National Enterprise Town Awards: Tullamore

We are profiling all the towns to enter this year’s National Enterprise Town Awards. Today we are looking at Tullamore, Co Offaly.

Tullamore is the capital town of the county of Offaly, and arguably the most central town in Ireland, located half way between Dublin and Galway.

Tullamore is a thriving and bustling town and a gateway to the midlands. Prosperity came in the form of the Grand Canal, a link from the port of Dublin in 1798. The easy access for goods and people led to the town’s rapid growth as a market and warehousing centre.

“Business in the town has grown from strength to strength over the years, with many international and national brands using Tullamore as their base to carry out business”

The town was the scene of the world’s first air disaster on May 10th 1785 following a hot air balloon crash. The technology was novel at the time and the vessel snagged on a chimney. All the buildings on the main street were destroyed and when rebuilding commenced it was decided to have wider streets and use a grid system, which allows for easy movement through the still to this day.

Tullamore has its share of fine buildings. St Catherine’s, a Gothic Revival church of 1818, was designed by Francis Johnston, the architect of Charleville Castle. Charleville Castle, which is located south western edge of town on the road to Birr, is one of Ireland’s most splendid Gothic Revival buildings and stands in beautiful woodland containing many splendid oak trees. The castle (open for guided tours by appointment) has 55 rooms including a superb gallery that runs the whole width of the building.

An artery of business

Situated on the Grand Canal, the town is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts, while golfers are spoilt for choice with the nearby Esker Hills and Tullamore Golf Clubs offering pristine courses in scenic surroundings. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore Offaly’s monastic heritage by visiting the monastic gem of Durrow Abbey and High Cross. Tullamore is also a big sporting town with an envious array of sporting facilities including the state-of-the-art Tullamore Harriers Stadium, BNM O’Connor Park (26,000 cap), Tullamore Town Soccer Club, Tullamore Rugby Club, Canoe Club, Triathlon Club, Swimming Club to name but a few. The very successful Tullamore Show Committee, hosts Ireland’s premier one day agricultural show every August, bringing sixty thousand plus people to the town.

Business in the town has grown from strength to strength over the years, with many international and national brands using Tullamore as their base to carry out business. Tullamore boasts local companies like Tullamore DEW, Irelands second biggest selling whiskey worldwide, Glenisk home of the organic yogurt, Carroll Cusine, McDonald International, ATSR, The Flanagan Group and international names like Integra Life Sciences, Cardinal Health, Sterris, Palladio, Sennheiser, all of whom are big employers and greatly contribute to the local economy.

Local organisations, old and new are a big part of the community. Recently through the work of OLDC, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, 40 Syrian refugee families have settled in Tullamore and are integrating into fabric of the town, with the children going to school and the parents involved in local groups, it has been a very successful program. Tullamore College won The Irish Red Cross Humanitarian award for their work on the Nonso campaign.

Tullamore hosted the Entente Floral Awards in 2018, a European-wide completion and the town was a hive of activity, with dignitaries from competing countries staying in all of our hotels and wide range of B&B’s. The local Lions Club, Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, Tidy Towns are very closely connected and have a great working relationship with the local Enterprise Office and County Council, working on projects like Offaly Tourism Ambassador Program, Tullamore Town Walking App, Christmas Lights, Tullamore Annual, Street cleaning, Tullamore Community Art’s Centre and many more.

Tullamore Chandler Sister Cities is now in its 11th year and have had many visits to and from each area. A very successful school twinning programme between the Sacred Heart in Tullamore and Seton High School in Chandler, Arizona, is now in its 10th year. There have been some very good cultural and heritage exchanges that have come out of this twinning with the potential for economic benefits to follow.

Tullamore image: Colin Park (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Edited by John Kennedy (

Published: 17 October, 2019