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The US president's ancestral home, a world-famous whiskey, and an extinct volcano. What more need we say! Photo by: Getty Images

15 reasons why Offaly is the greatest place in the world (PHOTOS)

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The US president's ancestral home, a world-famous whiskey, and an extinct volcano. What more need we say! Photo by: Getty Images

While the number of power plants in the county may have dropped significantly in recently years with the decommissioning of Ferbane and Rhode ESB stations, the peat-fired power plants at Edenderry and Shannonbridge (and the hydro-electric station at Belmont) still contribute a significant amount of power to Ireland's national grid (approx one twelfth of all output).

And this looks set to continue in future. Plans to construct thousands of wind-turbines across the county are afoot, meaning we'll be giving the rest of country wind in addition to our hot air for years to come.

7. ...but we respect their beauty

Sure they may sometimes look (and smell) like a recently slurried field, but the bog has an inherent natural beauty – and we're making the most of it.

Thousands of hectares of cutaway bog have been transformed into parkland, like the nature reserve at Boora Bog. It's no Grand Canyon, but we'll take it

8. We were pioneers in the fight against cancer

The man who developed radiotherapy in the treatment of cancer was born in Offaly. Look, I'm just as shocked as you are, but we're going to have to deal with it.

John Joly from Bracknagh was a bit of a whizz-kid when it came to all things science. He's also known for developing techniques to accurately estimate the age of a geological period, based on radioactive something or other.

9. Some of Ireland's finest musicians call Offaly home

We have Mundy…

...Simon Casey...

...and Frantic Jack

Isn't that enough for ya?

10. We're able to laugh at ourselves

We can't do an article about Offaly without acknowledging the big, ignorant elephant in the room.

Yes, I'm talking about BIFFO which, for those of you who are unaware, stands for Big Ignorant Fellow (or another F word) From Offaly. It was also commonly applied to our erstwhile leader Brian Cowen.

But the point is, we can laugh it off – even when it appears in official US diplomatic cables.

11. Birr Castle was home to the world's largest telescope

While the rest of the country was looking into the gutters, Offalians were looking at the stars. The Leviathan of Parsonstown (to give it its official name) was the largest telescope in the world between 1845 and 1917.

12. Clonmacnoise is one of Ireland's most important monastic settlements (and it's in fine nick too)

13. Even ghosts want to live there

Kinnity Castle outside Tullamore and Leap Castle near Birr are often described as two of Ireland's most haunted locations – and both have featured heavily on those ghost-hunting television series too. You know the ones.


14. Offaly is positively balmy at this time of year

If you're looking to catch a few rays, the Faithful County is the place to be. The highest air temperature recorded during the 20th Century was at Boora on 29 June 1976. So how hot are we talking? A scorchio 32.5°C.

15. Edenderry students are the fittest in the country

Students at Oaklands Community College in Edenderry were named the fittest in Ireland earlier this month after a national assessment carried out by DCU and the Wellness Economic Initiative Alliance. The lads and lassies beat out 218 other schools from around the country.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to do my crunches.

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