County Laois (/ l I ʃ / Leesh Irish: Contae Laoise ) is a municipality in Ireland.It is part of the Midlands Region and is also located in the province of Leinster, and was formerly known as Queen County . The modern county got its name from Loígis, a medieval kingdom.

Laois County Council is the local authority for the county. The population of the county is 80,559 according to the census 2011-20% higher than it was in the 2006 census, which is the highest rate of population growth in the country.



The first people in Laois were bands of hunters and gatherers who passed through the county about 8500 years ago. They hunted in the forests that covered Laois and fished in the rivers, gathering nuts and berries to supplement their diet.

Next came Ireland’s first farmers. These people in the Neolithic period (4000-2500 BC), cleared forests and planted crops. Their burial mounds left in Clonaslee and Cuffsborough.

Starting around 2500 BC, the people of the Bronze Age lived in Laois. They produced weapons, tools and golden objects. Visitors to the county can see a stone circle they left on Monamonry, as well as the remains of their ancient castles on Clopook and Monelly. Skirk near Borris-in-Ossory, a Bronze Age standing stone and ring forts. The body of Cashel Mananger that ritual killings took place around 2000 BC.

The next step is known as the pre-Christian Celtic Iron Age. For the first time iron appeared in Ireland, as factions fought bloody battles for control of the country. Bally Davis archaeologists have discovered the ring mounds that are from that time period.

The County name derives from Loígis, whose modern county is only a part.In the 11th century, adopted its dynastic rulers named Ua / O Mordha. They claimed descent from a member of the Red Branch Knights

By the first century AD, the western third of Laois was part of the Kingdom of Ossory. The eastern part roughly divided into seven parts, ruled by the seven SEPTS of Loígis: O’More (O’Moore), O’Lalor, O’Doran, O’Dowling, O’Devoy (O’Deevy) O ‘ kelly and McEvoy.

the introduction of Christianity

When Ireland kristn, holy men and women founded religious communities in Loígis. St. Ciarán of Saighir (called “The Elder” to distinguish him from the younger St. Ciarán of Clonmacnoise) founded his monastery abode in western Slieve Bloom mountains as the first Bishop of Ossory, said before St.Patrick. His mother Liadán had an early monastery nearby on what is now Killyon. Between 550 and 600, St. Canice founded Aghaboe Abbey and St.Mochua founded a religious community in Timahoe. An early Christian community lived on or Dun Masc Masc’s fast, Rock of Dunamase.

The Synod of Rathbreasail who established the Irish pins held near Mountrath in 1111, the church moved away from his monastery base. As religious orders have strong ties to Rome replaced the older faiths, wooden house in the early Christian churches in Laois gave way to stone monastery.The Augustinians and the Dominicans established themselves in Aghaboe Abbey, while the Cistercians took over an older religious communities in Abbeyleix.

Norman Invasion

The Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169-1171 affected Laois as it was part of the kingdom of Leinster. In Laois, fortress on the Rock of Dunamase was part of the dowry of the Irish princess Aoife, who was given in marriage in 1170 to Norman warriors Strongbow. Advancing Norman asked the county from wooden tower built atop mounds, called Mottes. They also built stone fortresses, such as Lea Castle, just outside Port. Several of the county’s towns were first established as Norman boroughs, including Castle Durrow and Timahoe.

From 1175 until about 1325, Normans controlled the best land in the county, while the Gaelic community retreated to the swamps, forests and the Slieve Bloom mountains. The early 14’s saw a Gaelic revival, as chiefs Loígis caused the Normans to retreat. The Dempsey grabbed Lea Castle, while Dunamase came into the ownership of O’Mores. Examples of tower husbyggdes of Irish Mac Giolla Phádraig chiefs are in Ballaghmore and Cullahill castle, both decorated with Sheela na gigs.

In 1548, the English seized the lands of O’Mores and built the “Campa” known as Fort Leix today Portlaoise.

County status

A church in Emo

Loígis was the subject of two Plantations or colonisations a mixture of Scottish and English settlers. The first occurred in 1556, when Thomas Radclyffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex completed O’Moore clan and tried to replace them with Scottish and English settlers. But this only led to a protracted guerilla war in the county and left a small Scottish and English community clustered around garrisons. There was a more successful plantation in the county in the 17th century, which expanded the existing Scottish and English settlement with more landowners and tenants from both Scotland and England. Neither plantation was fully successful because of the lack of tenants and because of continuous raids and attacks from O’Moores.Det was shired 1556 Queen Mary Queen County , which includes countries in Leix (Loígis), Slewmarge, Irry, and the part of Glimnaliry on the south side of the river Barrow. [7] Laois received its present Irish language name following the Irish war of Independence. Laois also sometimes spelled “Leix”. Portlaoise (previously Maryborough ) is the county seat.

1659, a group of Quakers settled in Mountmellick, while a group of Huguenots were given refuge in Port in 1666 after their service to William of Orange in Williamite war in Ireland.

What followed was a period of relative calm. Anglo-Irish landowners attached land and built fine houses, including Durrow Castle, Heywood House and Emo Court. In 1836, a branch of the Grand Canal stretched to Mountmellick, further stimulate industry in this city.

The great famine of 1845-49 devastated the county. The county workhouses could not cope with the number of poor people seeking protection. At the time the almshouse was opened in Donaghmore in 1853, many of the poorest had emigrated or died.

The county was formerly known as Queen County (Irish: Contae na Banríona ) to its informal name changed on the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922. The county’s name was earlier spelled Laoighis and Leix .Despite the county’s name is maintained by the Laois Local Government Act 2001, no legislation ever adopted after independence explicitly to change the name of the Queen’s County, the name formally under the Local Government Act 1898 which continued to have legal effect. When land is sold in the county relevant title deeds are still updated as in Queen’s County .

Geography and political subdivisions

Laois is the 23rd largest of Ireland’s 32 counties in area and also the 23 th largest in terms of population. [8] It is the seventh largest Leinster’s 12 counties in size and the tenth largest in terms of population. The county is landlocked and unique, does not border any other counties that touch the coast. This is known as to be twice trapped. It is therefore considered to be “the most inland county in Ireland.”


There are nine baronies in the county:

  • Ballyadams
  • Cullinagh
  • Maryborough East
  • Maryborough West
  • Portnehinch
  • Slievemargue
  • Stradbally
  • Tinnehinch
  • upper Ossory

Towns and Villages

  • Abbeyleix
  • Aghaboe
  • arles
  • Ballacolla
  • Ballaghmore
  • Ballickmoyler
  • Ballinakill
  • Ballybrittas
  • Ballybrophy
  • Ballyhide
  • Ballyfin
  • Ballylynan
  • Derryfore
  • Barrowhouse
  • Borris-in-Ossory
  • Camross
  • Castle
  • Clonaslee
  • Coolrain
  • Cullohill
  • Donaghmore
  • Durrow
  • emo
  • Errill
  • The Heath
  • James
  • Killeshin
  • Mountmellick
  • Mountrath
  • New city
  • Portarlington
  • portlaoise
  • Rathdowney
  • Rosenallis
  • Shanahoe
  • Stradbally
  • Swan
  • Timahoe
  • Vicarstown


For climatological information visit: [9] for the averages and extremes.

The weather station at the eastern Durrow was formed in May 2008. The equipment used is a Davis Vantage Pro II, which measures temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, precipitation and air pressure. This data is transmitted every 2 seconds to a website where data are freely available. The station also reports that the Irish Weather Network showing live weather data from similar stations around Ireland.

In addition, a Met Éireann climatological station (number: 472) were installed in September 2010 and the data collected is sent to the head office in Glasnevin, Dublin on a monthly basis. The climatological station measures rainfall in a manual gauge, soil temperature at 5 cm, 10 cm and 20 cm depth, air temperature, including wet bulb, daily maximum and minimum daily temperatures. The climatological station is a project that is meant to last for thirty years, and gather climate profile and Durrow Laois in general.

local authorities

Main article: Laois County Council

Local affairs are managed by Laois County Council selects 25 members. To the choice is divided local electoral areas: Borris-in-Ossory – Mountmellick municipal (6), Portlaoise municipal (7), Graiguecullen- Port municipal district (6). Laois historically supported Fianna Fáil party in Irish elections.But in the last local and national elections were a sharp swing to Fine Gael and Sinn Féin. Because of the larger municipal reform implemented by Minister Phil Hogan municipalities in Mountmellick and Portlaoise now abolished. Moreover, there are now 19 seats in the new Laois afford 3 electoral areas: Portlaoise – Abbeyleix (7 seats), Borris-in-Ossory – Mountmellick (6 seats) and Portarlington – Graigecullen (6 seats). The results of the 2014 local elections was 7 Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael 6, 2 Sinn Féin, a job, and 3 Independents. Labour’s success in Portlaoise is remarkable because it was their first victory in the city for 50 years. Laois is in the new three seater Laois constituency for elections to Dáil Éireann.

2009 Irish local elections [10]
Laois County Council
Part seats Change
Fine Gael 12 + 3
Fianna Fail 8 – 3
Ourselves 1 =
Labour party 1 =
Independent 3 =

Tourist attractions

  • Slieve Bloom Mountains
  • Rock of Dunamase
  • Heritage House, Abbeyleix
  • Emo Court
  • Castle Durrow
  • Timahoe Round Tower
  • Stradbally House
  • Mountmellick Quaker Museum
  • Ballyfin House
  • Roundwood House
  • Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise
  • Portlaoise Leisure Centre
  • 18-hole golf courses include: Abbeyleix Road, Portlaoise; Heritage in Killenard; The Heath; Abbeyleix and Rathdowney.

While County Laois has a mix of castles, mansions, fortresses and ancient structures that are now in ruins but is still worth a visit. [11]


The population of County Laois is expanding rapidly, given its easy commute to employment centers in Kildare and Dublin and affordable housing in pleasant surroundings. Laois population growth during the period 2002-2006 (14%) has been stronger than the national average (8.2%), [12] as follows: [13]

  • 2002 … 58774
  • 2006 … 67012 … + 14,01%
  • 2011 … 80559


Over 1,500 people [ citation needed ] work in the industrial sector in the county.Industrial parks located in Portlaoise, Port and Mountmellick. The county receives EU funds that are part of the cluster of three regions (Border, Midland and Western), colloquially known as the “BMW”, eligible for special funding support.

Agriculture occupies about 70% of the land area in the county (1200 km 2 or 460 sq mi). Agriculture’s share in the earnings of “BMW” the region has declined considerably over the past decade, and only represented about 3.9% of annual income (GVA) in 2005 Statistics Sweden. [14] There are over 230,000 cattle [ citation needed ] in the county – three for each person. The remaining area is vast stretches of bog and Slieve Bloom mountains, partially covered by coniferous forest.


Iarnród Éireann train services along the Dublin-Cork line connecting the county between Heuston Station and Cork, Limerick, traveling through the county, with railway stations at Portarlington, Portlaoise and Ballybrophy.From Portarlington trains running on the Dublin-Galway / Westport / Ballina line to Athlone and Galway, Westport and Ballina. From Ballybrophy trains run on the line Ballybrophy Nenagh and Limerick directly.

road transport

The M7 road runs through County Laois. This is one of the busiest roads in Ireland connects Dublin and Limerick and acts as a trunk road for M8 linking Cork to Dublin. M8 joins M7 south of Portlaoise. Road infrastructure has improved greatly in the county over the past decade. Most major inter-urban routes through the Laois has now been upgraded to motorway standard. All the major traffic bottlenecks in Laois Mountrath somAbbeyleix and have passed since the opening of the M7 / M8 tolled motorway project in May 2010. Both cities have large line bottlenecks for motorists especially Abbeyleix where delays of up to 30 minutes or more were common.

Bus Eireann offers regular line bus service in the county. The Dublin to Limerick service runs every hour through the towns and villages on the old N7 road (now R445), while the Dublin to Cork inter city bus service runs every hour through the towns in the county.


  • John George Adair (1823-1885), the builder of Glenveagh Castle and financier of the JA Ranch in the Texas Panhandle.
  • Darina Allen (1953-), TV-kock.
  • John Barrett (1753-1821), vice Provost, Trinity College, 1807-1821.
  • Sir Jonah Barrington (1760-1834).
  • Elizabeth Barton Barton Family, Straffan and Lisduff
  • Claire Byrne (1976-), TV presenter / news anchor, best known for co-presenting RTÉ’s The Daily Show
  • Tony Byrne, a former professional footballer who played for Ireland.
  • William Cosby , guvernör i New York 1732-1736.
  • Evelyn Cusack With Éireann Meteorology
  • William Dargan (1799-1867), responsible for the Industrial Exhibition, 1853rd
  • Cecil Day-Lewis (1904-1972), British Poet-Laureate, 1967-1972.
  • Dr Daniel Delany (1747-1814), biskop i Kildare och Leighlin.
  • Eileen Dunne (1958-), TV nyhetsuppläsare.
  • Denis Dynon, recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Oliver J. Flanagan (1920-1987), Minister of Defence, 1976-1977.
  • Stephen Hunt (1981-), professional footballer playing for Wolverhampton Wanderers and Ireland.
  • James Fintan Lalor (1807-1849), Young Irelander.
  • Peter Lalor (1827-1889), leader of the Eureka Stockade rebellion miners, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.
  • James Macauley (1889-1945), former Ireland international soccer player.
  • Dr. Bartholomew Mosse (1712-1759), grundare, Rotunda Maternity Hospital, Dublin.
  • Valentine O’Hara (1875-1945), author and authority on Russia and the Baltics.
  • Kevin O’Higgins (1892-1927), Irish Free State Attorney General.
  • Bernard O’Shea, comedian, best known for his roles on RTÉ’s Republic of Telly .
  • Brian Rigney, former Ireland rugby international.
  • Robin Roe (1928-2010), 19 times capped Irish rugby international who also played for the British and Irish Lions.
  • She. William Russell Grace (1832-1904), mayor of New York, 1880-1885.
  • John Shaw (1773-1823), US Naval Officer.
  • Robert Sheehan (1988-), actor best known for playing Nathan Young on the E4 comedy drama Misfits .
  • Kivas Tully (1820-1905), arkitekt, Trinity College, Toronto, Custom House och Bank of Montreal.
  • Zach Tuohy (1989-), professional Australian football, currently playing for the Carlton Football Club.


See also: Laois GAA

Laois has a strong tradition of Gaelic games, enjoying success both Gaelic football and hurling. Laois is one of the few municipalities to contest an All-Ireland final in both Gaelic football and hurling. Recently Laois has been more successful than football Hurler. Laois minors have had great success over the past two decades, and Laois senior footballers reached the Leinster final in 2003 (victory), 2004, and 2005. Laois hurlers currently competes in the Liam MacCarthy Cup, a competition reserved for the premiere cast County while footballers compete Sam Maguire Cup. Laois play home games at O’Moore Park, the county’s largest sports stadium that is often used to throw the championship game because of its central location.

In rugby, Portlaoise RFC and Port RFC compete in Division 2A in the Leinster League.

Twin Towns

County Laois participating in the Twin Towns program and has a relationship with the following municipalities:

Arlington, Massachusetts , United States

Carleton Place, Ontario , Kanada (2008) [15]

Coulounieix-Chamiers , Frankrike (1996)

Franklin, Tennessee , USA (2008) [15]

See also

  • List of abbeys and priories in Ireland (County Laois)
  • List of towns and villages in Ireland
  • Lord Lieutenant of Queen’s County
  • High Sheriff of Queen’s County


  1. Jump up ^ For the 1653 and 1659 figures from the Civil Survey Census of those years, the paper Mr. Hardinge Royal Irish Academy March 14, 1865.
  2. Jump up ^ Census of post 1821 figures.
  3. Jump up ^
  4. Jump up ^
  5. Jump up ^ Lee, JJ (1981). “On the accuracy of pre-famine Irish censuses”. In the Gold Strom, JM; Clarkson, LA Irish population, economy and society: Essays in Honour of the late KH Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
  6. Jump up ^ Mokyr, Joel, O Grada, Cormac (November 1984). “New Developments in the Irish population history, 1700-1850”. The Economic History Review. Volume. 37 (4) :. 473-488 doi: 10.1111 / j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x.
  7. Jump up ^ “A measure by the King and Queen’s Majesties and Heires and successor of the Queen, to entituled to the countries of Leix, Slewmarge, Irry, Glimnaliry and Offaily, and to make the same countries Shire Grounds.”; Phil. & March, 1556 C.2
  8. Jump up ^ Corry, Eoghan (2005). The GAA Book of Lists. Hodder Headline Ireland. pp. 186-191.
  9. Hoppa upp^
  10. Jump up ^ “Elections Ireland: 2009 local elections – Electoral Area Details”.
  11. Hoppa upp^
  12. Jump up ^ “demography” (PDF). Offaly County Council Development Plan 2009-2015. Taken 2008-06-28.
  13. Jump up ^ “Draft Stradbally Town Plan” (PDF). Laois County Council.Pulled 06/29/2008.
  14. Jump up ^
  15. ^ Jump up to: ab “Sister Cities of Franklin.” Retrieved twelve October 2014.