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Port Laoise, or Portlaoise
Portlaoise
(Irish [pˠɔɾˠt̪ˠˈl̪ˠiːʃə], anglicised /pɔːrtˈliːʃ/[7]), is a town in Ireland. It is located in Co. Laois in the South Midlands in the province of Leinster. With a population of 22,050[8] , it is the most populous and also the most densely populated County Town
Town
in the Midlands Region, which has a total population of 292,301 at the 2016 census.[8] The 2016 census shows that the town's population increased by 9.5% to 22,050, which is well above the national average of 3.8%.[8] This also makes it the fastest growing of the top 20 largest towns and cities in Ireland.[8] It was an important town in the medieval period, as the site of the Fort of Maryborough, a Fort built by English settlers in the 16th Century. Portlaoise
Portlaoise
is fringed by the Slieve Bloom mountains to the west and north-west and the Great Heath of Maryborough to the east. It is notable for its architecture, engineering and transport connections. On the national road network, Portlaoise
Portlaoise
is located 80 km (49 miles) south-west from Dublin
Dublin
on the N7/M7, 170 km (105 miles) north-east from Cork on the M8/M7 and 113 km (70 miles) east of Limerick
Limerick
on the M7. It was once famous for the manufacture of iron and steel buildings, tennis balls, rubber seals and electrical cabling. Today Portlaoise
Portlaoise
is a commercial centre, with the economy dominated by the service sector, and an important retail, transport, events and conference hub.

Contents

1 History 2 Local government 3 Demography 4 Economy

4.1 Retail 4.2 Tourism

5 Transport 6 Culture

6.1 Nightlife 6.2 Arts and Festivals

7 Charity 8 Sport 9 Notable people 10 See also 11 References 12 External links

History[edit]

Portlaoise
Portlaoise
Courthouse

The site where the present town is situated is referred to in the Annals of the Four Masters
Annals of the Four Masters
as Port Laoighisi during the 16th century. The present town originated as a settlement around the old fort, "Fort of Leix" or "Fort Protector", the remains of which can still be seen in the town centre. Its construction began in 1548 under the supervision of the then Lord Deputy Sir Edward Bellingham in an attempt to secure English control in the county following the exile of native Celtic chieftains the previous year. The fort's location on rising ground, surrounded to the south and east by the natural defensive barricades of the River Triogue and an esker known locally as 'the Ridge', greatly added to its strategic importance. The town proper was established by an act of Parliament during the reign of Queen Mary in 1557. Though the early fort and its surrounding settlement had been known by a number of names, such as Governor, Port Laois, Campa and Fort Protector, the new town was named Maryborough (IPA [ˈmarbrə]) and the county was named Queen's County in Mary's honour. In about 1556, Portlaoise
Portlaoise
acquired its first parish church—Old St Peter's—situated to the west of Fort Protector. Although first built as a Catholic church, thanks to Queen Mary's reestablishment of Roman Catholicism, the church was used for Protestant services after the accession to the English throne of Mary's half-sister, Elizabeth. The area had been a focus of the rebellion of Ruairí Óg Ó Mórdha, a local chieftain who had rebelled and had lost his lands, which the Crown wanted to be settled by reliable landowners. For the next fifty or so years, the new English settlers in Maryborough fought a continual, low-scale war with the Gaelic chieftains who fought against the new settlement. The town was burnt several times by the end of the sixteenth century.

Ordnance Survey Map, 1839, showing Maryborough

Portlaoise
Portlaoise
was granted a market in 1567, and then in 1570, a charter of Queen Elizabeth I raised the town to the rank of borough. This allowed the establishment of a Corporation of the Borough, a body which consisted of a burgomaster, two bailiffs, a town clerk, and a sergeant at arms, as well as various other officers, burgesses and freemen. Until the Act of Union took effect in 1801 and the abolition of its franchise, the town returned two members to the Irish Parliament. The Corporation itself existed until 1830. In 1803-04, a new Church of Ireland
Church of Ireland
church was built to replace the Old St Peter's and was the first building to be erected on the new Market Square. The building is attributed to architect James Gandon. Other notable buildings constructed in Portlaoise
Portlaoise
in the nineteenth century included the now-destroyed French Renaissance-style Town
Town
Hall on Market Square; the Court House on Main Street, built in 1805; the County Gaol built in 1830 to a design by William Deane Butler; and the neo-classical St. Fintan’s Asylum, built in 1832 on the Dublin
Dublin
Road. In 1929, a few years after the foundation of the Irish Free State, the town was renamed Portlaoighise (later simplified to Portlaoise) and the county was renamed County Laois.[9] A number of other towns in the Free State also reverted to their Irish (or anglicised Irish) names during this period.[citation needed] Local government[edit]

Bridge Street and Church of Sts. Peter and Paul

The town forms part of the Portlaoise
Portlaoise
Municipal District Local Electoral Area for elections to Laois County Council. This includes both the urban Port Laoise
Port Laoise
area, Abbeyleix
Abbeyleix
and Ballinakill
Ballinakill
and surrounding rural areas. Portlaoise's Town
Town
Council was abolished in 2014. Portlaoise
Portlaoise
is twinned with Coulounieix-Chamiers
Coulounieix-Chamiers
in the Dordogne département of France. Demography[edit] Portlaoise
Portlaoise
is one of Ireland's fastest growing towns, with a 37.9% increase in population from 2006 to 2011. Non-Irish nationals accounted for 21.7 per cent of the population compared with a national average figure of 12.0 per cent. Polish (7%) were the largest group, followed by Lithuanians (2.7%).[8] Portlaoise
Portlaoise
is known for having one of the highest percentages of black residents in the country.[citation needed] The former Mayor, Rotimi Adebari was the first person of African descent to become mayor in Ireland.[10] Portlaoise
Portlaoise
has the highest percentage of people under the age of 18 in Ireland. Due to rapid population growth due in particular to immigration from Eastern Europe especially Poland and Slovakia and its location in the commuter belt Portlaoise
Portlaoise
boasts some of the country's best services. These include a new fire station and a large swimming leisure complex. Portlaoise
Portlaoise
has three new secondary schools and five new primary schools (two upcoming). Due to the rapid population growth Portlaoise
Portlaoise
will see the opening of a new 1,000 student secondary school. Portlaoise
Portlaoise
has the highest percentage of youth per percentage of population in Ireland with the town considered to be the baby boom capital of Ireland. In the 2016 Census Portlaoise
Portlaoise
was again in the top 10 fastest growing regions with the population of Portlaoise
Portlaoise
town and its suburbs approaching 25,000. Economy[edit] Portlaoise
Portlaoise
has long been a major commercial and retail hub for the Midlands. Until the mid 20th century, the main industries of the town were flour milling and the manufacture of worsted fabric. Since their respective declines, among the largest employers are state owned bodies such as the maximum-security Port Laoise
Port Laoise
Prison, which houses the majority of the Irish Republican
Irish Republican
political prisoners sentenced in the Republic, the Midlands Prison, the Department of Agriculture and the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise. State owned companies Córas Iompair Éireann
Córas Iompair Éireann
(have a National Traincare Maintenance Depot in Portlaoise), the ESB (have a Training Centre in the town) and also An Post
An Post
are all major employers. In 2013 MyPay, a new central payroll system for 55,000 local authority employees across Ireland was set up in Portlaoise.[11] Due to its location and strong transport connections, The National Spatial Strategy chose Portlaoise
Portlaoise
as the location for Ireland's first Inland Port. This designation encourages the town to focus on the growth of distribution, logistics and warehouse uses. An Post
An Post
operate the second largest mail centre in Ireland (after Dublin) at their depot in Portlaoise.[12]

Midlands Regional Hospital

Retail[edit] Retail spaces include the Dunamaise Arts Centre which comprises a cinema, performance space and exhibition space, the Portlaoise
Portlaoise
Leisure Centre, Laois Shopping Centre, Kyle Centre, Parkside Shopping Centres and a retail park on the South Circular Road. Tourism[edit]

Rock of Dunamase

An 800-year-old hill-top castle at Dunamase A large Georgian estate home designed by James Gandon
James Gandon
and surrounding gardens at Emo Access to the Slieve Bloom Mountains
Slieve Bloom Mountains
and Forest Park A 12th-century Round Tower in Timahoe.

Transport[edit]

The railway station

[

v t e

] South Western Commuter

Legend

Phoenix Park Tunnel

to Dublin
Dublin
Connolly

Luas
Luas
Red Line

to Dublin
Dublin
Connolly or Point Depot

Dublin
Dublin
Heuston

Luas
Luas
Red Line

to Tallaght or Saggart

 

Inchicore

Works

 

Park West and

Cherry Orchard

M50 motorway

Clondalkin/Fonthill

Kishoge(future)

Adamstown

Hazelhatch and Celbridge

The Grand Canal

Sallins and Naas

The Grand Canal

River Liffey

Newbridge

Kildare

Dublin– Waterford
Waterford
Line

to Waterford

Monasterevin

The Grand Canal

River Barrow

Portarlington

Dublin–Westport/ Galway
Galway
Line

to Westport or Galway

Portlaoise

Permanent way
Permanent way
depot

Conniberry Junction

Togher Inland Port (future)

Portlaoise
Portlaoise
Traincare Depot

M7 motorway

Dublin–Cork Line

to Cork Kent

Portlaoise
Portlaoise
stands at a major crossroads in the Irish roads (major roads to Dublin, Limerick, Cork) network although construction in the 1990s of the M7 motorway, which bypasses the town, has reduced traffic congestion in the town centre. The town has a railway station served by intercity trains between Dublin
Dublin
and Cork and by Dublin
Dublin
commuter services. Maryborough railway station opened on 26 June 1847.[13]

Portlaoise
Portlaoise
town centre

. Portlaoise
Portlaoise
is one the busiest railway stations outside of Dublin. It is the terminus of the Portlaoise
Portlaoise
Commuter
Commuter
Service which stops at all stations to Heuston and runs hourly off peak and every 20/30 minutes during peak times. It is the busiest county town railway station in the Midlands Region, with up to 32 trains to Dublin
Dublin
(10 Non-Stop) and 30 trains from Dublin
Dublin
(9 Non-Stop) per day.[14]

Córas Iompair Éireann
Córas Iompair Éireann
opened a new rail depot south-west of Portlaoise
Portlaoise
town centre in March 2008 (officially opened on 25 July 2008). The depot provides a high quality maintenance and servicing facility for the 183 new intercity railcars and some facilities for outer suburban railcars serving the Kildare Route. Bus Éireann
Bus Éireann
operates an intercity service between Dublin
Dublin
and Cork/ Limerick
Limerick
which calls at Port Laoise. The town is the terminus for Dublin- Portlaoise
Portlaoise
coach services operated by Dublin
Dublin
Coach which is at James Fintan Lawlor Avenue, it also stops at Portlaoise
Portlaoise
Hospital and Kilminchy. Europcar
Europcar
offer a car rental location in Portlaoise.

Culture[edit] Nightlife[edit]

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Port Laoise.

Portlaoise’s central location within Ireland and its concentration of restaurants, pubs, bars and nightclubs around Market Square, Main Street and the Church Street area of the town centre and other nearby facilities such as Paintball, Golf, Bowling and other amenities make it a popular destination for Hens & Stag Parties and other weekend breaks. Portlaoise railway station
Portlaoise railway station
is the closest station to Stradbally Hall
Stradbally Hall
where the Electric Picnic
Electric Picnic
Festival is held each year. Arts and Festivals[edit] Every year the town hosts the Old Fort Quarter Festival in June, the Halloween Howls Comedy Festival on the October bank holiday weekend and the Leaves Literary Festival in November. Charity[edit] Since early 2008 Portlaoise
Portlaoise
has been the Irish base of Self Help Africa, formerly Self Help Development International, the Irish development agency engaged in implementing long term rural development programmes in Sub-Sahara. Established at the time of the Ethiopian Famine of 1984, Self Help is the chosen charity of the Irish Farmers Association.

Sport[edit]

Portlaoise
Portlaoise
RFC is the local rugby club, based just outside the town, at Togher. Portlaoise
Portlaoise
GAA is the local Gaelic Athletic Association
Gaelic Athletic Association
club and the most successful GAA club in Leinster. Portlaoise
Portlaoise
AFC is the local soccer club, based at Rossleighan Park, and has many unsuccessful graduates in the national league and cup competitions. Port Laoise
Port Laoise
Leisure Centre has a 25m pool, a gym, a FIFA-approved 2* Astro pitch, a soccer pitch, a large children's playground and a skate park. PORTLAOISE-SENIOR-BASKETBALL-CLUB Portlaoise
Portlaoise
Golf Club is based at an 18-hole golf course on Abbeyleix Road.

Notable people[edit]

Arthur Jacob
Arthur Jacob
(1790 - 1874) - Professor of Anatomy (Ophthalmologist). Sean O'Rourke - RTÉ journalist and broadcaster James Fitzmaurice – aviation pioneer. Pat Critchley - GAA dual player (Footballer & All Star winner at Hurling) Pat Boran – poet and radio presenter. Bartholomew Mosse, the founder of the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin Stephen Hunt – association football player, was born in Portlaoise in 1981. Pádraig Mac Lógáin – the only two-time President of Sinn Féin owned a pub on Main Street. Robert Sheehan
Robert Sheehan
– actor (Misfits, Love/Hate). Zach Tuohy
Zach Tuohy
– an Australian Football League
Australian Football League
player for the Carlton Football Club

See also[edit]

Ireland portal

List of towns and villages in Ireland

References[edit]

^ http://www.cso.ie/px/pxeirestat/Statire/SelectVarVal/Define.asp?Maintable=CD705&Planguage=0 ^ Census for post 1821 figures. ^ http://www.histpop.org ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2012.  ^ Lee, JJ (1981). "Pre-famine". In Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A. Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.  ^ Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November 1984). "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700–1850". The Economic History Review. 37 (4): 473–488. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x.  ^ John Murray, Doireann Ní Bhriain (12 February 2014). Pronunciation. John Murray Show. RTÉ. Event occurs at 18m55s–19m45s.  ^ a b c d e "Census of Population 2016 - Profile 2 Population Distribution and Movements". Central Statistics Office (Ireland). 2016.  ^ Port Laoise, Placenames Database of Ireland. ^ "Ireland elects first black mayor". BBC News. 28 June 2007. Retrieved 10 February 2017.  ^ http://merrionstreet.ie/en/News-Room/Releases/Minister_Alan_Kelly_T_D_launches_MyPay_-_payroll_and_superannuation_shared_service_for_local_authorities.html ^ http://www.eirephilatelicassoc.org/content/volume-3-number-8 ^ "Maryborough station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Retrieved 3 November 2007.  ^ "Grand Canal Dock to Portlaoise" (PDF). www.irishrail.ie. 20 November 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 

External links[edit]

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Port Laoise.

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Portlaoise.

Photographs of contemporary Portlaoise
Portlaoise
plus photos of, and documents relating to, old Portlaoise. Website of the local arts centre, The Dunamaise Centre, which incorporates a theatre and art gallery Halloween Howls Comedy Festival

v t e

Places in County Laois

County town: Portlaoise

Towns

Mountmellick Portarlington Portlaoise

Villages and Townlands

Abbeyleix Aghaboe Arless Ballacolla Ballaghmore Ballickmoyler Ballinakill Ballybrittas Ballybrophy Ballyfin Ballyhide Ballyhuppahane Ballylinan Ballyroan Barrowhouse village Borris-in-Ossory Castletown Clonaghadoo Clonaslee Crettyard Cullohill Donaghmore Durrow Emo Errill Jamestown Kilbricken Killeshin Mountrath New Inn Newtown Raheen Rathdowney Rosenallis Shanahoe Sletty Spink Stradbally The Swan Timahoe Vicarstown

Landforms

Arderin Baunreaghcong Bog of Allen Castlecomer Plateau Castleconor Garraunbaun Slieve Bloom Mountains

List of townlands in County Laois Category:Mountains and hills of County Laois Category:Rivers of County Laois Category:Geography of County Laois

v t e

Largest urban areas in the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
by population

List of urban areas in the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
by population

Dublin
Dublin
: 1,110,627 Cork : 198,582 Limerick
Limerick
: 91,454 Galway
Galway
: 76,778 Waterford
Waterford
: 51,519 Drogheda: 38,578 Dundalk: 37,816 Swords: 36,924 Bray: 31,872 Navan: 28,559 Ennis: 25,360 Kilkenny: 24,423 Tralee: 23,693 Carlow: 23,030 Newbridge: 22,742 Port Laoise: 22,050 Naas: 21,393 Athlone: 21,349 Mullingar: 20,103 Wexford: 20,072

Italics denote settlements with administ

.