Port Laoise or Portlaoise (Irish [pˠɔɾˠt̪ˠˈl̪ˠiːʃə], anglicised /pɔːrtˈliːʃ/), is the county town of County Laois, located in the south midlands of Ireland, in the province of Leinster. With a population of 22,050 , it is the most populous and also the most densely populated County Town in the Midlands Region. The 2016 census shows that the town's population increased by 9.5%, which is well above the national average of 3.8%.. This also makes it the fastest growing of the top 20 largest towns in Ireland.
If you're already in town, the local tourist office at Lyster Square, just off Main Street in the town centre, is a good place to start for information. You can book accommodation and tours there, as well as find general information on where to go and what to do.
Portlaoise is on the main train line from Dublin Heuston to Limerick and Cork. There are frequent services to and from Dublin.
Bus Eireann and private coach companies serve the town. There is no central bus station, but most services stop at the bus shelter on James Fintan Lalor Avenue, commonly known to locals as the Link Road.
There is no internal bus service within the town, but it is amply served by taxis. There are taxi ranks located at the train station, and at the Top Square in the town centre.
- 1 4th Leinster Regiment Great War Memorial, Mill View. 4th Leinster Regiment Great War Memorial - In memory of the 17 officers and 160 non-commissioned officers and men of the 4th Battalion Leinster Regiment Royal Queen’s County regiment who gave their lives in the First World War. Free.
- 2 Captain James Fitzmaurice Statue, County Hall. On 12–13 April 1928, Fitzmaurice flew in the crew of the Bremen on the first transatlantic aircraft flight from east to west.
- 3 The Fort of Maryborough (Fort Protector), Fitzmaurice Place. Built in the middle of the 16th century. A fort was established here in 1548 by English settlers and was known as Fort Protector after the Lord Protector of England, the Duke of Somerset.
- 4 The Ridge of Maryborough Graveyard, Millview. Unusual graveyard is on a steep-sloped esker ridge in the town centre. The graveyard contains 18th-to 19th-century headstones in varying styles; rounded, recumbent, celtic style and table tombs. Free.
- 5 Portlaoise Prison (Maryborough Gaol), Dublin Road. Until 1929 it was called the Maryborough Gaol. The prison was built in the 1830s, making it one of the oldest still operating today in the Irish prison system. It is the prison in which convicted Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and other illegal paramilitary organisations are usually detained. Not open to the public.
- 6 The Rock of Dunamase (The Rock) (6 km east from town centre on the Stradbally Rd.). A rocky hill with the ruins of Dunamase Castle, a defensive stronghold dating from the early Hiberno-Norman period. Free.
- 7 The Great Heath Barrow, The Heath (6 km NE from town centre via Dublin Rd.). Ring Barrows are one of Ireland's most common forms of prehistoric burial. This one is a ring barrow, a low mound surrounded by a concentric ditch with an external bank. It is the most accessible of the monuments that form the Barrow Cemetery here at the Great Heath. € Free.
- 8 Saint Fintan's Well (10 km west on Mountrath Rd. (R445)). Little remains now of this once important ecclesiastical site. It was allegedly founded in 548 by St. Fintan. Nothing remains of the original structure which was destroyed in 838 by the Vikings. The site was plundered again in 937 by the King of Cashel and the Danes of Waterford. A holy well, now destroyed, was associated with the site as is the holy tree located here. Before the tree collapsed some years ago, the water that collected in the trunk was thought to have healing properties. The tree collapsed due to severe metal poisoning. It was traditional to hammer coins into the tree as a votive offering. Fortunately, new branches have started to grow from the remaining stump, but the coins still persist. It is advised that you don’t hammer coins into the tree and pull out any that you can. Free.
- 1 Dunamaise Theatre and Centre for the Arts, Church St, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. This facility contains a purpose-built theatre, exhibition space, and cafe.
- 2 Odeon Cinema. 5 screen multiplex.
- 3 People's Park, Timahoe Rd. Features an outdoor gym, a children's play area, a man-made lake by the river Triogue, and is a wildlife and nature reserve.
- 4 O'Moore Park. The county headquarters of the Gaeloc Athletic Association and hosts hurling and Gaelic football events.
- 5 Roll N' Bowl, Clonminam Business Park, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Entertainment centre with ten-pin bowling, indoor soccer, mini golf, Laser Quest shooting game, bumper cars, roller skating disco, teddy bear making, a play area and arcade games.
- 6 Portlaoise Golf Club, Abbeyleix Road, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com.
- 7 The Heath Golf Club, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 18-hole golf course, pro shop, driving range, restaurant and other facilities.
- 8 Togher Wood, Togher (On the Abbeyleix Rd, from Portlaoise, Take 4th Exit on roundabout after Maldron Hotel, then the second left.). Public owned wood, popular for walking, jogging and birdwatching. € Free.
- 9 Portlaoise Leisure Centre, Parkview, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 25-m swimming pool, and a 10-m teaching pool. There is also a separate pool for toddlers who are just starting to get used to the water. They offer swimming lessons to those aged six months and onwards. Includes a gym, Astro turf pitches and a playground.
There are two main shopping centres in the town—the Laois Shopping Centre, which is anchored by Tescos, and the Kyle Shopping Centre, which is anchored by Dunnes Stores. There are smaller shopping centres located on the outskirts of the town, housing a SuperValu and another Dunnes Stores respectively. There are also a host of independent shops located along the town's Main Street, and on the side streets leading away from it.
- 1 Dunamase Antiques, 60 Main Street and Bull Lane, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Specialists in pine and mahogany furniture, paintings, silver, china and more
- 2 The Store Yard, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. It has 25,000sq ft of architectural salvage, vintage, period, retro furniture and curios.
There are lots of great restaurants in Portlaoise along the Main Street and also in Kilminchy and Fairgreen areas.
- 1 Seasons Bistro, 24a, Market Square (Above the pub), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. European food. The usual vegetarian options (goat's cheese tartlet, risotto, pasta, etc.) The menu changes quite regularly. Used to be a fine dining restaurant but now a bistro, its standards are still very high. Good food and friendly service. €21-30.
- 2 Kelly's Steakhouse, Jessop St., ☎ . French bistro- and steakhouse-style options.
- 3 Relish Brasserie, 67 Main Street (Located opposite the courthouse), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Su-Th noon-9PM; F-Sa noon-10PM. Casual dining made from locally sourced food. They have an early bird menu every evening, and special half-price offers on Monday nights.
- 4 The Garden Restaurant, 8 Hynds Square (On Main St., 200 yards from Market Square, turn left), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Open for breakfast, lunch and evening meals, table service with locally sourced cuisine, shop & deli also serve a range of takeaway tea and coffee and an assortment of freshly made sandwiches, breads and pastries. They also stock a selection of products made at County Laois.
- 5 The Indian Prince, 16 Kilminchy Court (Dublin Rd), ☎ . , The menu features all aspects of India, showcasing hot and spicy foods from the south, seafood dishes and foods representing the Kashmiri region in the north.
- 6 Mayur Indian, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. €10-15.
- 7 Shalimar, 2 Bank Place, ☎ . Pakistani / Indian Restaurant.Serves a wide range of items such as Lamb madras, Chicken Balti and the all time favourite Korma.Takeaway also available.
- 8 Emperor's House, James Fintan Lawlor Avenue, ☎ . M-Sa 17:00-23:00; Su 12:30-23:00. If spice is what your after you must try the Roast Duck Szechuan
- 9 Portlaoise Chinese, Church Avenue (20 m NE from Lower Square), ☎ . M-F 17:30-23:30. Serves a wide range of modern and classic Chinese dishes.The 'BBQ Pork & Roast Duck with Beansprouts' is highly recommended.
- 10 Rose Palace, Well Road, ☎ . 5pm - Midnight Mon - Sun. Chinese restaurant.
- 11 Oriental City, Mountmellick Rd., ☎ . Chinese & Thai Restaurant
- 12 Eddie Rocket's Diner, Laois Shopping Centre, ☎ . Classic 1950s American food freshly prepared and brought to you in a unique, fun diner experience.
- 13 Nino's, 48-49 Main Street, ☎ . Traditional Italian Chipper takeaway and eat in dining area.
- 14 Thanh loi, 51 Main St., ☎ . Chinese take away food.
- 15 Golden Spring Chinese, Gandon Close, ☎ +353 57 866 0002 / +353 87 193 5188. Takeaway and Delivery
- 16 Golden Grill, 98 Main Street (Head East from Lower Square, on RHS), ☎ . Traditional Italian Chipper
In common with nearly all Irish towns, Portlaoise offers a wide range of pubs, some of them new, some of them old favourites with locals. Most of them are located in the town centre, running from the Top Square down the length of the Main Street, though there have been new establishments in other areas such as Kilminchy and Fairgreen.
- 1 The Sally Gardens.
- 2 Casey's. A family run public house. Soup & sandwich €5. Murphys €3.60 a pint.
- 3 Square Bar. Live music almost every night, mainly Rock, Indie, Metal in the Square Hall at the rear of the pub.
- 4 Humes.
- 5 E.J Morrisey (Formerly Bar Mondays), 15 Market Square. Old style Irish pub.
- 6 .
- 7 The Welcome Inn.
- 8 The Funky Munky, 65 Main St, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Cocktail and gin bar. A variety of live music most weekends. The clientèle are young and the atmosphere is very friendly.
- 9 Kavanagh's Bar & Venue (The Wren's Nest), 28 Main Street, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. A warm traditional pub on the ground floor for a relaxing pint, great for sports enthusiasts with all major matches shown. The first floor venue is both a comedy club and live music venue.
- 10 Lethean. Modern cafe bar packed with younger clientele.
- 11 The Rock Inn, Dublin Rd. (3km NE from Town Centre), ☎ . Bar and lounge. Popular for groups and parties.
- 12 The Bog Road (Formerly The Mile Bush), Fairgreen Village. Bar and restaurant.
- 13 The Office Bar & Venue, 81 Main St..
- 14 O' Donoghues, Market Square, ☎ .
- 15 Bergins, Main St.. Famous for being the smallest pub in Portlaoise.
- 16 Ryans (Fomerly Lewis).
- 17 Maggie May's, 11 Market Square.
- 18 Peig's, 12 Market Square, ☎ .
- 19 O'Gorman's, Kilminchy Village, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Bar and restaurant.
- 20 The Charter Bar, Coote Street (part of the Midlands Park Hotel) (200 m N from Market Square), e-mail: email@example.com. It is decorated to reflect the historical links with Co. Laois, it is a discrete relaxing Portlaoise Pub, perfect location to meet for lunch or early morning refreshments.
- 21 Charles Keegan (Bernie Keegan's), 16 Main Street, ☎ . Bar and Lounge, popular with older clientele.
- 22 Manhattan Mixer (formerly The Market House). Late bar specialising in cocktails.
- 23 SoHo (fomerly Coppers). Nightclub.
- 24 The Blue Door (formerly Egans). Late bar & nightclub.
- 25 Caesar's Card Club, 34 Main Street (entrance on Railway St.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Open until 7AM. Casino and bar featuring roulette, blackjack, poker and other games.
- 1 Laois County Lodge B&B, Dublin Road, ☎ . €50-80.
- 2 Maher's B&B, Rathleague, ☎ . €45-90.
- Oakville Bed & Breakfast, Mountrath Road, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Family run B&B. Free Wi-Fi and parking. Situated 10mins walk from town centre. €30 - €60.
- 3 Midlands Park Hotel (formerly the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 4-star hotel & conference Centre in the centre of town, The Hotel also features a leisure club and a number of bars & restaurants
- 4 Maldron Hotel Portlaoise, Midway, Abbeyleix Rd (Beside Junction 17, M7), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com.
- 5 The Killeshin Hotel, Dublin Rd, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 6 O'Loughlin's Hotel, Main St, ☎ .
- 7 Ivyleigh House, Bank Place, Church Street, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. It's within walking distance of the town centre and very close to the Dunamase Theatre.
- 8 Ballyfin Demesne (Ballyfin House), Ballyfin (10 km NW, via Ballyfin Rd. (R423)), ☎ , e-mail: Info@Ballyfin.com. Check-in: 3 pm, however, you can arrive from noon onwards, check-out: noon. They will to store your luggage should you wish to stay on into the afternoon. 5-star luxury country house hotel set at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains.