After leaving Birr, our next stop was Tullamore. By this time we were starvingly hungry as we missed breakfast in Portumna due to the fact that we left very early in the morning.
Tullamore (Tulach Mhór in Irish) is a town in County Offaly, in the midlands of Ireland. It is Offaly's county town and the centre of a district the population of which totals around 15,000.
Tullamore is an important commercial and industrial centre in the region. Major international employers in the town include 'Tyco Healthcare' and 'Boston Scientific'. In 2004, Tullamore Retail Park was formed. It includes outlets such as a Tesco Extra hypermarket, DID electrical, Argos Extra and Atlantic Homecare.
The town is home to the Midland Area offices of the Health Service Executive and its Midland Regional Hospital, which together employ over 1,000 people. A new state of the art hospital is currently under a phased opening process.
Tullamore was designated a 'gateway' town in late 2003 by the Irish Government, making it eligible for increased infrastructural investment. The town and its community received a bronze medal in the Government's National Tidy Towns Competition in 2004 and also played host to the 'World Sheep Dog Trials' in 2005 which attracted huge international interest in the region. The Tullamore Show is held in Charleville, Tullamore every year.
The town's most famous export is Tullamore Dew - an Irish whiskey previously distilled by Tullamore Distillery - that can be traced back to 1829. The distillery closed in the 1950s but its traces are still visible in the town. Tullamore Dew is now produced by Irish Distillers Ltd. in Midleton, County Cork, and marketed by Cantrell & Cochrane.