Irish: Éadan Doire
Main street Edenderry
Edenderry is a town in eastern County Offaly, near the borders with the counties of Kildare, Meath and Westmeath. The Grand Canal runs along the south of Edenderry, through the Bog of Allen, and there is a short spur to the town centre. The name is from the Irish Éadan Doire, meaning 'hill-brow of the oak wood'.
The R401 road from Kinnegad to the north and the R402 from Enfield to the east meet at the north-eastern end of the Main Street. At the Grand Canal they split, with the R402 continuing westwards towards Tullamore and the R401 heads south to Rathangan and Kildare.
The town enjoyed some growth in the 1950s and '60s, particularly with the building of peat-burning power stations at Rhode, Allenwood and Portarlington by the Electricity Supply Board.
The town could be classified as a dormitory town, where a high percentage of the available work force travel to jobs that require at least an hour's commuting time, with the counties of Dublin and Kildare being the primary destinations. This was evident around 2005-2008 when housing was in very high demand within the town, resulting in an unprecedented growth in population and housing stock.
In the 16th century, it had the name of Coolestown, after the family of Cooley or Cowley, who had a castle here, defended in 1599 against the Earl of Tyrone's rebellion. This subsequently passed by marriage to the Blundell family and was sacked in 1691 by the army of James II.
The Blundell's land passed subsequently to the Marquess of Downshire who reversed the earlier opposition of the Blundell sisters to the establishment of a branch to the Grand Canal to Edenderry and paid for the £692 cost of the project, which was completed in 1802.
By 1716 there was thriving woollen cloth manufacturing, established by Quakers, which employed around 1,000 people. By 1911 the town had grown to 2,204 people. Other industries included the factory of Daniel Alesbury who made a variety of woodwork as well as the first car manufactured in Ireland, the Alesbury, in 1907.
A single railway track connected Edenderry to nearby Enfield until 1963. The line provided both passenger and goods service until 1931, and goods only until it closed. In the years up to 1963 the line saw very infrequent service, and mostly carried livestock, sugar beet, and turf, as well as private excursions. Little remains of the line, except for occasional landmarks, such as the station house near the town centre on the Dublin road which is now a commercial business known as Station House Enterprises.
Most of the station yard and structures were intact until the late 1980s, with dual engine sheds, warehouse, loading gantries, a water tank, complete with a gantry hose, platforms and station master office. There was also a turntable basin located just behind the engine sheds, formed into the side of the hill with a 30' circular retaining wall on two sides, allowing engines to run in be turned and run out. locally the town municipal water supply was highly chlorinated and at times impossible to drink. After the station was closed and the turntable was removed a spring in the turntable basin provided fresh water, and was known locally as "Coughlin's well! ". It continued to be used into the 1980s with Offaly County Council maintaining this site for a while. The spring was reached by a set of steps just beside the station master's house off Father Kearns street.
The line was begun in 1873 1½ miles west of Enfield as a branch line, the Up-only junction being called "Nesbitt Junction". Finance was provided by a Mrs Nesbit. It was built by railway contractor Bagnell and opened four years later in 1877. Running and maintenance was by the Midland Great Western Railway. With no through running for scheduled passenger traffic, it was considered a branch or slip line. For the journey to Dublin passengers from Edenderry would have to wait in the detached coach for a scheduled Up bound train coming through the station, continuing on to Dublin or change platforms for westbound trains.
The population of Edenderry has almost doubled from 1996 to 2012:
- 1996 ... 3,825
- 2002 ... 4,559
- 2006 ... 5,888
- 2012 ... 7,460
- Finbarr Cullen, gaelic football player
- Neil Delamere, comedian
- Kevin Farrell, Journalist
- Frantic Jack, Irish Indie Rock band
- Liam Lawton, international composer and singer
- Eugene O'Brien, playwright, screenwriter, and actor
Famous visitors & residents
- Ron Delany, athlete, winner gold medal 1500 meters at the 1956 Summer Olympics
- Louis le Brocquy, artist
- Josef Locke, entertainer
- Michael Scott, architect
- Micheál Martin, politician and leader of Fianna Fail
Photos of Edenderry
- P.W. Joyce (1972). Irish Place Names. EP Publishing.
- Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland. 1837.
- Mairead Evans & Therese Abbott. Safe Harbour, Grand Canal at Edenderry. Edenderry Historical Society.
- Michael Murphy (2004). Edenderry, A Leinster Town. Offaly County Council.
- "Demographic context". Offaly County Council Development Plan 2009 - 2015. Archived from the original on 2008-10-30. https://web.archive.org/web/20081030030920/http://www.offaly.ie/NR/rdonlyres/A4AD027E-87E4-4353-917B-47C75D92768F/1095/Chapter2ContextandChallenges_FEB08.pdf. Retrieved 2008-06-28.
- Reynolds, Dierdre (7 Dec 2014). "‘I just think all performers are a bit weird...me included’ - Neil Delamere". Irish Independent. http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/theatre-arts/i-just-think-all-performers-are-a-bit-weirdme-included-neil-delamere-30796311.html. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
- "A robust performer with a Derry air". Irish Times. 16 Oct 1999. http://www.irishtimes.com/news/a-robust-performer-with-a-derry-air-1.239469. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
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