New Offaly archive building should be ready by summer

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ger.scully@tullamoretribune.ie

WORK on a new Offaly archive building is expected to be complete early in the summer.

In a major project, Offaly History has linked up with Offaly County Council to provide the facility at Axis Business Park, off the Clara Road in Tullamore.

Speaking at a presentation by Offaly county archivist Lisa Shortall, Michael Byrne, secretary of Offaly History, said the building will safely house original documents on the history of the county.

“We have been working on developing a county archive facility since 2016. In addition, our archive subcommittee has put many hours into researching the project and visiting other repositories,” said Mr Byrne.

Offaly History has already invested €350,000 of its own funds “gathered over decades” and the maximum LEADER funding from Offaly Local Development Company of €200,000 has been attained.

“At this stage we need to raise €200,000 to bring the project to completion. The shortfall in funding will need to be met by way of donations and loans,” said Mr Byrne.

“Loan approval has been secured to assist the project but further loans and donations will be needed. Work has already started under the design team McCarthy O’Hora with Carroll O’Keeffe as the contractors.”

Tullamore Central Library and Offaly History are working together to provide the county archive service, he explained.

“The benefit for Offaly is that we will have a cost effective coordinated approach to the provision of an archive and a service that will be a boon for local and community history. The aim is to provide good storage conditions, catalogued archival collections, and digitally available material for viewing on www.offalyarchives.com,” detailed Mr Byrne.

“It will be a one-stop shop in Offaly to meet the needs of the public,” he summed up.

In its budget for 2019, Offaly County Council set aside €36,000 for the archive service and said the facility in Axis Business Park will house both the Offaly History collection and the council’s own Offaly Archives.

Significant cataloguing work in 2018 included the Woodfield House collection (near Clara), and concluding the Loughton collection catalogue,which started in 2017, the council said.

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