The Kilcormac area’s history goes right to the Mesolithic era, following the discovery of the nearby Lough Boora Mesolithic site, which is dated back to 6800-6500 AD. The town was originally settled by St. Cormac who founded a hermitage here. There is much lore and myth around the fascinating death of St. Cormac. A rare and historically important manuscript, the Kilcormac Missal was written here in the 14th Century and now resides in museum of Royal Irish Academy. The famous Pieta, a statue of Our Lady holding the body of Jesus, from the 16th Century, is located in the church in Kilcormac. Its very existence and survival is an intriguing story in itself – a symbol of the hardship suffered under Penal laws and brave local resistance to Cromwel and Crown’s forces. Kilcormac boasts a proud industrial heritage – at one point there was 13 mills on the Silver, three of those in the town of Kilcormac, including William’s River Mill, Egan’s Mill and a distillery. As the milling industry declined in the early 20th Century, the area benefited from the establishment of Bord Na Móna in the 1940’s. The commercial development of bogland in the vast area around Kilcormac became a bustling and thriving home to the multitude of workers who settled here from every county in the country. The significance of culture and heritage in the area is of great importance to the community. The success of numerous local musicians in Fleadhanna Ceoil, highlights the strong membership of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. Indeed, Kilcormac has hosted many Offaly and Leinster Fleadhanna Ceoil over the years. Ballyboy, a small village on the outskirts of Kilcormac is home to Ballyboy Comhaltas, which is one of the strongest in the country. Traditional arts, notably Bog Oak carving, is quite popular in the area. Our heritage and culture can best be experienced at events throughout the year, including the very unique St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Ballyboy Threshing Festival.
The Kilcormac Audio Guide will introduce you to the history and heritage of the town. We will also meet members of the community who have made this charming place their home.
To listen to the Kilcormac Audio Guide, click here
The audio guide will walk you through the rich history of the area where you will hear the story of Saint Cormac, who came here over 1500 years ago in search of a peaceful place, and in turn lent his name to the town. You will hear about the Kilcormac Pieta which survived the ravages of Cromwell’s army and lay hidden in a bog for over sixty years. We will also hear the story of how Kilcormac became a hub of peat production in the 20th century, and how, as that business diminished, a new amenity and wildlife sanctuary blossomed at Lough Boora, in its place.