Edgeworthstown located in the heart of Ireland’s Hidden Heartland takes its name from the celebrated Anglo Irish Edgeworth family who were granted lands during the Plantations by James 1 in 1619. The family went on to become a reforming family and made a major contribution to the development of the state we now enjoy.
In the mid 1960’s a group of like-minded members of the community came together to establish The Edgeworth Society. The society aimed to research, protect, conserve and promote the legacy of the Edgeworth family. Over the years the society experienced its up’s and downs. Initially, the members undertook extensive research and assembled a collection of valuable Edgeworth memorabilia. Not having a home to display these objects they were put in storage. In recent years, having acquired an 1840 school building from the Edgeworth family the Society decided to develop the Maria Edgeworth Centre and open up the artefacts and the story to a wider audience. In its efforts to promote the legacy of the family the Society run a number of events throughout the year including – The Maria Edgeworth Literary Festival, guided walks and talks.
Like any organisation we are only as good as the people involved and we are very lucky to have some great people involved now and down through the years. Principal amongst these are Matt Farrell, our Chairperson who has devoted a big part of his life to preserving the history of the town, this dedication earning him the National Heritage Hero award in 2016.
Angela Tuite, chairperson of the Literary Festival Committee has been the driving force behind it’s continued presence on the cultural and literary calendar for the past twenty five years.
Carmel Noone, as administrator with the Edgeworthstown District Development Association she has played key roles in various projects that have enhanced and improved the infrastructure and community of the town.
John McGerr – has been involved in the publication of two books of local history, archives our activities in photos and video, and maintains our social network presence.
Camilla Kelly – a relative newcomer to the group she was pivotal in managing the development of the Centre and helping it get to the place it is today.
Others like Mary Kelly, Goretti Hannon, Mary Melvin Geoghegan, Brigid Duffy, Pauline Flood, James Kelly, Mary Reilly as well as members of Tidy Towns, Mostrim Players and the Edgeworthtsown Traders have also contributed to the running and staging of events, organising the Literary Festival, helping with refreshments for visitors and the myriad of behind the scenes activities that help keep things running as smoothly as possible.