Oncean ancient Irish settlement, Portlaoise is now oneof Ireland’s fastest growing modern towns, with ayoung and vibrant population. Located in the stunning Irish midlands in CountyLaois, Portlaoise is a bustling town with an international community,a unique culture and a stunning history that will ensure your visit here isunforgettable.
Portlaoisehas a fascinating past and its location at the foot of the colourful SlieveBloom means it’s a nature lover’s paradise. However, the town alsoboasts a variety of lively cultural activities and attractions: there istheatre and performance art at the Dunamaise Arts Centreand an eclectic range of annual festivals and shopping.
Shoppingin PortlaoisePortlaoiseoffers some of the best shopping in County Laois.For high street shops with a charming touch of small-town twee – complete withhanging baskets – you could visit the historic shops on Main Street. If you’relooking for something a bit more exhaustive, then LaoisShopping Centre is close by as well as numerous other shopping malls and aretail park on the Timahoe Road.
VisualArts in Portlaoise DunamaiseArt Centre, located on Church Street in the centre of Portlaoise,is a great place to immerse yourself in some local culture. Opened in the 1990sto host the town’s emerging cultural scene, Dunamaise Art Centre contains a 240seat theatre, a top-notch gallery space and a state of the art cinema, as wellas a rather fine restaurant. It offers a diversity of local and international performances,such as opera, contemporary dance and live music.
Festivals in PortlaoiseThe Halloween Howls Comedy Festivaltakes place annually in October at a lively comedy venue on Main Street, promisingsome of the biggest names in comedy. The regional finals for the wonderfully traditional‘Rose of Tralee’ beauty contest also takes place here. Last but not least, the ElectricPicnic, dubbed ‘Ireland’s Glastonbury’, is a fantastic festival foralternative music lovers. Hosted annually in September and located in thestriking grounds of the nearby StradballyHall, this award-winning festival has met with international acclaim.
HistoricRuins in PortlaoiseNovisit to Ireland would be complete without some local history. The remains ofthe 16th century fort around which Portlaoisebegan life now stand at its centre, serving as a vivid reminder of this town’shumble beginnings. Other heritage attractions nearby include Sheffield House, astriking Queen Anne mansion about two miles outside of Portlaoise,and Dunamaise Castle, an Anglo-Norman ruin with fantasticviews over the nearby mountains.
Naturein PortlaoiseNaturelovers should pay a visit to the SlieveBloom. The mountains are some of the oldest in Europe and offer some impressiveviews. On a clear day, you can even spot the four high points of the ancientprovinces of Ireland. For the birdwatchers and wildlife lovers out there, thenatural heritage area of Clonreher Bog is alsonearby – but don’t forget your wellies!
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