Ferbane (Irish: Féar Bán, meaning "white grass") is a town on the north bank of the River Brosna in County Offaly, Ireland, between Birr and Athlone at the junction of the N62 National secondary road and the R436 regional road. The name of the town is said to come from the white bog cotton which grows abundantly in the surrounding Bog Of Allen. Ireland's first milled-peat fired power station was commissioned by the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) at Ferbane in 1957. Since the station's closure in 2001, the Shannon Development agency and the ESB have invested €1.4 million in the development of a new Business & Technology Park which opened in 2005. A new playschool was also built on the site which opened in September 2006.
Ferbane Business and Technology Park Ltd is a non profit making company with charitable status owned by the community. Phase one was ready in January 2005
Since its establishment, Ferbane Enterprise Group has worked non-stop to develop a unique Business & Technology Park in its region. That work is now bearing fruit in terms of jobs, investment and increased profile for the West Offaly town.
Over 10,000 square metres of office -Industrial units were completed since the park was opened with an additional 10,000 square metres approved -in the planning process.
Trivia On 27 October 2007 Ferbane assembled officially 142 area residents to participate in a globally simultaneous dance to the music of Michael Jackson's Thriller. Awaiting the official word from Guinness World Records, this would be the world record; surpassing Toronto's 2006 record of 62.
Pre-School: Bright Beginnings Childcare Centre, Ferbane Bright Beginnings opens from 7.45am until 6.00pm, for 51 weeks per annum. It closes for 1 week over the Christmas period. These hours may expand as demand for the services increases.
All of Ferbane's primary and secondary schools have a Catholic ethos and are regulated by the Department of Education and Skills through the national curriculum. These are:
Primary level: St. Cynocs National School – St. Cynoc's National School was founded in 2007 through the amalgamation of St. Mary's Boys NS and St. Mary's Girls NS.
Secondary level: Gallen Community School – Gallen Community School has been in existence since 2004 following the successful amalgamation of two schools in the town of Ferbane. The school was newly rebuilt in 2011 under the DES Public Private Partnership scheme.Ferbane GAA is the local Gaelic Athletic Association club.
Tony McTague is Ferbane's most famous sportsman. He won two All Irelands with Offaly in 1971 and 1972. He lifted the Sam Maguire Cup as captain in 1972.
Gallen Community school has also been successful in recent years with the senior team winning two all ireland titles in 2011 and 2016
The Grand Canal, which links up with the River Shannon, passes through Gallen townland.
Ferbane railway station opened on 29 May 1884, closed for passenger traffic on 27 January 1947 and finally closed altogether on 1 January 1963.
Bus: Ferbane is on the Bus Eireann Route 72 running between Athlone and Limerick.
Train: The closest train stations to Ferbane are Clara (17 km) and Athlone (19 km)
Taxi: Local Taxi services are not available. In Clara and Athlone there are taxi operators who will service Ferbane.
Local Buses: Local bus routes may come into being. Refer here: www.transportforireland.ie/
Sir John MaCoghlan built Coole Castle on the banks of the Brosna in 1575. It was the last of the MacCoghlan castles to be built. He erected it as a present to his second wife Sabina O'Dallachain. Formerly there was a mural slab in the castle with a Latin inscription translated in English as "“This tower was built by the energy of Sir John MacCoghlan, K.T. chief of this Sept at the proper cost of Sabina O'Dallachain on the condition that she should have it for her lifetime and afterwards each of her sons according to their seniority".
The whereabouts of the mural is unknown at present. In his will in 1590 Sir John left Coole Castle to his widow. Over the fireplace, in its original location, in the topmost room of the castle is a plaque written in Middle Irish which reads:
“SEAGHA (n) MAC (c) OCHL (ain) DO TINDSCAIN O SEO SUAS 1575” (“Sean Mac Cochlan began (this building) from this (date) 1575”)
Terence Coghlan built Kilcolgan Castle in the early 1640s. In 1646 the Papal Nuncio was sent to Ireland; he stayed for some time in the castle and wrote admiringly of the castle demesne with its beautifully laid out gardens and peacocks strutting on the lawns. The castle continued to be in the possession of the MacCoghlans until the 18th century when it became uninhabited and fell into disrepair. The remains of the castle were demolished in 1954 and the stones used to make foundations for the power station at Lumcloon.
Less than a kilometre south of the town, on the site of an ancient monastery founded by the Welsh missionary Saint Canoc in 492, stands Gallen Priory (formerly a convent of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Cluny, now a nursing home).
The area comprising Ferbane industrial park is locally known as the "cow park" as it was once a municipal grazing area for local residence. In the summer of 2013 the forested area of Ferbane's industrial park was turned into a car free walking area. The area includes a short walk along the "mill race", a narrow waterway, and a footpath through a predominantly oak-forest. Many spruce mature pines can be found in the area also. The restoration work was commissioned by Ferbane's tidy town members.
The Offaly Way: The National Waymarked Trail 'The Offaly Way' runs very close to Ferbane town. It is a 37 km route that starts at Lemanaghan and finishes at Cadamstown.
Boora Parklands' Trails: Lough Boora Discovery Park offers trails ranging from a short stroll to longer treks up to 22 km - refer to www.loughboora.com
Ferbane has a modern just refurbished public library with childrens' and adults' sections. Currently (2017) membership is gratis. The library has computer access, printing services and free wifi for those with their own devices.
Opening Hours Thursday 13:00-17:30 and 18:00-20:00 Friday 10:00-13:30 and 14:00-17:00 Saturday 10:00-13:00 Closed all other times.
Address: Gallen, Ferbane, Co. Offaly, R42 WF59
Townlands and places in the Ferbane (Wheery or Fuithre) parish include:Ballyclare
The black Boreen
Endrim Far (not doon)
Kilcolgan & The Derries