The front cover of the Offaly 2020 Annual
THE Chinese curse “may you live in interesting times” seems apt when reviewing 2020.
This time last year no one could have predicted what lay in store for people across the globe as the world “shut down” in a bid to battle Covid-19.
The virus has claimed thousands of lives here in Ireland, north and south, while millions more have been affected by the Government imposed restrictions, including two nation-wide lockdowns and another one which affected people here in Offaly and neighbouring Laois and Kildare.
But as we bid farewell to 2020 there is light at the end of the tunnel with a number of vaccines expected to be distributed among the general population before the end of the year.
The Offaly Annual 2020, produced by the Tullamore Tribune, Midland Tribune and sister online paper www.offalyexpress.ie, which is now in the shops, will hopefully provide a welcome respite to readers over the festive season from the doom and gloom which has dominated the headlines in 2020.
In the publication's 80 pages we have looked back at some of the events which shaped and influenced the county over the past year.
As such Covid-19 features prominently but we have highlighted the positive effects of the crisis and how many Offaly citizens went above and beyond the call of duty to aid their communities during the pandemic.
We also recall the contribution of some giants of life in Offaly who passed to their eternal reward in 2020.
Three recipients of the prestigious Offaly Person of the Year award in the past died in the past 12 months and we take an in-depth look at their contribution to society and their achievements on the sporting front.
Journalists in our three papers have also profiled some personalities who are still very much enriching local life including the recipient of the 2019 Offaly Person of the Year Award, Brendan Martin from Tullamore.
Unfortunately the gala presentation night to Brendan by the Offaly Association (Dublin), due to be held last March and then rescheduled to October, had to be postponed due to coronavirus restrictions on public gatherings but is is planned to hold the event in December.
Offaly has a rich history and in this Annual we recall events from the War of Independence locally and focus on a Killurin born parliamentarian who holds a unique political distinction in his adopted Australia.
Books focusing on topics of local interest form an important part of life in Offaly and local historian and Offaly History Society stalwart, Michael Byrne provides an overview of titles of local interest which would be ideal stocking fillers for Yuletide.
This Christmas people will no doubt welcome a chance to escape the dreadful news headlines and no better way to do so than to immerse yourself in the short story and poetry offerings published in this Offaly Annual.
The general election of February 8 last now seems a dim and distant memory but we refresh readers' memories with an overview of the campaign and results together with the other big political news stories of the year.
Last year was also the end of an era at the Tribune with the retirement of long-serving advertising manager, Phyllis Byrne who was well known the length and breadth of the Faithful County. We look back on Phyllis' extraordinary career which spanned over 45 years.
The Annual also features a host of festive related articles from quizzes to cookery tips.
It is available in local shops throughout the county and retails for €3.95 and is a perfect Christmas gift for friends and relations near and far.