Daingean, formerly Philipstown, named after King Philip II of Spain, is a small town in east County Offaly, Ireland. It is situated midway between the towns of Tullamore and Edenderry on the R402 regional road.
Daingean was originally named Philipstown in 1556 when it was established as the county town of the newly-shired King’s County that was planted by Queen Mary I.
The town and the county was so named after her husband and co-monarch Philip who was the titular King of Ireland. From his wife’s death in 1558 he resigned, and was soon afterwards crowned as Philip II of Spain.
The town was once the seat of the O’Connor clan, who were chieftains of the surrounding area of Offaly. Its current name of Daingean, from Daingean Ua bhFáilghe, means fortress of the Uí Fáilghe clan, a name that it derived from the medieval island fortress of O’Connor Faly.
In 1883, Tullamore replaced Daingean as the focal point of the county, being on a railway line. As a result, Philipstown was demoted from county town to village and as a result lost most of its political status. With the foundation of the Free State in 1922, the village was renamed Daingean, at the same time as County Offaly replaced the old style of King’s County.
In the 1850s the jail (then known as Philipstown Gaol) was used to detain people who were convicted and sentenced to transportation to Australia while they waited for a ship to transport them. Many of them died in the jail after spending several years waiting to be transported.