County Laois: Wikis

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County Laois
Contae Laoise
Coat of arms of County Laois
Motto: I bpáirt leis an bpobal  (Irish)
"In partnership with the community"
Location
Map highlighting County Laois
Statistics
Province: Leinster
County seat: Portlaoise
Code: LS
Area: 1,719 km2 (664 sq mi)
Population (2006) 69,012
Website: www.laois.ie

County Laois (pronounced /ˈliːʃ/ "leash" – Irish: Contae Laoise) is one of the traditional counties of Ireland and is located within the province of Leinster. Its name was formerly spelt as Laoighis and Leix.

Laois is the 24th largest of Ireland’s 32 counties in area and 24th largest in terms of population.[1] It is the seventh largest of Leinster’s 12 counties in size and tenth largest in terms of population.

Contents

History

The first people in Laois were bands of hunters and gatherers who passed through the county about 8,500 years ago. They hunted in the forests that covered Laois and fished in its rivers, gathering nuts and berries to supplement their diets.

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

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 behind at Monamonry, as well as the remains of their hill forts at Clopook and Monelly. Skirk, near Borris-in-Ossory, has a Bronze Age standing stone and ring fort.

In ancient times the O'Moore tribe name of Ui Laoighis was applied to their territory, this name being derived from a famous Ulster ancestor named Lughaid Laoighesach, descendant of a renowned Conall Cearmach chief of the Red Branch Knights of Ulster.

The next stage 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 land. At Ballydavis, archaeologists have discovered ring barrows that date from this time period.

By the first century AD, Laois was part of the Kingdom of Ossory. The county was divided roughly into seven parts, which were ruled by the Seven Septs of Laois: O’More (O’Moore), O’Lalor, O’Doran, O’Dowling, O’Devoy (O’Deevy), O’Kelly and McEvoy.

When Christianity came to Ireland, holy men and women founded religious communities in Laois. Between 550 and 600, St. Canice founded Aghaboe Abbey and St. Mochua founded a religious community at Timahoe. An early Christian community lived at Dun Masc or Masc’s fort, on the Rock of Dunamase.

After 1150, the continental Roman Catholic Church began to assert its authority over the independent churches of Ireland. As religious orders with strong ties to Rome replaced older religious communities, the wooden buildings of the early Christian churches in Laois gave way to stone monasteries. The Augustinians and Dominicans established themselves at Aghaboe Abbey, while the Cistercians took over an older religious community at Abbeyleix.

Around the same time, the Normans seized control of most of Ireland. In Laois, the fortress on the Rock of Dunamase was part of the dowry of the Irish princess Aoife, who was given in marriage in 1170 to the Norman warrior Strongbow. Advancing Normans surveyed the county from wooden towers built on top of earthen mounds, known as mottes. They also built stone fortresses, such as Lea Castle, just outside Portarlington. Several of the county’s towns were first established as Norman boroughs, including Castletown, Durrow and Timahoe.

From 1175 until about 1325, Normans controlled the best land in the county, while Gaelic society retreated to the bogs, forests and the Slieve Bloom Mountains. The early 14th century saw a Gaelic revival, as a burst of force from the Irish chieftains caused the Normans to withdraw. The Dempseys seized Lea Castle, while Dunamase came into the ownership of the O’Mores. Tower houses belonging to Irish chieftains survive at Ballaghmore and Cullahill, both decorated with Sheila-na-gigs.

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

Shired in 1556 by Queen Mary as Queen's County, Laois received its present Irish language name following the Irish War of Independence. Laois was also sometimes spelt "Leix". Portlaoise (previously Maryborough) is the county town. Laois was the subject of two Plantations or colonisations by English settlers. The first occurred in 1556, when the Thomas Radclyffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex dispossessed the O'Moore clan 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 the 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' Moores.

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

What followed was a period of relative calm. Anglo-Irish landowners enclosed the 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 stimulating industry in that town.

The Great Famine of 1845-49 devastated the county. The county’s workhouses could not cope with the number of destitute people seeking shelter. By the time the workhouse opened at Donaghmore in 1853, many of the poorest had emigrated or died.

Despite the change of the county's name in 1922, when land is sold in the county the relevant title deeds are still updated as being in Queen's County.

Geography

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[2]"

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Towns and villages

Countryside south of Portlaoise

Climate

A new weather station broadcasts from Durrow providing real time data. Click Here for Current Data The station was set up in May 2008. It is a Davis ProVantage 2 station and monitors temperature, rain, wind, wind direction, humidity and atmospheric pressure.

Demographics

The population of County Laois is expanding rapidly, given its easy commute to the employment centres of Kildare and Dublin, and affordable housing in pleasant surroundings. Laois’s population growth during the period 2002-2006 (14%) has been stronger than the National average (8.2%),[9] as follows[10]:

  • 2002 ... 58,774
  • 2006 ... 67,012 ... +14.01%

Economy

Agricultural activities occupy approximately 70 % of the land area of the county (1,200 km2/460 sq mi). However agriculture's share of income in the BMW region of which Laois is a part has declined sharply in the past decade, and represented only approximately 3.9% of annual income (GVA) in 2005 Central Statistics Office. The county is home to over 230,000 cattle, four cows for every person. The remaining area includes considerable stretches of raised bog, and the Slieve Bloom mountains, which are partially covered by coniferous forest.

The county has a small industrial base, with industrial parks at Portlaoise, Portarlington and Mountmellick. Over 1500 people work in the industrial sector in County Laois. The county makes up part of the Border Midlands and West region (BMW) for the purposes of EU funding.

Many people in Laois commute to nearby County Kildare, and further afield to County Dublin, where wages are on average higher.

Transport

The M7 road runs through County Laois. This is one of the busiest roadways in Ireland connecting Dublin and Limerick and acts as a trunk route for the N8 road which connects Cork to Dublin. The N8 joins the M7 just south of Portlaoise. The motorway has reduced congestion on county towns however in towns such as Mountrath and Abbeyleix traffic congestion remains. These towns will be bypassed also as part of the M7/M8 motorway project which is currently under construction and is due open in late 2010.

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

Laois is also well served by rail travel. Iarnrod Eireann train services between Heuston station Dublin and Cork/Limerick travel through the county with railway stations at Portlaoise , Portarlington and Ballybrophy.

Politics

Laois tends to strongly support the Fianna Fáil party in Irish elections. In the last local elections, however, there was a sharp swing to the opposition Fine Gael party. The historically important Irish figures Kevin O'Higgins and Oliver Flanagan were born in County Laois. Laois is in the Laois–Offaly constituency for elections to Dáil Éireann.

Places of interest

List of notable Laois people

See also

References

  1. ^ Corry, Eoghan (2005). The GAA Book of Lists. Hodder Headline Ireland. pp. 186–191. 
  2. ^ About : Laois Surf Club
  3. ^ For 1653 and 1659 figures from Civil Survey Census of those years, Paper of Mr Hardinge to Royal Irish Academy March 14, 1865.
  4. ^ Census for post 1821 figures.
  5. ^ http://www.histpop.org
  6. ^ http://www.nisranew.nisra.gov.uk/census
  7. ^ Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". in Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A.. Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press. 
  8. ^ Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November), "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700-1850", The Economic History Review Volume 37 (Issue 4): 473–488, doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x, http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/120035880/abstract 
  9. ^ "Demographic context". Offaly County Council Development Plan 2009 - 2015. http://www.offaly.ie/NR/rdonlyres/A4AD027E-87E4-4353-917B-47C75D92768F/1095/Chapter2ContextandChallenges_FEB08.pdf. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  10. ^ "Draft Stradbally Town Plan". Laois County Council. http://www.laois.ie/media/Media,4872,en.pdf. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 

External links

Coordinates: 53°00′N 7°24′W / 53°N 7.4°W / 53; -7.4


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Contents

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

  • Abbeyleix, Aghaboe, Arles
  • Ballacolla, Ballaghmore, Ballickmoyler, Ballinakill, Ballybrittas, Ballybrophy, Ballyfin, Ballylinan, Ballyroan, Borris-in-Ossory
  • Castletown, Clonaslee, Clonenagh, Cullohill
  • Donaghmore, Durrow
  • Emo, Errill
  • Graiguecullen
  • Jamestown
  • Killeshin, Killeen, Killenard
  • Mountmellick, Mountrath
  • Newtown
  • Portarlington, Portlaoise
  • Raheen, Rathdowney, Rosenallis
  • Sletty
  • Stradbally
  • Timahoe
  • Vicarstown
  • Slieve Bloom Mountains
  • Rock of Dunamase
  • Emo Court
  • Castle Durrow
  • Stradbally House
  • Mountmellick Quaker Museum
  • Ballyfin House
  • Dunamase Arts Centre, Portlaoise

Understand

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

Laois lies one hour southwest of Dublin, with train stations at Portlaoise, Portarlington and Ballybrophy. Irish Rail [1] runs eighteen trains to and from these stations a day, with further connections to Galway and the west of Ireland, Limerick and Cork.

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Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

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County Laois
Contae Laoise
Coat of arms of County Laois
Location
centerMap highlighting County Laois
Statistics
Province: Leinster
County Town: Portlaoise
Code: LS
Area: 1,719 km²
Population (2006) 69,012
Website: www.laois.ie

County Laois (IPA: /liːʃ/), also spelt Laoighis or Leix (Irish: Contae Laoise ), is a county in the midlands of Ireland. It is situated in the province of Leinster.

Contents

History

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 colonisations by English settlers. The first occurred in 1556, when the Earl of Sussex dispossessed the O'Moore 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' Moores.

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 county was renamed in the early 1920s, following a competition.

Geography

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]"

Economy

Agriculture is the largest sector of the economy, with 70 % of the area (1,200 km²), farmed every year. The county is home to over 230,000 cattle, four cows for every person. The remaining area includes considerable stretches of raised bog, and the Sleive Bloom mountains, which are partially covered by coniferous forest.

The county has a small industrial base, with industrial parks at Portlaoise and Mountmellick. Over 1500 people work in the industrial sector in County Laois.

However, unemployment is higher than other Irish counties and annual income is lower than the national average, at about 88% of the average. Average incomes in Laois are also well below the national average, mainly due to the high incidence of agriculture as the basis of income. The county makes up part of the Border Midlands and West region for the purposes of EU funding.

Many people in Laois commute to nearby County Kildare, and further afield to County Dublin, where wages are much higher, due to an increased level of direct private sector investment.

Politics

Laois tends to strongly support the Fianna Fáil party in Irish elections. In the last local elections, however, there was a sharp swing to the opposition Fine Gael party. Historically important Irish figures, such as Kevin O'Higgins and Oliver Flanagan were born in County Laois. Laois is in the Laois-Offaly constituency for elections to Dáil Éireann.

Population

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

Towns and villages

Places of interest

List of notable Laois people

  • The rock group 79Cortinaz hail from both Laois, and Carlow Ireland.
  • John Harrison (1979- ), Professional gambler
  • Darina Allen (1953- ), TV chef
  • John Barrett (1753-1821), Vice Provost, Trinity College, 1807-1821
  • Charles Beale (1850-1930), founding president of the Federated Chambers of Manufactures of Australia
  • Joseph Beale (1770-1815), Quaker industrialist
  • Joshua Bewley, tea merchant founder of Bewleys Oriental Cafés in 1840.
  • Lisa Burke, Sky News weathercaster
  • Claire Byrne, TV3 News Anchor
  • Rev. Dr. Patrick Collier (1882-1964), Bishop of Ossory, 1928-1964
  • Evelyn Cusack, meteorologist
  • William Dargan (1799-1867), responsible for the Industrial Exhibition, 1853
  • Cecil Day-Lewis (1904-1972), British Poet-Laureate, 1967-1972
  • Dr. Daniel Delaney (1747-1814), Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin
  • Eileen Dunne (1958- ), TV newscaster
  • Oliver J. Flanagan (1920-1987), Minister for Defence, 1976-1977
  • Hon. William Russell Grace (1832-1904), mayor of New York 1880-1885
  • James A. Graves (1827-1910), Australian commissioner of trade and customs, 1881-1883
  • Stephen Hunt (1981-), professional footballer playing for Reading and Ireland
  • Rt. Hon. Joseph Hutchinson (1852-1928), Lord Mayor of Dublin 1904-1906
  • Peter Burrowes Kelly, (1811-1883), author "The Manor of Glenmore"
  • James Fintan Lalor (1807-1849), Young Irelander
  • Peter Lalor (1827-1889), leader of the Eureka Stockade miners revolt, Melbourne
  • John Lalor-Fitzpatrick (1875-1949), Nationalist MP for Ossory, 1916-1818
  • Dr.Bartholomew Mosse (1712-1759), founder, Rotunda Maternity Hospital, Dublin
  • Kevin O'Higgins (1892-1927), former Irish Free State Minister for Justice
  • James Pim, railway engineer, "Quaker father of Irish railways"
  • John Shaw (1773-1823), U.S. Naval Officer
  • Kivas Tully (1820-1905), architect, Trinity College, Toronto, the Custom House and the Bank of Montreal

References

  1. ^ http://www.laoissurfclub.com

Liam Hyland, Minister, MEP, TD & Senator

External links


This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at County Laois. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.

This article uses material from the "County Laois" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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