Crank House, situated on the corner of Main Street and Crank Road, affectionately referred to as ‘‘the Crank’’, has a long and varied history in the town. Very little is known of its origins, except that it probably dates from the 18th century and very likely consisted originally of two town houses. Its bow shaped front doorway is very striking and found in other buildings in Banagher and Offaly. Crank House was used as a Technical School in the early part of the 20th century.
Offaly West Enterprise Society Ltd. was set up during the recession of the 1980’s. This community enterprise was established to develop community employment. It was the result of an initiative by Maynooth University and Shannon Development. Known as Offaly West this co-operative purchased Crank House from Williams Waller and restored the building under a Community Youth Training Project. Pat Killian was the Foreman and Brendan O’Loughlin was the Enterprise Development Officer of the project. Offaly West has approximately 240 shareholders and the Crank House is operated on their behalf by a Board of Directors who include Margaret Barton, Chairperson, George Smith, Secretary, Martin O’Rourke, Treasurer, Catherine Grimes Horan, Mark Clarke, Jim Nolan, Tom D’alton and Mary Killeen.
At present facilities at the Crank House are leased to Offaly West Training (I.T. Training), Bird Watch Ireland, Vinehouse Kitchen, Niall Grogan (Agricultural Consultancy Work), and Co.Offaly Local Development Company whose projects located in Crank House include Reception, Home Fix, Small Farm Advice Service, Tús, Life and Business Coach, Youth Worker, Business Development Program, Community Development Workers, Rural Development Officer, Small Holders Farming Program.
Offaly West manage the Tourist Office along with Secretarial Services and Internet Access. The Long Room is available for community group meetings, cultural activities and exhibitions. Recent renovations of the ground floor will hopefully extend the tourist facilities on offer. Offaly West also sponsors the Fás Community Employment Scheme which employs 22 people on different projects in Banagher, Shannon Harbour, Cloghan and Lusmagh.
The Board is very proud and happy to provide facilities for so many enterprising initiatives in West Offaly. Drop in and visit us!
Long Room used for:
Bridge Classes: Summer & Winter – Contact Ann McGuckin on 05791 51495
Meetings: Political, Tidy Towns, Comhaltas, Art Exhibitions, Exhibitions of an historical nature & various other organisations
Upstairs Office: Spiritualist – Joy Connolly
Music Lessons: Mark Sullivan 087 7911750
Various one to one meetings
Courtyard Office used for:
Chiropody Clinic: Avril Strong, Chiropodist 087 9930127
Craft Classes: Tuesday & Thursday