George Cunningham, FSA, D.Litt., (hc UL), M.Litt., MA (hc NUI Galway), author, historian, editor, publisher and bibliophile is a former primary school principal (Coolderry Central School, Birr) and a community activist at many levels, focusing on the promotion of heritage and the environment. He has been involved with promoting the south tip of Offaly since his first guided tour to Ely O Carroll territory in 1973, and was part of the first voluntary archaeological survey of Offaly in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He is also the founder and life president of Roscrea Heritage Society/Centre .
Now a national director of Crann, he has revived its South West Midlands branch, incorporating it into Roscrea’s Tidy Towns. He has taught and lectured at all levels and gave seventeen years public service to the Governing Authority, many years as Deputy Chair, of UL and chairman of its library development committee. Chairman of the Bolton Library Board, 1994 to 2010. He directed the Roscrea Conference (1987 to 2017) and the Spring conference in April 2017 was the 60th consecutive gathering at the Cistercian Abbey, Roscrea.
Prominently associated all his life with all aspects of Irish heritage and a noted bibliophile, his personal library contains in excess of 20,000 volumes. A major book project has been ongoing since 1987; to date over 65,000 books have been donated to schools, colleges, and charitable institutions. He has written or edited some sixteen books and hundreds of minor publications mainly on the Irish midlands and on the Burren.