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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Renting a car
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Grant the Robber. Closed to the public but can be seen through the wrought iron gate at the entrance to the graveyard. 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 O'Moore Park. The county headquarters of the Gaeloc Athletic Association and hosts hurling and Gaelic football events.
- 4 Roll N' Bowl Entertainment Centre, 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.
- 5 Portlaoise Golf Club, Abbeyleix Road, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com.
- 6 The Heath Golf Club, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 18-hole golf course, pro shop, driving range, restaurant and other facilities.
- 7 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.
- 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. 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
- 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]
- 11 Photofest Ireland 2018 – ‘Photography & Imaging Trade Show’, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Su 22 April 2018 (one-day event) 11AM-5PM. Photofest Ireland is one of the most popular photography trade and seminar events held in Ireland - mixing trade, photographers and creatives of all status at a professional level. Free.
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 houses Homebase, Heatons, Sports World, Insomnia, Homestore + more, Halfords, Harry Corry, Petmania, Army Surplus Warehouse, Mr. Price, Mothercare and Early Learning Centre.
There are some smaller shopping centres on the outskirts of the town, Parkside Shopping Centre with a SuperValu supermarket, and Dunnes Stores Shopping Centre containing some smaller shops. There is a host of independent shops along the town's Main Street, and on the side streets leading away from it. Well-known brands include GameStop, Easons, Specsavers, Subway, Apache Pizza, SuperValu, Chemco Pharmacy, Fuji Centre, EuroGiant and phone shops Eir, Three and Vodafone.
- 3 Dunamase Antiques, 60 Main Street and Bull Lane, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Specialists in pine and mahogany furniture, paintings, silver, and china.
- 4 The Store Yard, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. It has 25,000 sq ft of architectural salvage, vintage, period, retro furniture and curios.
- 5 Texaco (Downey's), Dublin Road, ☎ . 24 hours. Filling station and supermarket.
- 6 Applegreen, Dublin Rd., ☎ . 24 hours. Filling station, shop and food counter.
- 7 Great Gas, Mountmellick Rd., toll-free: 1800 336 633. 24 hours. Filling station and shop.
- 8 Centra, Dublin Rd. & Mountmellick Rd., ☎ . 24 hours. Supermarket with deli counter and ATM.
Cafes and tea shops
- 1 Kelly Lou Cakes, Kealew Business Park, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 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, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, ☎ . Cafe in Design Options furniture shop on Dublin road. Serving selection of coffee, latte and Teas etc. good selection of sweet treats too.
There are lots of great restaurants in Portlaoise along the Main Street and also in Kilminchy and Fairgreen areas.
- 4 Kelly's Steakhouse, Jessop St., ☎ . French bistro- and steakhouse-style options.
- 5 Bloom Restaurant (Formerly Relish Brasserie), 67 Main Street (Located opposite the courthouse), ☎ . 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). 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, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 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, ☎ . 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, ☎ . Spanish tapas & pintxos restaurant.
- 12 Mulhall's Restaurant, Kellyville Park (Upstairs over Supervalu), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 8AM-6PM. Catering for lunches and afternoon bites.
- 13 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.
- 14 Mayur Indian, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. €10-15.
- 15 Shalimar, 2 Bank Place, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Pakistani/Indian restaurant. Serves a wide range of items such as lamb madras, Chicken Balti and the all-time favourite, Korma. Takeaway also available.
- 16 Emperor's House, James Fintan Lawlor Avenue, ☎ . M-Sa 5-11PM; Su 12:30-11PM. If spice is what your after you must try the Roast Duck Szechuan
- 17 Portlaoise Chinese, Church Avenue (20 m NE from Lower Square), ☎ . 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.
- 18 Rose Palace, Well Road, ☎ . Daily 5PM-midnight. Chinese restaurant.
- 19 Oriental City, Mountmellick Rd., ☎ . Chinese & Thai restaurant.
- 20 Eddie Rocket's Diner, Laois Shopping Centre, ☎ . Classic 1950s American food freshly prepared and brought to you in a unique, fun diner experience.
- 21 Nino's, 48-49 Main Street, ☎ . Traditional Italian chipper takeaway and eat-in dining area.
- 22 Thanh loi, 51 Main St., ☎ . Chinese takeaway food.
- 23 Golden Spring Chinese, Gandon Close, ☎ , . Takeaway and delivery.
- 24 Golden Grill, 98 Main Street (Head East from Lower Square, on RHS), ☎ . Traditional Italian chipper.
- 25 Malik's Takeaway, 1 Dublin Road, ☎ . 3PM-1AM. The menu has a wide variety of foods including pizzas, kebabs and traditional fish & chips.
- 26 Francesco's Takeaway, Fairgreen & Kilminchy Village, ☎ . Traditional Italian chipper.
- 27 Napoli Pizzeria (Fomerly Zam Zam's), 45 Main St., ☎ . Italian pizzeria.
- 28 Mezza Pizza, 8 Market Square, ☎ . 5PM til Late. Takeaway pizza.
- 29 Laois Kebab, 1 Coote St,, ☎ . 4PM til late. Predominantly a kebab house, but also offer a wide range, such as burgers, chips, subs, pizza and chicken. The 'Donner Wrap' is highly recommended.
- 30 Mizzoni's Pizza, 6 Meehan House, James Fintan Lalor Avenue,, ☎ , , e-mail: email@example.com. noon til late. Italian pizzeria. Antonio Mizzoni opened the first Mizzoni pizzeria in the mid 1970s in Dublin, making Mizzoni’s Pizza the oldest pizza company in Ireland.
- 31 Supermac's Family Restaurant, James Fintan Lalor Ave., ☎ , , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Serving burgers, chips etc. They do a wonderful full Irish breakfast, and also great fish & chips.
- 32 Apache Pizza, 5 Meehan House, James Fintan Lalor Ave., ☎ .
- 33 Royal Garden, Dublin Rd., ☎ . Takeaway Chinese food.
- 34 Best Choice (formerly Abrakebabra), 77 Main St., ☎ . 4PM til late. Restaurant and takeaway for pizzas, kebabs, traditional fish & chips and burgers.There is a special €9.99 deal for any size pizza (offer valid from 4PM to midnight).
- 35 O'Briens Sandwich Cafe, Abbeyleix Road, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Daily 7:30AM - 7:30PM. Cafe serving gourmet coffee, tea, salads, soup and handcut sandwiches including Rachel Allen's signature range.
- 36 Chopstix Noodle Bar, Abbeyleix Rd.. Freshly cooked noodles and sides served with natural, good quality ingredients.
- 37 Freshii, Abbeyleix Rd.. Convenient healthy food option, serving breakfast, soups, salads and wraps, burritos, frozen yogurt and a selection of juices & smoothies
- 38 Dijon Cafe, Abbeyleix Road, ☎ . 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.
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 Liam Casey & Son. A family-run public house.
- 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. 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.
- 6 .
- 7 The Welcome Inn.
- 8 The Funky Munky, 67 Main St, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, ☎ , 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 a comedy club and live music venue.
- 10 Jeremiah Grant Bar & Eatery (Formerly Lethean), 64-65 Main St., ☎ . 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.
- 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 Whelans, Dublin Rd, The Heath.
- 23 Deadman’s Inn, Ballyfin, ☎ .
- 24 Shellys Bar, 68 Main St, (Same door as (but under) The Funky Munky). Olde world style pub with many old advertisments and signage.
- 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, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Family-run B&B. Free Wi-Fi and parking. 10 min walk from town centre. €30-60.
- 3 Fairgreen B&B, 63 Cosby Avenue, Fairgreen.
- Willow Lodge B&B, Kilminchy, Dublin Road,, ☎ .
- Chez Nous B&B, Kilminchy, Dublin Rd., ☎ .
- Rosedene B&B, ☎ .
- 4 Richy Lodge B&B, 152 Ashewood Walk,Summerhill Lane.
- 5 Social Eire, 2 Everette House,Chantier Gate.
- 6 Midlands Park Hotel (formerly the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 4-star hotel & conference centre in the centre of town. The hotel features a leisure club and a number of bars & restaurants.
- 7 Maldron Hotel Portlaoise, Midway, Abbeyleix Rd (Beside Junction 17, M7), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 8 The Killeshin Hotel, Dublin Rd, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com.
- 9 O'Loughlin's Hotel, Main St, ☎ .
- 10 Ivyleigh House, Bank Place, Church Street, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. It's within walking distance of the town centre and very close to the Dunamase Theatre.
- 11 Ballyfin Demesne (Ballyfin House), Ballyfin (10 km NW, via Ballyfin Rd. (R423)), ☎ , e-mail: Info@Ballyfin.com. 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.
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.