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County Offaly

What's your Irish county? County Offaly

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County Offaly

Check out our "What's your Irish County?" series here

Irish Name: Uíbh Fhailí , meaning "The Children of Failge"

Nickname: The Faithful County

Population: 104,000

Area: 772 square miles

Province: Leinster

County Town: Tullamore

GAA Colors: Green, white, and gold

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

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

In brief: Offaly has everything to offer families, outdoor enthusiasts, culture vultures and thrill-seekers. A well-developed tourism experience awaits with quality accommodation, including hotels and bed & breakfasts, and plenty of choice for family activities, places to visit, great food to eat, friendly Offaly pubs to meet the locals and memorable experiences that will have you coming back to Offaly time and time again.

Key attractions: The county of Offaly is situated in the center of the island of Ireland. 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 county.

The county has a rich and ancient heritage. The monastery at 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 centers of learning in the country and is the resting place of the last High King of Ireland. An excellent visitor center provides a wealth of information on the history of this site.

Offaly is bursting with wildlife from the forests to the bogs to the mountains and river valleys.

Bird-watching is a particular popular past-time here. The Shannon in the west is also great 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. Tullamore is home to the famous Tullamore Dew and Irish Mist and one of the best shopping locations in the midlands. Birr is a handsome Georgian town. Birr's castle is one of the main attractions in the county.

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 while learning the story of the formation of the peat bogs, which were such a crucial part of the Irish economy in the past.

Offaly is a county of contrasts. The natural splendor 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.

Click here to view County Offaly photo gallery

Check out our "What's your Irish County?" series here


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