It was during the Laois/Offaly Plantations that Laois
became known as the Queen's county. Emo Court and Gardens date from the
Georgian era and it is one of the most remarkable houses in Ireland.
Portlaoise means the fortress of Laoiseach Ceannmore, a relation of the
Red Branch Knights. Portlaoise is known for its large prison. Bord na
Móna is one of the main manufacturing companies in County Laois.
Set in the midst of the midlands of Ireland, County Laois
offers the visitor a myriad of places to visit and things to do.
The Rock of Dunamase, one of the finest celtic fortifications in
Ireland, looms dramatically above the plains east of Portlaoise.
Originally crowned by an Iron Age ring fort, the 13th century castle
which succeeded it is now more recognizable- although it was nearly
destroyed by Cromwellian forces in 1650.
Make sure to visit the towns and villages associated with the Quakers
and Huguenots and the waterfalls and valleys of the Slieve Bloom
The county boasts several gardens of note as well as angling, golf and
equestrian facilities for every level.
There are also numerous places to stay, places to eat and pubs in which
to experience traditional Irish music.
Laois is located less than 1 hour from Dublin and in
close proximity to most parts of Ireland. Its convenient location and
hassle-free environment makes it the perfect holiday base.
Laois is a County of rich contrasts and for people who want a different
experience of Ireland.
Laois, weathered by a turbulent past, is rich in heroic mythology. More
than 1,000 heritage sites tell the story of County Laois, which is
renowned for its stately houses and gardens such as Emo Court and
Heywood Gardens. From the magnificent Slieve Bloom Mountains which tower
over Laois to the historic Grand Canal and fishing villages, Laois is
truly a hidden gem.
If you are interested in activities and adventure, Laois is the place to
be! The range of activities are as varied as the landscape - golf,
horse-riding, walking, fishing, bowling are all available. Enjoy a visit
to a pet farm in the Slieve Blooms, a horse-drawn caravan trip along the
quiet winding roads in Laois or maybe a barge trip along the Grand
Canal. Visit the Western-style riding ranch at Fossey Mountain or go
paintballing in the Stradbally Woods - the choice is endless!
Laois in an interesting county with much to attract the
visitor. Tranquility is easily found – along the banks of the Grand
Canal at Vicarstown, or on the walking routes in the Slieve Blooms.
Visit the Round Tower at Timahoe or the Ramanesque door at Killeshin old
church. Enjoy the gardens surrounding the splendid Gandon House at Emo
and the Lutyens gardens at Heywood. Portlaoise, the county town is an
important cross-roads and gateway to the Slieve Blooms.
There are reminders in Portarlington of its Huguenot past, Mountmellick
is famous for its lace, while the estate towns of Durrow and Abbeyleix,
the latter a designated heritage town, have their own special character.
Ballyfin College is an imposing mansion. Stradbally is famous for its
Steam Festival and Museum. Visit the Donaghmore Famine Museum and the
Fly Fishing Museum in Attanagh. The county has fine un-crowded golf
courses, good fishing and equestrian facilities including horse-drawn
Dominated by the towering Rock of Dunamaise, it seems as
if Laois has protected its secrets for generations. But historical
treasures do exist. From the ancient Round Tower of Timahoe, the elegant
magnificence of Emo Court or the wild and lonely isolation of the Slieve
Bloom mountains, Laois boasts a diversity of remains and monuments to a
varied and proud past.
In the tranquil days of the early Christian era Laois was a haven of
piety and sanctity, the silent ruins which today are scattered
throughout the county, gentle but poignant reminders of the monastic era
which originally shaped our Christian heritage. The sept or seven-fold
system seems to have been a peculiarity of Gaelic civil life interwoven
with ecclesiastical divisions and custom. An old common saying was 'he
(she or it) is the talk of the seven parishes.' The 'Seven Laoises' was
a lose description of both land divisions and clan divisions and the
following names were generally recognised as the Seven Clans of Laois:
O'Moore, O'Lalor, O'Doran, O'Dowling, O'Devoy (O'Deevy), O'Kelly and
The Normans came amidst the din of military clamour but they were
quickly absorbed by the local population and Laois continued throughout
the medieval era as a Gaelic outpost on the borders of the Pale.
However, the storm clouds were looming on the horizon. For even though
the plantation of Queen Mary was easily brushed aside as the Great Hugh
O'Neill marched south towards Kinsale the administrative framework had
been established which allowed the modern county unit to emerge and
which would allow future plantations to succeed. The 17th century saw
the arrival of Cromwell and his troops and with his customary barbarity
he proceeded to obliterate the progress of centuries. The Rock of
Dunamaise was blown apart by rampaging Roundheads in 1650 and Laois,
like the rest of the country, was quickly subjugated. The rich, fertile
lands of Laois passed to the new colonists, the delightful demesne and
impressive houses still in existence, statements of the affluence and
prosperity which the county afforded. So come and explore, invite Laois
to tell of its past, and discover a wealth of history and heritage from
every generation of Ireland's past in this relaxing part of the
Abbeyleix District Hospital
Abbeyleix, Co. Laois
Tel: 0502 31204
Portlaoise General Hospital
Portlaoise, Co. Laois
Tel: 0502 21364
St. Brigid's Hospital
Shaen, Portlaoise, Co. Laois
Tel: 0502 46717
St. Fintan's Hospital / Laois-Offaly Mental
Portlaoise, Co. Laois
Tel: 0502 21205
St. Vincent's Geriatric Hospital
Mountmellick, Co. Laois
Tel: 0502 24211
Phone : (0502) 62650
Fax : (0502) 63731
McDonald, Tom and
Auctioneers and Valuers
Upper Main Street
Phone : (0502) 23643
Fax : (0502) 23084
E-Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone : (0502) 60500
Fax : (0502) 60503
E-Mail : email@example.com
THINGS TO DO