Local archaeologist to explore the glass-making history of Shinrone

A view of the glass furnace during excavation.

It is not well known that at the beginning of the 17th century South Offaly was at the center of a flourishing glass industry in Ireland. In fact, the village of Shinrone was making glass 170 years before Waterford’s famous glass industry was established.

Today, the wood-fired glass kiln, in the aptly named town of Glasshouse, is the only surviving kiln in Ireland, Britain and France.

Shinrone Heritage Group, as part of Heritage Week, is delighted to have renowned archaeologist, Caimin O’Brien, visiting Shinrone to give an on-site lecture on the Glass Furnace on Tuesday August 16 from 6:45 p.m. at 8:30 p.m.

Caimin, from the nearby town of Birr, played a pivotal role in uncovering the historical significance of the site which he excavated over two seasons.

As SHG Secretary Anne-Marie Healy commented: “He is an extraordinary survivor of the 1620s, when the Shinrone district had large forests of oak and ash.”

It is of course this forestry that has attracted glassmakers to South Offaly. Such is the international importance of the Glass Kiln that in 2018 it was selected as a European Year of Cultural Heritage project, subject to sensitive conservation with the support of Offaly County Council and from Creative Ireland.

Join renowned archaeologist Caimin O’Brien on site as he shares his insights into this unique aspect of our culture of built materials, the origin of glass making, the French connection and the international events that gave a impetus to this industry in Ireland.

After the lecture, everyone is welcome at Cloughmoyle School House, Shinrone (R42 YN97) for some refreshments.

Shinrone Heritage Group asks everyone to meet at the Shinrone Community Center car park (R42 KD51) for a 6:45 p.m. departure to the site.

Carpooling is encouraged and a bus will be available to transport a limited number of people to the site. The Glass Furnace is on private property, at the end of an alley and parking is very limited. The organizers ask you to watch the weather for this evening and to bring appropriate footwear.

Further information on this event or anyone interested in joining SHG can contact Ger Murphy (T) 087 101 5991 (E) [email protected] or check Facebook @ShinroneHeritageGroup