The membership of the Society is in excess of 300 members.
The society is a non-profit organisation and was founded in 1967 by a group of thoughtful and far-seeing people who realised the need to raise awareness in the community of the importance of our heritage and to promote an interest in the study of local history. The Society has been granted Charitable Status by the Revenue Commissioners for tax purposes (Charity No. CHY 12536).
It has an annual lecture programme usually consisting of five lectures, September to March on various topics of historical interest. There are also outings, normally three per year – one of 4-5 days in a part of Ireland, one or two day trips to surrounding areas and often an evening visit to a local site.
The society owns a major collection of artefacts, archives and books, currently in storage. It ran a museum in Main Street, Longford, 1991-1994, but it closed due to structural problems in the building. The society is currently in partnership with Longford County Council to develop a professionally-run County Museum for Longford.
The society has been active in having a number of plaques erected in historic locations. In Longford town, plaques have been erected to J.P. Farrell, local newspaper founder and Home Rule M.P.; the Dominican Priory; and Charlotte Brooke, author. It has provided sponsorship for several projects including the running of the N.U.I. Certificate in Local History, in Longford County Library (in association with N.U.I. Maynooth) 2004-‘05; the holding of the gathering of the Folklore of Ireland Society in 2006; and publications including the Longford fascicle of the Irish Historic Towns Atlas series (2010) and the major book, Longford: history and society (2010). In 2016, the society was involved in the commemoration of the centenary of the Easter Rising in County Longford, including by holding its first conference. The following year it celebrated its fiftieth anniversary.
There is a monthly Newsletter to keep members up to date on what is happening.
The Society’s Journal Teathbha (pronounced ‘Chafa’ – from an ancient name for the territory including Co. Longford) has been published intermittently since 1969. It includes a mixture of scholarly articles on aspects of Longford’s history, short pieces, book reviews, photographs, accounts of events of note e.g. commemorations. There is also a calendar of events since the previous edition and a membership list.
Besides this, many of our members are busy researching and writing articles on local history. In fact, the Society is among the foremost for the high level of activity in this regard and in the other activities mentioned. Our large paid-up membership is admirable considering the population of our small county. Currently the annual subscription fee for individual membership is €20; for family membership, €30; and life membership is €200. The committee may decide from time to time to award Honorary Life Membership to individuals who have given extraordinary or unusual service to the Society and issue certificates to them in recognition of their contribution.
The society is represented on the County Longford Heritage Forum, convened by the Heritage Officer of Longford County Council. It is a member of the Federation of Local History Societies.