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Area Guide For Laois

County Laois is landlocked county located in the midlands in the province of Leinster. It is considered to be the most landlocked county in Ireland as it does not border any other county with a sea coast.

County Laois has a wealth of historic houses and heritage towns which were influenced by Queen Marys reign in 1556 and by the Quakers and Huguenots who settled in the county in the 1690s. Between 1556 and 1920 Laois was officially known as "Queen's County" and despite the name change to County Laois in 1922 on a sale of land in the county the relevant title deeds are still updated as being in Queen's County.

Portlaoise is the county town of Laois and was originally established as the Fort of Maryborough in 1556 under the reign of Queen Mary. Many elements of its garrison past are still evident throughout the town. In recent years Portlaoise has become most famous as the home of the Electric Picnic, the boutique arts and music festival held at the Stradbally Hall estate in late summer. Other important and well established towns in County Laois include: Abbeyleix, Mountrath, Portarlington and Rathdowney.

County Loais’ countryside is dotted with unspoilt towns and villages among the valleys of the Slieve Bloom mountains such as; Durrow, Killenard, Shanahoe, Timahoe, Vicarstown, Borris-in-Ossory, Castletown and Ballybrittas.

County Laois is expanding rapidly, given its easy commute to the centres of Kildare and Dublin. There are two main roads the run through the County; the M8 Motorway, which connects Cork City and Dublin and the N7 National Primary Road, which connects Limerick City and Dublin. County Laois also has a number of railway stations situated on the Dublin to Cork line.

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