Heritage Society Projects

This page will be dedicated to showcasing the various heritage projects happening in Laois.

If you have an ongoing project and would like to have it mentioned here send us an email with the details.

Old Fort Project

Fort Protector is the 16th-century Fort at the heart of historic Portlaoise. Built by the English in the 1560s, it was intended to provide a base for soldiers involved in suppressing the native Gaelic tribes and to protect settlers. The modern town of Portlaoise grew up around the fort in the centuries that followed and for many years the fort was all but forgotten.

Conservation Plan

Thanks to a collaboration between Laois Heritage Society, local residents and traders, and Laois County Council, and with the support of the Heritage Council, the importance of the Fort has been reasserted in recent years, with the start of a collaborative Conservation Plan process, which has already led to the generation of the Old Fort Festival, and the heritage-led regeneration of the core of Portlaoise, starting at Fitzmaurice Place and including the presentation of the Fort and old St Peters Church and Graveyard just outside the Fort Walls.

The Fort Protector Conservation Plan was written by a team led by Lotts Architecture, including Dr. Eoin Sullivan Archaeologist, Dr. Diarmuid Wheeler Historian, Teddy Fennelly, Michael Parsons, and Sean Murray of Laois Heritage Society and Laois Heritage Office, with the help and support from a wide range of local groups, residents, individuals and businesses, and advice and support from the Heritage Council. The plan will be formally launched by Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council Cllr. Conor Bergin at the Midlands Park Hotel on Thursday 23rd June 2022 at 8pm – all are welcome.

With the support of the Heritage Council, an Interpretation Plan for Fort Protector was commissioned by Laois Heritage Society in 2018 and written by heritage interpretation specialists Tell-Tale. This plan, which can be downloaded below, has guided recent interpretative material for the historic core of Portlaoise, which will be installed in 2022, with the support of Laois County Council and Fáilte Ireland.

Download the Fort Protector Conservation Plan

Download the Fort Protector Interpretation Plan

Barrowline Heritage Audit

The Heritage Society have been working with the local community in Vicarstown and have undertaken a Heritage Audit and signage project to highlight the significance of the Canal in Laois both in terms of its built and natural heritage. In 2018 an audit was carried out with funding received by Waterways Ireland, in 2019 we received additional funding from the Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) for signage on the canal which presents the findings of the audit. A link to the Report can be found here (see attached)

Barrowline Survey 2018 WWI final

100 Facts on Laois- Book Project

Our Society has decided to put together a heritage book entitled: 100 facts of Co. Laois.
The aim of the book is to promote some of the little-known facts in the County in terms of history
and personalities associated with Laois over the years and centuries. We have formed a subcommittee for this project, chaired by our Secretary Dolores McEvoy.
What we are asking of our members is, if they would like to submit 3 topics or subjects which they
believe would be worthy of a mention in the book. For example:
1. William Dargan 19th Century Railway Engineer, Ballyhide Co. Laois
2. St. Fintan of Clonenagh
3. Bartholomew Mosse Surgeon, Dysart Co. Laois
Submissions can be made to our email address at: laoisheritagesociety@gmail.com
Once you have made a submission our committee will then review each of these and we will be in
touch with you. When published each article will be credited to the member who submitted for the
Best of luck with your submissions and we hope you can support this project!!

The Walls Project in County Laois

As part of a longer-term town renewal plan in Portlaoise, ‘The Walls Project’ say the development and installation of a mural in the Old St. Peter’s Graveyard on Railway Street in Portlaoise. The mural depicts Rory Óg O’More, his wife, Margaret O’Byrne, and wolfhounds.

Further Heritage Projects in Laois

For more information on Heritage Projects in Co. Laois please see the Laois Heritage department in Laois Co. Council here.


Laois Heritage Society 2019