County Offaly is the 18th largest of Ireland’s 32 counties in area and 23rd largest in terms of population. It is the fifth largest of Leinster’s 12 counties in size and ninth largest in terms of population. It is the largest county by area and the second largest by population in the Midlands. It borders seven counties, second only to County Tipperary, which borders eight.
(Motto – “Be Faithful”)
County Offaly History
The territory was long controlled in the south by the Ó Céarbhaill / O’Carrolls of Ely and in the North/East by the Ó Conchubhair Fáilghe clan, rulers of the adjacent / overlapping tuath of Uí Failghe.
Created from some of the remnant Gaelic captaincies on the borderlands of the ancient kingdoms of Meath, Munster and Leinster, the modern county was shired in 1556 by order of Queen Mary I, and named King’s County after her husband King Philip II of Spain. The original County Town was Daingean, long known as Philipstown.
Along with its neighbouring sister Queen’s County, the territory saw the first of the planned Plantations of Ireland.
Tullamore became the new County Town in 1833.
Both the county and its former administratice capital were renamed in 1922.