Showing 6 results

Authority record

Cunningham, George

  • Person

George Cunningham, FSA, D.Litt., (hc UL), M.Litt., MA (hc NUI Galway), author, historian, editor, publisher and bibliophile is a former primary school principal (Coolderry Central School, Birr) and a community activist at many levels, focusing on the promotion of heritage and the environment. He has been involved with promoting the south tip of Offaly since his first guided tour to Ely O Carroll territory in 1973, and was part of the first voluntary archaeological survey of Offaly in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He is also the founder and life president of Roscrea Heritage Society/Centre .

Now a national director of Crann, he has revived its South West Midlands branch, incorporating it into Roscrea’s Tidy Towns. He has taught and lectured at all levels and gave seventeen years public service to the Governing Authority, many years as Deputy Chair, of UL and chairman of its library development committee. Chairman of the Bolton Library Board, 1994 to 2010. He directed the Roscrea Conference (1987 to 2017) and the Spring conference in April 2017 was the 60th consecutive gathering at the Cistercian Abbey, Roscrea.

Prominently associated all his life with all aspects of Irish heritage and a noted bibliophile, his personal library contains in excess of 20,000 volumes. A major book project has been ongoing since 1987; to date over 65,000 books have been donated to schools, colleges, and charitable institutions. He has written or edited some sixteen books and hundreds of minor publications mainly on the Irish midlands and on the Burren.

Ennis, James A.

  • Person
  • d. 1983

James A. Ennis (NUI) (E 1925), a native of Rhode, County Offaly, was educated at Mount St Joseph, Roscrea and later at University College, Dublin and qualified in 1925. A year later he was admitted a solicitor taking first place in Ireland in his final examination. He took over the Rogers practice on James Rogers being appointed county registrar in 1926. James Ennis became a member of the Tullamore Urban District Council in 1932 and later its chairman. Like his father he became a member of Offaly County Council representing Fianna Fáil of which he was a committed member. He was appointed county registrar for Offaly in September 1943 when his old partner, James Rogers decided to give up the registrarship and return to private practice. Prominent in bridge circles he was also a foundation member of the Offaly Archaeological and Historical Society and was its treasurer for many years. James A. Ennis died in March 1983 and is buried at Rhode cemetery. He had retired from the position of county registrar in 1971 but went back into private practice at his residence for a few years following his retirement as county registrar.

Moran, Dr William

  • Person
  • 1886-1965

Dr William Moran, parish priest of Tullamore (1949-1965), is remembered by the people of Tullamore with affection and respect. To many parishioners he was seen as a character and there are few of the older parishioners who have not some humorous story to relate concerning him. Dr Moran came to Tullamore from Trim in October 1949 where he had been parish priest. He was a native of Castletowngeoghegan near Tullamore and was educated at St. Finian’s (Navan) and Maynooth College where he was ordained in 1910. He received a doctorate in divinity in 1913 and after four years as a curate in Mullingar and Collinstown he was appointed professor of dogmatic theology in Maynooth in 1917. In 1932 he became prefect of the Dunboyne establishment and librarian in 1932. From there he moved to Trim and in 1949 to Tullamore.

Although a competent parish administrator who gave his full support to the local schools building programme of the 1950s, Dr Moran was happiest among his books and produced a number of books and pamphlets on religious topics including his well known catechism. He also published a number of historical articles including this booklet on the history of Tullamore in 1962. But if Dr Moran was interested in the past he was also a forward thinking practical man. He seemed to take a special delight in running the annual Corpus Christi procession from the organ gallery of the church with the ‘Tannoy’ system he purchased in 1951. With this system Dr Moran could broadcast a Maynooth choir for the procession together with a taped recording of his own sermon while he walked around the church and listened, presumably, admiringly, to the whole event. With his background in theology and his wide reading, Dr Moran had no shortage of material for his sermons and was a fascinating preacher who held the congregation spellbound for the duration of his homily.

Dr Moran celebrated the golden jubilee of his ordination in June 1962 and sung a high mass in the presence of Dr Kyne of Meath and Dr Cronin of the Philippines. The sermon was preached by Dr Philbin of Clonfert. After a short illness Dr Moran died at the age of 79 in October 1965. Although he had been responsible for many improvements at Clonminch cemetery he desired to be buried in the church grounds in a plot chosen by himself. His funeral was attended by thousands of parishioners and about 150 priests, many of them old students of their former professor. His tombstone is now incorporated in the wall of the entrance to the east transept of the new Church of the Assumption, Tullamore (rebuilt in 1986 after the fire of 1983).

Moran’s history of Tullamore was assisted by the notes of Fr John Johnson of Harbour Street who did a lot of work but did not publish it. Moran’s history was the first to be published based on a research process with footnotes and a good spread of sources. A recording of his lecture on Tullamore given at St Mary’s Hall in 1962. This was published as Early history of Tullamore (Athlone, 1962, reprinted by Offaly History, Tullamore, 1989)

Rogers, James

  • Person
  • d. 1967

James Rogers of 12 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin and Tullamore was admitted a solicitor in March 1907 and was from Aughamore near Knock, County Mayo. After a short period in the Ordnance Survey Office he took up law and served his apprenticeship with the firm of A & L Goodbody at their Tullamore office. He established the firm of Rogers & Company at High Street, Tullamore, a few doors from where he had been trained probably in 1908 or 1909. He was enthusiastic about the Irish language and culture and was prominent in the Gaelic League and was subsequently employed in defending Sinn Féin prisoners connected with the ‘affray’ at Tullamore in March 1916. Rogers was election agent for the Sinn Féin candidates in 1918 and supervised all funds of the republican loan in County Offaly. He was election agent for the ‘Free State party’ in April 1922 and in 1923 was appointed state solicitor for County Offaly, the position of crown solicitor having been disposed with. Rogers resigned in August 1926 on his being appointed first county registrar for County Offaly. He married in April 1944 Miss Mary J (Mollie) O’Donnell, a daughter of Mr J. Rodney O’Donnell OBE and Mrs O’Donnell of 4 Royal Marine Terrace, Bray and the best man was the circuit court judge, William Gleeson. James Rogers retired from the position of county registrar in 1943 and returned to private practice, conveniently switching place with his old colleague, James A. Ennis. The move may have been for economic reasons in view of his impending second marriage. He had taken a keen interest in local history and was the founder of the Offaly Archaeological and Historical Society in 1938. James Rogers died in June 1967 some sixty years after he qualified. His old firm was closed by the Law Society in 1982 following the difficulties experienced by his successor, Eugene Hunt.