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Irish Name: Uíbh Fhailí- "The Children of Failge"
County Town: Tullamore
Nickname: The Faithful County
GAA Colors: Green, White, and Gold
Famous People with Offaly roots: Barack Obama, Patrick Kavanagh, Charles Carroll, William Bulfin, Colonel Oliver North, Brian Cowen, Mundy, Neil Delamere, William Parsons, Shane Lowry, William Trevor, Barry Glendenning
The county of Offaly is situated in the centre of the island. Although mostly made up of level plains and the Bog of Allen it rises to the rugged Slieve Bloom Mountains in the southeast. The River Shannon makes up the western border of the county and the Grand Canal crosses the width of the country.
The county is replete with a rich and ancient heritage. Clonmacnoise, one of the most famous historical sites in Ireland, was founded 1,500 years ago. Plundered many times by raiders during its early years it grew into one of the most important centres of learning in the country and is the resting place of the last High King of Ireland. An excellent visitors centre provides a wealth of information on this history of the site.
The mountains in the southeast provide quality hill-walking through hills and valleys bursting with wildlife and bird watching is extremely popular in the county where river, mountain, forest and bog environment ensures an incredible variety of birds. The Shannon in the west is also convenient for cruising and angling. Long, lazy days spent anchored in the waters of the Shannon are one of the most relaxing ways to spend a summer day.
The main Offaly towns of Tullamore and Birr are attractive places to visit with Tullamore home to the famous Tullamore Dew and Irish Mist whiskeys, and one of the best shopping locations in the midlands. Birr is a handsome Georgian town with the castle being one of the main attractions.
One of Offaly's more unique attractions is the internationally important raised bog called the Blackwater. The Clonmacnoise and West Offaly Railway gives you a unique opportunity to enjoy a tour of the area and learnt the story of the formation of the peat bogs that were such a crucial part of the Irish economy in the past.
Offaly is a county of contrasts. The natural splendour of the county takes in many different types of natural beauty. The one thing that can be found in every part of the county is a warm welcome from the inhabitants who will do their utmost to make every visitor feel like a known and trusted friend. Pubs beckon in the passer-by in every corner of the county and it's there that you'll meet the most attractive feature of 'King's County', her people.
Common Surnames in Offaly: Abbot, Adams, Ahearne, Armstrong, Auliffe, Bergin, Berry, Baldwin, Boylan, Cunningham, Dolan, Cologan, Kelly, Dunne, Molloy, Carroll, Egan, Dempsey, O'Connor, Daly, Fitzpatrick and Lalor.