A new online catalogue has been launched at Offaly History Archives to bring together an online catalogue of archival collections currently held in various repositories in County Offaly and elsewhere.
In addition, the site will feature free digitised resources. The first collection to be released comes from the Digby Irish Estates Papers (the originals are in Dorset, England), which is a vital resource for those researching the county in the 19th and 20th centuries. More than 1,000 images of the annual reports dating from 1857 to 1872 for the Geashill Estate are ready for viewing.
I've just been looking at the Annual Report for 1861 and reading about an on-going project of refurbishment to tenants' cottages, and (unconnected) the eviction of eight men identified as 'Ribbonmen'. The men are named as Loughlin Kelly of Ballina, Henry Bryan of Cross Keys (public house), John Clibborn of Clonmore, John Helion of Killurin, Darby Flanagan of Pigeonhouse, John Whelaghan of Colehill and William Grumby of Dalgan. They were, according to the land agent writing the report, conspiring to kill the landlord's son.
The new online archive is described as a work in progress and we can expect more finding aids and images and descriptive lists to be added to the database on a regular basis.