About the Society

Founded in 1965, The Old Athlone Society preserves and publishes the history of the Athlone area, mainly by annual programmes of lectures and through its occasional publications. The society marked its fiftieth anniversary in 2015.

Gallipoli Lecture, Old Athlone Society

Mr. Zeki Guler, Counsellor at the Turkish Embassy in Dublin, H.E. Dr. Ruth Adler, Australian Ambassador, Prof. Jeff Kildea, UCD, Dr. John Keane, President of The Old Athlone Society, and Lt. Col. David Goulding, O/C Custume Barracks, Athlone, November, 2014.

Ian Kenneally

2013 Old Athlone Society Conference

Former Taoiseach John Bruton, Dr. Pat McCarthy, Col. Denis Harrington, Dr. John Keane, Mr. Justice Adrian Hardiman, Dr. John Regan, and David Davin Power, Old Athlone Society Conference, 2013.

Vice Presidents:
Lt. Col. Sean Quilty
Dr Aengus Finnegan

Honorary Secretary:
Mary Bannon

Honorary Treasurer:
Dr Aengus Finnegan

Patrick M. Cooney
Noel F. Heavey








History of Athlone

The Old Athlone Society Emblem

Presidents of The Old Athlone Society
1965/66/67/68 – Alfred J Faulkner
1969/70/71 – Rev E.H. Langton-May
1972/73/74/75/76 – Brendan O’Brien
1977/78/79/80 – Dr Harman Murtagh
1981/82/83/84/85/86/87 – Alfred J Faulkner
97/98/99/2000 – Gearoid O’Brien
2000/01/02/03/04/05 – Donal O’Brien
2005/06/07/08 – George Eaton
2008/09/10/11 – Tom Nolan
2011/12/13/14/15 – Dr John Keane


Billy English and The Old Athlone Society

Billy English

N. W. English
Each year the Society holds a memorial lecture to commemorate Norman William (Billy) English, a founder member and honorary secretary of The Old Athlone Society since its inception in 1965, until his sudden death at the age of 56 in February 1978. Billy was an auctioneer in Athlone. While not a professional historian and antiquarian, his endeavours for many years were connected with the history and development of Athlone and its hinterland. He demonstrated that he had a true historian’s instinct with which he developed a deep knowledge of, and affection for, his native region.

To The Athlone Society, he left the legacy of a thriving historical society, a museum that later became The Athlone Castle Museum, and a journal often used for reference by historians. Highly regarded as a lecturer, he was in constant demand by historical societies in all parts of the country. Billy frequently contributed articles to many historical journals including: Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries in Ireland; The Irish Sword; and Journal of The Old Athlone Society. Living as he did near Goldsmith country and Lough Ree meant that he was an authority on Oliver Goldsmith, the inland waterways of Ireland and being a keen sailor wrote: Lough Ree Yacht Club 1770-1970 a memoir, to mark the bicentenary of the club.