Bangher Festival 2015

Banagher Development group are hosting a festival from the 9th to 12th July. The festival is a celebration of Anthony Trollope in Banagher.

We’re delighted to see that there are some traditional skills worksshops planned during the event. Remember to book as places are limited.

The full timetable of events is now live, please see  booking form page for more information and to book into the workshops and events.

Here’s a taste of some of last years pottery workshops;

2014-01-18 Kinnitty Pottery-002 Pottery 2014-01-18 Kinnitty Pottery-010 2014-01-18 Kinnitty Pottery-015

Thats Beats Banagher Festival 2015

That Beats Banagher Festival 9th to 12th July 2015
“Banagher in the time of Anthony Trollope”

As part of a community initiative for the town of Banagher, the inaugural That Beats Banagher Festival will be held this year from 9th to 12th July.

The initial focus of the festival will be the town’s association with the writer Anthony Trollope (1815 -1882) whose bicentenary occurs in 2015.

Trollope resided here for three years during which time his life was transformed from one of abject despair in London to that of a confident and sociable member of local society in West Offaly. It is also fully accepted among his biographers that the initial inspiration for his literary career came during this period.

Banagher in the time of Trollope (1841 – 44) will be the focus of the events planned for that weekend; a celebration of his time spent in Banagher, his work with the Post Office and his voluminous literary output.

The town will take a step back in time with events such as building a miniature post boxes, workshops in traditional skills of the time, readings, Victorian market with afternoon tea in period dress and much more.


An evening recalling Anthony Trollope’s years in Banagher will be held on Thursday 11th June in The Crank House, Banagher at 8p.m. Local Trollopian enthusiasts and historians will recall the writer’s life, give details of his improved lifestyle in Ireland and recount events he would have witnessed while in Banagher. Details of a weekend festival to be held in Banagher from 9th to 12th July coming will also be announced. Refreshments will be served and everybody is welcome.


Anthony Trollope was born just over 200 years ago on the 24th April 1815. Major commemorative events are being held throughout this year to celebrate his success as a renowned author and also to recall his career in the British Postal Service. After a hesitant start Trollope became a very prolific writer, publishing forty-seven novels, collections of short stories and several travel books. His most celebrated works include the Palliser and Barsetshire series, famous for their portrait of the ecclesiastical, political and landed classes in Victorian England.


Trollope’s postal career began in 1834 when he was appointed junior clerk in the General Post Office in London. His work was rather humdrum and over the following seven years he was frequently in bother with his superiors. In August 1841when he learned of a vacancy for a surveyor’s clerk in the west of Ireland he immediately applied for the position and was readily accepted. Within a matter of weeks he arrived in Banagher to work with James Drought, the Surveyor for the West of Ireland. Over the next few years the quality of his life greatly improved. His income was much increased by the addition of travel and living allowances. Mr. Drought kept a pack of hounds and within a short time Trollope had bought a hunter and became a regular participant in the local fox hunt. Trollope’s time in Banagher coincided with the building of the present bridge. Like some of the engineers involved in the construction work Trollope joined the local masonic lodge. He was a regular attender at meetings and was elevated to the degree of Royal Arch Mason before his departure in 1844.
During these years Trollope also became engaged and married to Rose Heseltine from Rotheram whom he met in Kingstown, (Dún Laoghaire). There was a new purpose to his endeavours at work where his duty was to inspect and not be inspected. Most important of all he began to write. His first novel, ‘The Macdermotts of Ballycloran’, was inspired by a working visit to Drumsna, County Leitrim in September 1843.
While there is always the danger of parochial exaggeration it can be rightly claimed that Trollope’s life significantly improved at this time. His enhanced financial status and renewed zest for work gave a greater purpose to his life. The following quotation from his autobiography underlines his transformation: ‘But from the day on which I set foot in Ireland all these evils went away from me. Since that time who has had a happier life than mine.’

This event is hosted by Banagher Development Group, and supported by Offaly Local Development Company, Offaly County Council and Fáilte Ireland.


An evening in Banagher to celebrate Anthony Trollope


An evening  to celebrate the life and times of the great  writer Anthony Trollope (1815 – 1882)  will be held in Crank House on Thursday the 11th June at 8 p.m. Following a short presentation on Trollope’s life, particularly his years spent in Banagher, a preview of the forthcoming  Anthony Trollope  Festival in Banagher will be made.

This event will be held from the 9th to the 12th July and is part of a series of events commemorating the bicentenary of the author’s birth. Refreshments  will be served and everybody is welcome. The festival is hosted  by Banagher Development Group, and supported by Offaly Local Development Company, Offaly County Council and Fáilte Ireland.

West Offaly Training Open Days

West Offaly training will be hosting a series of open days in their training rooms at Crank House on the weekend of the 22nd to the 24th of August.  Anyone is welcome to come in and see the facilities and talk to the staff members about what they do in Crank house and around west and south Offaly, or just call in for a chat about courses and opportunities coming up in the future.  These open days are running in conjunction with the traditional skills event being held in Crank House which itself should be a fun and interesting event.

Campers at the last summer camp with their tutor Mary Byrne

Campers at the last summer camp with their tutor Mary Byrne


West Offaly Training is a community based training organisation, it’s aim is to have a local training centre providing affordable, quality training to the people of the midlands in particular West and South Offaly in order to help bring these areas in line with the rest of the country by targeting the traditionally forgotten and to help tackle the low levels of employment and educational uptake in the midlands and Offaly area.


They provide mostly ICT training from complete beginners with literacy problems to some of the more advanced subjects, such as advanced ECDL and level 5 QQI accredited subjects.  We also deliver certain “soft skills” programmes as and when demand arises, these would include Communication Skills, Personal Effectiveness, Interview Skills, Literacy Assistance etc.; most of these programmes are targeted at people who are starting out or restarting on an educational path to self-improvement


West Offaly Training also provides an open/walk in service to the public at large and facilitates larger organisations for training and examination purposes e.g. SOLAS, Laois and Offaly ETB and ECDL.

They have delivered this service for the last fourteen years with great success and that is just in the immediate Offaly area.

West Offaly Training began teaching introduction to computers (QQI – FETAC level 3) and ECDL and over the years they have progressed onto teaching advanced subjects and a complete range of QQI qualifications from single subjects to full major awards



As the title suggests this is a leisurely cycle with frequent stops to view points of interest on the landscape culminating with a picnic at Victoria Lock in Clonahenogue in Lusmagh.

The cycle will start from the Crank House car park on Saturday next 23rd August, at 10.30 a.m. and will finish back  there  about 2.30 p.m. Stops along the route through the townlands of Kylebeg, Kilmeelchon, Cogran, Ballymacoolaghan, Gortachallow, Incherky, Corclogh and Clonahenogue will include Fort Eliza (The Sal Battery), Cogran House, the Clonahenogue Canal and associated bridges, Hamilton’s Lock, Thomas Omer’s lock house built in the 1755 and other aspects of the built and natural heritage.

The destination of the cycle is Victoria Lock, built 1841-44, where we hope to enjoy a picnic lunch and a short walkabout overlooking the River Shannon and its tributaries. The total length of the cycle is about 20 km. or 12 miles. There is no charge for this event and everybody is welcome to come along but to help better organisation you can book here or ring Aileen at  087 943  0489  or Kieran at 087 257 1058. Don’t forget to bring your picnic and your pump!



As part of the Banagher Traditional Skills Festival this coming weekend two outdoor heritage events have been organised. On Friday evening next, 22nd August  there will be a guided walk to Kilrynagh ,the old church and graveyard in Church Street and to St. Paul’s, Church of Ireland graveyard at the top of the town.





The walk will focus on the art and craft of the stonecutters whose work adorns many of the tombstones as well as highlighting the genealogical information available from reading inscriptions. The memorials date from the Sixteenth Century to recent decades and record details of many local families. Among these are the MacCoghlans, Armstrongs, Bells, Buckleys, Egans, Feigherys, Finneys, Flatterys, Hartons, Horans, McIntyres, Millers ,Molloys, Mulhares, Woods, Wyatts  and many more.

Individual tombstones of note to be visited in Kilrynagh  include the tombs of the Misses Anne and Mary Fox whose generosity facilitated the coming of the La Sainte Union nuns to Banagher in 1863; the wrought iron cross of Nicholas Andrews  of Drogheda who died at Shannon Harbour in 1878; the World War 1 memorial to Corporal P.McLaughlin and the late sixteenth century tombstone of Sir John MacCoghlan. Hopefully the viewing of the Bell family headstones in St.Paul’s will generate discussion on the Bronte connection with Banagher. Among this group is the memorial to Arthur Bell Nicholls, husband of Charlotte Bronte, who retired to Banagher after her death and that of her father, in 1861 and lived on here until he died in 1906.



The walk will start from the front door of Crank House, Main  Street at 6.30 p.m. and should finish there at 9p.m. In the event of very poor weather a visual presentation will be made at an indoor venue nearby. There is no charge for this event and everybody is welcome to come along but to help better organisation you can book at here  or ring Aileen at  087 943  0489 or James at 085 710 7569


Launch of Traditional Skills Festival

Legacy Web Booking PosterThis year, the Legacy Traditional Skills project, spearheaded by Offaly Local Development company, set about the ambitious task of reviving some of these skills by running a series of traditional skills workshops at various locations throughout the county. These workshops were delivered by masters in their craft. You may have noticed the posters as you travelled the county, or have seen the posts online. Hopefully you got to take part in one of the workshops.

The climax of this project will be a celebration of tradition and heritage taking the form of the Traditional Skills Festival in Banagher, Co. Offaly in August (22nd to 24th). Over the three days, the town will play host to a series of workshops, demonstrations and other interesting events. Make sure to bring along your children too as there will be something for all the family. The workshops will include such skills as Pottery, Dry Stone Wall Building, Willow Weaving, Batik, and Felting. Many of the workshops will have both adult, and child suitable sessions. There will be something for all the family.

The full list of workshops and events is available on the website Here.

If you don’t want to miss out on learning that skill you’ve always wanted, make sure to log on to the website and book the workshop(s) you’re interested in. Also keep an eye on the website for any news related to the Traditional Skills festival.



offaly leader

Offaly’s passion to revive Traditional Skills

FeltingOffaly’s response to the traditional skills programme “Legacy” has just been amazing. Workshops have been booked out in every venue across the county and the feedback overwhelming. It’s shows us that there is a hunger for learning in Offaly and in particular for traditional Craft Skills. There is also a great respect for the many skilled trainers we have here in our county and for those who have travelled to deliver the workshops.

A big thanks to you all and please do keep an eye here for more exciting news on traditional skills workshops to come!



Supported by Offaly Local Development

Supported by Offaly Local Development