Dr William Moran, a distinguished man of letters and former parish priest of Tullamore (1949–65), published the article below in 1962 and in the same year as his pamphlet on the history of Tullamore. In many ways it was a seminal overview that has not as yet been superseded. Material has of course been published by the late Sister Dolores Walsh on the history of the Mercy schools in Tullamore while others have written of the Presentation schools in Rahan and Birr, Mercy Birr, Mount St Joseph, Tullabeg College, vocational schools in county Offaly including Tullamore, and primary schools in Durrow (See Irishhistoryonline and the OH Library catalogue online for guidance). Dr Moran’s strongly held and trenchantly expressed views come across in this piece.Continue reading
Planning for a new central Tullamore. By Fergal MacCabe. Knowledge-based support for creativity and innovation
Sometime in the 1830s, the architect William Murray (1789-1849), best known for designing mental hospitals all around Ireland, presented a quick outline of a new public square in Tullamore which would be bounded on three sides by fine houses and dominated on the fourth by the imposing portico of the recently erected County Courthouse.
The title of his drawing’ Thoughts for a Square at Tullamore, Ireland facing the Courthouse to be called ‘The Beaujolais’ suggests that it was not an actual commission but more likely a broad brush and quickly executed response to a remark by Lady Beaujolais Bury the wife of the local grandee, perhaps exchanged at a social gathering. Architects do this a lot to get business and Murray may have been trying to reconnect commercially with the family who had given his cousin Francis Johnston such valuable and prestigious commissions as Charleville Forest and St Catherine’s Church.
Of course Murray’s elegant scheme was never realised and was to be the last proposal for a civic design set piece in Tullamore for some time. In the 1950s, the urban planner Frank Gibney suggested the creation of a parkland setting for the Church of the Assumption but this notion was eventually shelved and for the following seventy years no further interventions which would combine coherent built form with public benefits were to be advanced and the planning of the town remained firmly in the hands of engineers whose principal spatial concern was the accommodation of the motor car.Continue reading