamore Tribune and The Offaly Independent.[citation needed]

Tullamore features in several books by the best-selling author Lyn Andrews.


The population of Tullamore (and its environs) rose from 10,029 in 1996[22][23] to 15,598 in 2022, an increase of over 55%.[1]

Transport and access[edit]

Tullamore railway station 1982

Tullamore railway station, first opened on 2 October 1854,[24] is served by trains on the Dublin-Galway and Dublin-Westport/Ballina inter-city routes.

In association with the County Westmeath urban centres, Athlone and Mullingar, Tullamore forms part of what is known as the Midlands Gateway.

Tullamore lies on the N52 national secondary road. This connects to Birr in the southwest of the county and continues towards Mullingar which is located to the northeast. At Kilbeggan (about 12 km north of Tullamore) the N52 forms an interchange with the M6 motorway which connects Dublin and Galway. The N80 national secondary road connects Tullamore with Killeigh, Mountmellick and Portlaoise, travelling in a southwards direction. A number of regional roads run through the town such as the R420 connecting Tullamore to Moate, Clara and Portarlington, and the R421 which connects to Kinnitty.

N52 Tullamore Bypass[edit]

In 2009, Tullamore was bypassed by re-routing the N52 away from the town centre. The bypass is to the east of the town,[25] and is a 14 km (8.7 mi) single carriageway which leaves the previous N52 approximately 6 km (3.7 mi) southwest of Tullamore, intersecting with the N80 road, crossing over the Grand Canal, before rejoining the original N52 3 km (1.9 mi) north of the town. A spur was constructed from the northern section of the route to the Tullamore Western Relief Road R443 creating in an almost-full orbital route around Tullamore. The N80 now terminates at its junction with the N52. The scheme began construction in April 2008, and was officially opened in late 2009 by then Taoiseach Brian Cowen.[26]


Tullamore has a number of sporting organisations, including Gaelic games, association football, rugby union and athletics clubs.[citation needed]

Gaelic games are represented by Tullamore GAA, Ballinamere GAA and Durrow GAA. Tullamore GAA won four senior football championships and one senior hurling championship in the early 21st century. Between football and hurling championships, Tullamore is the most successful club in the history of Offaly GAA. Ballinamere won the intermediate hurling championship in 2013, and therefore play senior hurling along with Tullamore. Durrow partakes in the senior 'B' football championship. O'Connor Park is the Offaly GAA home stadium for both the Offaly Gaelic football and hurling teams. The stadium has a capacity of 20,000 following an upgrade in 2006. The ground consists of a covered stand on one side of the pitch, with terracing on the other three. A stand was built in 1991 but replaced by the current structure in 2006. It seats 7,000 people and also includes a press box and a special section for wheelchair users.

Association football (soccer) is represented by Tullamore Town F.C. This club was founded in 1941 and have teams in the Leinster Senior League, Combined Counties League (2nd team Women's and Youths) and the Midland Schoolboys League.[27]

Tullamore Rugby Club was founded in 1937 and is based in Spollenstown. The Tullamore 1sts team was successful in 2012 as Ulster Bank All Ireland Jnr Cup Champions.[28]

Tullamore Harriers caters for athletics in the town, and was founded in 1953.[29]

Other leisure facilities include the Aura Leisure Centre Tullamore, located on Hophill Road, which has a full gym suite and a 25-metre swimming pool.[citation needed] Tullamore Golf Club has been situated at Brookfield since 1926 and has an 18-hole championship parkland golf course. It was rated among the top 25 parkland courses in Ireland in Backspin's 2014 Irish Golf Course Rankings.[30]


Tullamore has several primary schools. There are several Catholic schools, a Church of Ireland school, a Gaelscoil and an Educate Together school. There are three secondary schools in the town; Tullamore College, a coeducational, multidenominational vocational school, the Sacred Heart School, a Catholic all-girls school and Coláiste Choilm, a Catholic all-boys school.


Notable current and former residents of Tullamore include:


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Census 2022 | Profile 1 - Population Distribution and Movement | F1015 - Population". data.cso.ie. Retrieved 29 July 2023.
  2. ^ "Tullamore Dew opens Irish distillery". Drinks Industry Ireland. 17 September 2014. Archived from the original on 18 January 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  3. ^ "Census for post 1821 figures". Archived from the original on 9 March 2005. Retrieved 25 July 2009.
  4. ^ "HISTPOP.ORG - Home". www.histpop.org. Archived from the original on 28 August 2009. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  5. ^ "Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency - Census Home Page". Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  6. ^ Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". In Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A. (eds.). Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
  7. ^ Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November 1984). "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700–1850". The Economic History Review. 37 (4): 473–488. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x. hdl:10197/1406. Archived from the original on 4 December 2012.
  8. ^ "Sapmap Area - Settlements - Tullamore". Census 2016. CSO. 2016. Archived from the original on 13 January 2018. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Molloy Omolloy Clan Rally Firceall Molloy Family Geneaology Family Tree Ancestors Offaly Ireland - Omolloy Molloy Ireland Molloys". Omolloy.com. Archived from the original on 21 February 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  10. ^ "Charleville Demesne & The Burys, 1600–1900". Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
  11. ^ Byrne, Michael. The Tullamore Balloon Fire – First Air Disaster in History Archived 16 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Offaly Historical and Archaeological Society website, 9 January 2007 (retrieved 7 July 2011), which in turn cites:
  12. ^ a b c Harman, Murtagh (1980). Irish Midland Studies: Essays in honour of N. W. English, Athlone. pp. 213–228.
  13. ^ "Tullamore Show cancelled for second year after downpours". Irish Independent. 11 August 2008. Archived from the original on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2009.
  14. ^ "The 2009 Fleadh Ceoil". Archived from the original on 11 February 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2009.
  15. ^ O'Shea, Cormac (19 September 2017). "Ploughing championship 2017 LIVE: Good weather in Tullamore as it kicks off". Irish Mirror. Retrieved 9 September 2022.
  16. ^ "Irish Whiskey Distillery Tours & Tastings". Tullamore DEW. Archived from the original on 25 June 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  17. ^ "Season 1 Episode 16". tv.com. 10 September 2002.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 June 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "Error - Offaly County Council". www.offaly.ie. Archived from the original on 12 November 2019. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  20. ^ "Tullamore Town Hall, Cormac Street, Kilcruttin, Tullamore, County Offaly". National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Retrieved 16 November 2023.
  21. ^ "Stores – Bridge Centre Tullamore". Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  22. ^ "Demographic context" (PDF). Offaly County Council Development Plan 2009 – 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 October 2008. Retrieved 28 June 2008.
  23. ^ "Tullamore (Ireland) Agglomeration". citypopulation.de. Retrieved 17 September 2023.
  24. ^ "Tullamore station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 7 September 2007.
  25. ^ N52 Tullamore Bypass Scheme[dead link]www.nra.ie Archived 24 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ "Saints and Scholars Tullamore By Pass". Offaly County Council. 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2023.
  27. ^ "Home". www.tullamoretownfc.com. Archived from the original on 28 September 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  28. ^ "Tullamore Rugby Club, Offaly, Ireland". Archived from the original on 4 May 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  29. ^ "Tullamore Harriers". Tullamore Harriers. Archived from the original on 24 September 2021. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  30. ^ "About Us | Tullamore Golf Club". www.tullamoregolfclub.ie. Archived from the original on 19 June 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  31. ^ "Sunday with Miriam - Conor Brady". rte.ie. RTÉ. 17 January 2016. Archived from the original on 7 June 2020. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  32. ^ "Tullamore native awarded highest honour in world of architecture". offalyindependent.ie. Offaly Independent. 12 March 2020. Archived from the original on 7 June 2020. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  33. ^ Weber, Bruce. "Gerald Gardner, 83, Dies; Bolstered Sex Bias Suit" Archived 28 March 2019 at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times, 28 July 2009. Accessed 29 July 2009
  34. ^ "The Covid-19 Poverty Tsunami". Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice in Ireland. 24 April 2020. Archived from the original on 18 July 2020. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  35. ^ "Tribute to Michael J. Kelly SJ". www.jesuitmissions.ie. Archived from the original on 19 July 2020. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  36. ^ Kelly, Michael J.; Bain, Brendan (18 July 2005). Education and HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean. Ian Randle Publishers. ISBN 9789766371807. Archived from the original on 24 September 2021. Retrieved 3 October 2020 – via Google Books.
  37. ^ "Servant of God Alfie Lambe". Legion of Mary. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  38. ^ "Moving On". irishtimes.com. Irish Times. 19 September 1996. Archived from the original on 24 September 2021. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  39. ^ "Tullamore coach leads Irish athletes to fourth Paralympic Games". offalyindependent.ie. 15 July 2021. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
  40. ^ McHardy, Anne (9 January 2002). "Sister Genevieve O'Farrell: Resolute head whose dreams of educational excellence surmounted Belfast violence". The Guardian.
  41. ^ Nolan, Pat (7 April 2020). "Former Offaly football manager Fr Tom Scully dies after contracting coronavirus". Irish Mirror. Archived from the original on 9 April 2020. Retrieved 9 April 2020.

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