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Port Laoise

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Portlaoise (Irish: Port Laoise), 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.

Understand[edit]

If you're already in town, the local 1 Portlaoise 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.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

The M7 motorway connects Portlaoise with Dublin, Limerick and Cork (via the M8).

By train[edit]

2 Portlaoise station is on the main train line from Dublin Heuston to Limerick and Cork. There are frequent services to and from Dublin.

By bus[edit]

3 James Fintan Lalor Avenue serves as the main bus terminus for the town with virtually all services using this stop, commonly known to locals as the Link Road. It is served by Bus Eireann and other private coach companies.

Get around[edit]

By bus[edit]

Local services are available from Townlink and Dublin Coach that everyone calls The Green Bus which operates hourly 24 hours a day. JJ Kavanaghs also offer a bus service within the town.

By taxi[edit]

There are taxi ranks located at the railway station, market Square and various other locations throughout the town centre. They can also be hailed along the street if you are lucky enough to see one that is free. The mobile app My Taxi (available on iOS and Android is also very popular for ordering a taxi too.

By car[edit]

Car Hire

4 EuropcarDublin Road. +35357 866 2992. Europcar operate a Pay-as-you-go car rental service from Portlaoise.

By Bicycle[edit]

Bike Hire

5 M Kavanagh Bicycle Hire Railway Street.+35357 862 1357. They hire a range of adult bikes for visitors to explore and discover the surrounding area. They are also a Premier Raleigh Rent-a-Bike agent.

See[edit]

  • 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 died 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. Free.
  • 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. Free.
  • 4 The Ridge of Maryborough Graveyard (The Burial Ridge), 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. Portlaoise Prison on Wikipedia Portlaoise Prison (Q14466340) on Wikidata
  • 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. Dunamase on Wikipedia Rock of Dunamase (Q2160523) on Wikidata
  • 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.
  • 9 Colt 1916 Memorial (6 km south on Abbeleix Rd. (N77)). Plaque to commemorate the first shots of the 1916 Rising. On Easter Sunday night, 23rd April, 1916, acting under the direct orders of Patrick Pearse, the Laois Volunteers participated in the demolition of a section of the Abbeyleix - Portlaoise railway line at a location near here. The purpose of this exercise was to prevent British military reinforcements from reaching Dublin via Waterford after the Rising had started. This demolition was followed by the firing of the first shot of the 1916 Rising. Free.
  • 10 Old St Peters Church, Railway Street. Old St Peter’s Church is thought to have been constructed in around 1556, when Portlaoise (or as it was then known, Maryborough), during the reign of Queen Mary Tudor. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, is said to have preached in the church on three occasions and declared it to be “one of the most elegant churches in the whole Kingdom“. A number of interesting personalities and characters are interred within the historic graveyard, including Bartholomew Mosse the visionary founder of Dublin’s Rotunda Hospital, and the notorious highwayman Jeremiah Grant, known as 'The Captain' and Grant the Robber. Closed to the public but can be seen through the wrought iron gate at the entrance to the graveyard. Free.

Do[edit]

  • 7 Portlaoise Leisure Centre, Parkview, +353 57 868 1200, e-mail: . 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.

Parks[edit]

  • 8 Togher Wood, Togher (on the Abbeyleix Rd, from Portlaoise, take 4th Exit on roundabout after Maldron Hotel, then the second left). Publicly owned wood, popular for walking, jogging and birdwatching. Free.
  • 9 People's Park, Timahoe Rd. Hosted the 'Street performance world championships' in 2011. This park features an outdoor gym, a children's play area, a man-made lake by the river Triogue, and is a wildlife and nature reserve.

Festivals & events[edit]

March[edit]

  • 10 Streets of Portlaoise 5k road race (St.Patrick's Day 5k), Around Portlaoise. 11AM to finish. Annual event around Portlaoise encouraging Ireland’s best male and female distance athletes to compete against each other. This year it is one of 8 races around Ireland with a competition to win a new Kia Stonic up for grabs for both the overall male and female winner of the 8-race series. Runners must take part in five of the eight races including the finale. The overall series winner (Male & Female) will drive away in a brand new Kia Stonic. There will also be €8,000 available in course record bonuses over the course of the series. Map Route

April[edit]

May[edit]

  • 12 Rock Inn Vintage Run and Rally, Dublin Rd. ((4km North East from town centre)). from 2.30pm Sat & 12pm on Sun. The May Bank Holiday weekend (1st weekend of May) is the start of the summer season and the festival to open this year is the Rock Inn Vintage Rally, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday, 5th- 6th May. An annual event since 2002, the Rally provides a great family day out, as well as being a date not to be missed on any vintage enthusiast's calendar. Starting at 2.30pm on Saturday, (12pm on Sun) with the Vintage run from the Rock Inn. The flagship event of the Rock Inn Vintage Rally takes place on the Sunday. The day will feature numerous vintage steam vehicles on display, dozens of vintage cars, tractors, motor bikes and small machinery, all of which are in mint condition and will be lovingly displayed by their owners. Among the attractions will be a kiddies corner, featuring bouncing castles, and slides. Admission is €5..
  • 13 Laois Rose Final, Jessop St. (200m North from Market Sq.along coote street, turn right.). Held for the first time in 2004, it has run every year since in the Midland Park Hotel (formerly The Heritage Portlaoise) to a huge audience. See who will crowned Laois Rose 2018 at 7.30pm on Sunday 6th May 2018. The winner will go on to compete in The Rose of Tralee Festival in August . Tickets are €20..

Buy[edit]

Portlaoise is a very popular place for shopping. Generally shops are open from 9AM-6PM, with late opening on Thursday nights until 9PM. There are a number of shopping centres in the town:

  • 1 Laois Shopping Centre, is anchored by Tesco Extra and has branches of Pennys, Boots, Costa, Carphone warehouse, 6th Sense, Dealz, Lifestyle Sports, Carraig Donn, Little Piggy's Kids Shoes, CeX, Holland & Barrat and Jack & Jones.
  • 2 Kyle Shopping Centre, anchored by Dunnes Stores, also features Argos Extra, Elvery Sports, TK Maxx and a McDonald's drive-through restaurant.
  • Portlaoise retail park offers brands like Homebase, Brand Max, Sports Direct, Homestore + more, Halfords, Harry Corry, Petmania, Army Surplus Warehouse, Mothercare and Early Learning Centre. On the other side of the park is Mr. Price and Ben Dunne gym (opening in May 2018).

There are some smaller shopping centres and shopping areas on the outskirts of the town,

Parkside Shopping Centre with a SuperValu supermarket and a nice cafe. Dunnes Stores Shopping Centre containing some smaller shops. Fairgreen with shops including the largest Iceland supermarket in Ireland, a Spar, restaurants and a pub. Conniberry Junction features Telfords hardware, Le Skinny Chef, Browns animal feeds, Crown paints centre, Telfords electrical superstore and one of Ireland's largest bridal boutiques 'Smart Brides'. Gandon Court in Kilminchy has a small supermarket, a pub and some other shops.

There is a host of independent shops along the town's Main Street, and on the side streets leading to it. Well-known brands include GameStop, Easons, Specsavers, Subway, Apache Pizza, SuperValu, Chemco Pharmacy, Fuji Centre, EuroGiant and phone shops Eir, Three and Vodafone.

There are also some specialist shops which are popular with tourists:

24-hour services[edit]

Fuel[edit]

  • 5 Texaco (Downey's), Dublin Road, +353 57 8671200. 24 hours. Filling station and supermarket.
  • 6 Applegreen, Dublin Rd., +353 57 866 6800. 24 hours. Filling station, shop and food counter.
  • 7 Great Gas, Mountmellick Rd., toll-free: 1800 336 633. 24 hours. Filling station and shop.

Supermarket[edit]

  • 8 Centra, Dublin Rd. & Mountmellick Rd., +353 57 867 1200. 24 hours. Supermarket with deli counter and ATM.

Eat[edit]

Cafes and tea shops[edit]

  • 1 Kelly Lou Cakes, Kealew Business Park & Parkside Shopping Centre, +353 87 953 0681, e-mail: . M-Sa 9:30AM-5:30PM, closed Su and Bank Holidays. Bespoke cakes, layer cakes, fairy cakes, cookies, brownies, macaroons and other delicious treats. Freshly made every day in her Portlaoise bakery.
  • 2 Chocolate Brown, Main Street, +353 57 932 9950, e-mail: . Serving tea, coffee, hot chocolate in lovely surroundings in a good central location. Their tagline is "Coffee from Heaven"
  • 3 Brew Cafe, Dublin Rd., Kilminchy, +353 57 868 1000. Cafe inside Design Options furniture shop on Dublin road. Serving selection of coffee, latte and teas, etc. A good selection of sweet treats too.

Restaurants[edit]

There are lots of great restaurants in Portlaoise along the Main Street and also in Kilminchy and Fairgreen areas.

Irish/European[edit]

  • 4 Kelly's Steakhouse, Jessop St., +353 57 867 8588. French bistro- and steakhouse-style options.
  • 5 Bloom Restaurant (Formerly Relish Brasserie), 67 Main Street (Located opposite the courthouse), +353 57 868 1904. Open until 9PM most days. Casual dining with a modern twist on Irish produce.
  • 6 The Bay Tree, 8 Hynds Square (on Main St., 200 yards from Market Square, turn left), +353 57 863 0489. 8am-5pm Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm Sun. Specialising in coeliac friendly cooking with menus clearly marked. Gluten-free bread is baked every day. They serve a wide selection of desserts which are also gluten free. Normal diets are also well catered for.
  • 7 Tynan's Restaurant (at The Storeyard), Kea Lew Business Park, +353 57 868 8343, e-mail: . Irish restaurant in nice setting, surrounded by fabulous antiquities.
  • 8 Chequers, Unit 7 Gandon Court, Fairgreen. Su-Th noon-midnight, F Sa noon-1AM. Italian pizzeria serves a wide range of dishes including Aloha Pizza, Cheeky BBQ Chicken pizza, The Fish One pizza, etc. Penne Napolitana, Tortellini Spinach & Ricotta, Penne Pollo Funghi pastas are also served freshly.
  • 9 Treacy's Bar & Restaurant, The Heath, +353 57 864 6535. Established in 1780, although it's believed to be 300 years old. What makes the pub even more unique is that it has been in the Treacy family all this time, eight generations. The pub is one of the few remaining original thatched premises in Ireland. They have launched their own gin. ‘Treacy’s Irish Gin’ is described as being extra dry.
  • 10 Grain & Grill Bar and Restaurant. Bar & restaurant in the Maldron Hotel.
  • 11 La Lola, 37 Main Street, +353 57 868 6222. Spanish tapas & pintxos restaurant.
  • 12 Mulhall's Restaurant, Kellyville Park (Upstairs over Supervalu), +353 57 866 0353, e-mail: . M-Sa 8AM-6PM. Catering for lunches and afternoon bites.

Thai[edit]

Indian[edit]

Pakistani[edit]

  • 16 Shalimar, 2 Bank Place, +353 57 8683000, e-mail: . Pakistani/Indian restaurant. Serves a wide range of items such as lamb madras, Chicken Balti and the all-time favourite, Korma. Takeaway also available.

Chinese[edit]

  • 17 Emperor's House, James Fintan Lawlor Avenue, +353 57 866 5500. M-Sa 5-11PM; Su 12:30-11PM. Chinese but also Thai and Japanese, If spice is what your after you must try the Roast Duck Szechuan
  • 18 Portlaoise Chinese, Church Avenue (20 m NE from Lower Square), +353 57 862 2873. M-F 5:30-11:30PM. Serves a wide range of modern and classic Chinese dishes. The 'BBQ pork & roast duck with beansprouts' is highly recommended.
  • 19 Rose Palace, Well Road, +353 57 868 8318. Daily 5PM-midnight. Chinese restaurant.
  • 20 Oriental City, Mountmellick Rd., +353 57 866 6608. Chinese & Thai restaurant.

American[edit]

  • 21 Eddie Rocket's Diner, Laois Shopping Centre, +353 57 866 4992. Classic 1950s American food freshly prepared and brought to you in a unique, fun diner experience. Eddie Rocket's on Wikipedia Eddie Rocket's (Q1007312) on Wikidata

Fast food[edit]

Midway Foodcourt[edit]

  • 36 O'Briens Sandwich Cafe, Abbeyleix Road, +353 57 867 0888, e-mail: . Daily 7:30AM - 7:30PM. Cafe serving gourmet coffee, tea, salads, soup and handcut sandwiches including Rachel Allen's signature range.
  • 37 Chopstix Noodle Bar, Abbeyleix Rd.. Freshly cooked noodles and sides served with natural, good quality ingredients.
  • 38 Freshii, Abbeyleix Rd.. Convenient healthy food option, serving breakfast, soups, salads and wraps, burritos, frozen yogurt and a selection of juices & smoothies
  • 39 Dijon Cafe, Abbeyleix Road, +353 57 866 6499. Delicious traditional and not so traditional (made to order) dishes like crepes, omelettes, eggs benedict/florentine & french toast, range of freshly ground and frozen coffees. French and Irish pastries, tartes & pies, Also carvery lunch, hot sandwiches & wraps, savoury & sweet crepes, homemade frittatas, quiches and salads.

Drink[edit]

In common with nearly all Irish towns, Portlaoise offers a wide range of bars and 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.

Pubs[edit]

  • 1 The Sally Gardens.
  • 2 Liam Casey & Son. A family-run public house.
  • 3 E.J Morrisey (Formerly Bar Mondays), 15 Market Square. The pub has made a name for itself having been mentioned on The Guardian’s Top 10 Traditional Pubs in Ireland. The pub is cosy and everything you would expect of a traditional Irish pub. E.J. Morrissey’s is on the main Dublin to Cork and Dublin to Limerick roadways, making it a popular stopping place. The pub’s walls are lined with old memorabilia and there is live traditional music playing regularly. Morrissey’s also have a pub in Abbeyleix in about 7 miles south of Portlaoise.
  • 4 Square Bar. Live music almost every night, mainly Rock, Indie, Metal in the Square Hall at the rear of the pub.
  • 5 Humes.
  • 6 Ramsbottoms'.
  • 7 The Welcome Inn.
  • 8 The Funky Munky, 67 Main St, +353 87 298 9446, e-mail: . M-F 4PM-11:30PM; Sa Su noon-1AM. 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, +353 57 862 1744, e-mail: . 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 a comedy club and live music venue.
  • 10 The Rock Inn, Dublin Rd. (3km NE from Town Centre), +353 57 862 1505. Bar and lounge. Popular for groups and parties.
  • 11 The Office Bar & Venue, 81 Main St..
  • 12 O'Donoghues, Market Square, +353 57 8621199.
  • 13 Bergins, Main St.. Famous for being the smallest pub in Portlaoise.
  • 14 Ryans (Fomerly Lewis).
  • 15 Maggie May's, 11 Market Square.
  • 16 Peig's, 12 Market Square, +353 57 868 8630.
  • 17 Charles Keegan (Bernie Keegan's), 16 Main Street, +353 57 862 1243. Bar and lounge, popular with older clientele.
  • 18 Whelans, Dublin Rd, The Heath.
  • 19 Deadman’s Inn, Ballyfin, +353 57 875 5388.
  • 20 D.M Shellys Bar, 68 Main St, (Same door as (but under) The Funky Munky). Olde world style pub with many old advertisments and signage.

Gastro Pubs[edit]

  • 21 O'Gorman's, Kilminchy Village, +353 57 868 2921, e-mail: . Bar and restaurant,also serve a good Thai menu,
  • 22 The Charter Bar, Coote Street (part of the Midlands Park Hotel) (200 m N from Market Square), e-mail: . 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.
  • 23 The Bog Road (Formerly The Mile Bush), Fairgreen Village. Bar and restaurant. They also have a really good Thai menu.
  • 24 Jeremiah Grant Bar & Eatery (Formerly Lethean), 64-65 Main St., +353 57 866 3544. Jeremiah Grant-themed pub based on the 18th-century highwayman (nicknamed 'The Captain'). He was the last person in Maryborough (Portlaoise) to be publicly executed. He was hanged in 1816 across the street from the pub.

Late night[edit]

  • 25 Manhattan Mixer (formerly The Market House). Late bar specialising in cocktails.
  • 26 SoHo (fomerly Coppers). Nightclub.
  • 27 The Blue Door (formerly Egans). Late bar & nightclub.
  • 28 [dead link]Grellan Delaney's, 67 Main Street, +353 57 862 2916, e-mail: . 5 bars spread out over two levels including Bar2@ Grellan Delaney's with The Vault Niteclub and Liquid Cocktail Bar in the smoking area. Ideal for a quiet pint during the week and is transformed at the weekend to a late night bar with live music every Sunday and top DJs Friday and Saturday night.
  • 29 Caesar's Card Club, 34 Main Street (entrance on Railway St.), +353 87 9676863, e-mail: . Open until 7AM. Casino and bar featuring roulette, blackjack, poker and other games.

Sleep[edit]

Budget[edit]

Mid-range[edit]

Splurge[edit]

  • 11 Ballyfin Demesne (Ballyfin House), Ballyfin (10 km NW, via Ballyfin Rd. (R423)), +353 57 87 55866, e-mail: . Check-in: 3PM, 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. Ballyfin on Wikipedia Ballyfin (Q2083673) on Wikidata

Connect[edit]

The local area code for Portlaoise is 057. Some of out-of-date literature still carries the old (0502) area code. Simply dial 057 86X XXXX instead of 0502 XXXXX. The area code can be left out when using a landline.

Go next[edit]


This city travel guide to Port Laoise is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.