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County Laois

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County Laois is in Ireland's East Coast and Midlands.




  • Aghaboe, Arles
  • Ballacolla, Ballaghmore, Ballickmoyler, Ballinakill, Ballybrittas, Ballybrophy, Ballyfin, Ballylinan, Ballyroan, Borris-in-Ossory
  • Castletown, Clonaslee, Clonenagh, Cullohill
  • Donaghmore, Durrow
  • Emo, Errill
  • Graiguecullen
  • Jamestown, Laois|Jamestown
  • Killeshin, Killeen, Killenard
  • Newtown
  • Raheen, Rathdowney, Rosenallis
  • Sletty
  • Timahoe
  • Vicarstown

Other destinations[edit]


The area now known as Laois (pronounced "Leesh") was originally inhabited by the O'Mordha Clan (later known as O'More and then Moore). In ancient times the O’More tribe-name of Ui Laoighis (Pronounced Leesh) was applied to their territory, and that it is derived from a famous Ulster ancestor named Lughaidh Laeighseach (Lewy Leesagh), son of Laeighseach Canvore, son of the renowned Conall Cearnach, chief of the Red Branch Knights of Ulster in the first century.

The county itself was created in 1556 by Mary I of England as Queen's County, Laois received its present Irish language name following the Irish War of Independence. Portlaoise (previously Maryborough) is the county town.

Laois was the subject of two Plantations or colonizations by English settlers. The first occurred in 1556, when the Earl of Sussex dispossessed the O'More clan from the area and attempted to replace them with English settlers. However, this only led to a long drawn out guerilla war in the county and left a small English community clustered around garrisons. There was a more successful plantation in the county in 17th century, which expanded the existing English settlement with more landowners and tenants from England. Neither plantation was fully successful due to a lack of tenants and because of continuous raids and attacks by the O'Mores.

Finally, the county became home to a community of French Huguenots in the 1690s, who were settled in Ireland after their service to William of Orange in the Williamite war in Ireland. In addition to this, large numbers of Quakers settled in Mountmellick and developed the area.

The population of County Laois is expanding rapidly, given its easy commute to Dublin and affordable housing in pleasant surroundings. In the 2006 census the population had increased by 14% to 67,000 people.

The county is landlocked and, uniquely amongst Irish counties it does not border any other counties with a sea coast. It is therefore considered to be "the most landlocked county in Ireland[1]"


Get in[edit]

Laois lies one hour southwest of Dublin, with train stations at Portlaoise, Portarlington and Ballybrophy. Irish Rail [6] runs eighteen trains to and from these stations a day, with further connections to Galway and the west of Ireland, Limerick and Cork.

Get around[edit]

See[edit][add listing]

Even though Laois is not the most popular tourist destination in Midlands, there are a number of various tourist attractions scattered around County Laois.

  • Abbeyleix Bog, Abbeyleix, [1]. A great spot for tourists to visit as it is situated close to the Abbeyleix town and covers of five hundred acres of cutaway, lag, bog, meadows and wet carr woodlands.  edit
  • Ballintubbert Gardens, Ballintubbert, [2]. Designed by Sir Lutyens and recently went through a makeover and expansion process.  edit
  • Ballaghmore Castle, Borris-in-Ossory, [3]. Ballaghmore Castle was built in 1480 and then partially destroyed by Cromwell's forces in 1647. It was restored in 1836 by a Mr. Ely who found a hoard of gold on the land.  edit
  • Castle Durrow, Durrow, [4]. Castle Durrow was constructed in the 18th century and the Flower family resided in the house for over 200 years.  edit
  • Emo Court, Emo. This country villa was designed in the 1700’s by architect James Gandon.  edit
  • Gash Gardens, Castletown, [5]. May 1 – September 30. Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm. This is a relatively new garden which was started in 1986 by Noel Keenan. €5.00.  edit
  • Grantstown Lake. The lake is located very near to Durrow and has gone through an upgrade recently and a lake jetty, car park and new walking paths have been formed to encourage visitors to enjoy the surroundings to the fullest.  edit
  • The Heywood gardens, Ballinakill. These gardens provide visitors with a tranquil environment that allows them to absorb the beautiful sights and colours of a vibrant Irish garden that has a fantastic landscape to it. The gardens are owned and maintained by the office of public works.  edit
  • Poet’s Cottage, Camross. The cottage gets its name from a poet by the name of Patrick Ryan who lived in Camross during 1750 and 1825 and wrote a lot of poetry about the scenic beauty and the local community.  edit
  • The Rock of Dunamase. The site is situated one of Laois is low lying plans and has a castle that had been plundered by the Vikings in the past. This historic site also provides visitors with a spectacular view of the Irish country side and is a great place for photography.  edit
  • Timahoe Round Tower, Timahoe. The Round Tower constructed in the 12th century.  edit

County Laois also has a mixture of castles, mansions, forts and old structures that are now in ruins but are still worth visiting.

Do[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

Drink[edit][add listing]

Get out[edit]

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