ANYONE with even a passing interest in Clara will not want to miss this month’s OHAS lecture on one of its most industrial sons, Robert Goodbody, whose legacy is visible around that town this very day.
The lecture takes place next Monday, April 23 at 8pm in the Offaly History Centre, Bury Quay, Tullamore.
The Goodbodys’ industrial activities in Clara created considerable employment and resulted in it being one of the few towns to increase its population between the Famine and Irish independence.
Robert (pictured) and his five sons, who were connected by marriage to some of the leading merchants and manufacturers of the day, used their increasing wealth to alleviate distress during the Famine years.
By 1860, the family provided lighting for the residents of Clara when they built the gas works, and, four years later, they started a major jute factory.
By the early 1900s, this forward-looking family had organised a motor conference at Clara to encourage the improvement of roads and were among the principal backers of Marconi when he was developing radio.
This family’s business acumen was not confined to Clara alone!
Tullamore also benefited from the families commercial interests where they started a general store in 1837, a tobacco factory in 1848 and an animal feed manufacturing business in 1892 not to mention involvement in various infrastructure improvements around the town.