Portlaoise is the County Town and administrative centre for the County of Laois. It is centrally located in the heart of rural Ireland and serves as the intersection of a number of national Routes. The Urban Form of Portlaoise is dominated by a linear Main Street terminated on each end by a Square; the Market Square in the west and Lower Square in the east. The inner relief road, James Fintan Lalor Avenue, has allowed the town to expand southwards, with a mix of commercial, retail and office uses located south of this road. Main Street provides a single lane carriageway, fronted by predominantly two-storey buildings, in a mix of commercial, civic, office and retail uses. The variation in building height and the spacing between buildings creates a pleasant streetscape. The Town Centre is designated as an Architectural Conservation Area, reflecting the special architectural character of the groupings of buildings and spaces therein. The Fort Protector is a particularly important heritage feature within the town, as a rare built element of the first significant English Plantations in Ireland and as such is a heritage site of enormous significance and potential.

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Overall population base


Local labour force


Labour force 30 mins


Labour force 60 mins



There are a number of primary and secondary schools in Portlaoise. Portlaoise College also provides further education facilities within the town and operated by the Laois and Offaly Education and Training Board Further Education Service.

Primary School M F Total
Holy Family (Senior and Junior Schools) 669 674 1,343
Maryboro N.S. 54 47 101
Scoil Bhride 387 367 754
Gaelscoil Phort Laoise 148 159 307
Portlaoise Educate Together 212 178 390
Seondary School M F Total
Saint Mary’s CBS 840 840
Scoil Chriost Ri 976 976
Portlaoise College 237 192 429


The N80 and R445 (the old N7 Dublin-Limerick Road) both route through the town and the M7 motorway routes to the south and east of the town. Portlaoise benefits from direct access via 2 No. Junctions onto the M7, junctions 16 and 17. The N77 (the old N8 Dublin-Cork Road) is accessed via junction 17.  Portlaoise is located approximately 100km (1 hour’s driving) from Dublin Airport and Dublin Port and is provided with direct and high-quality access to both, via the M7 and M50 motorways. The town is identified as a strategic transport node, with the capacity to develop related economic and logistics activities.

Portlaoise Train Station is located on the Dublin-Cork rail line, which provides regular daily services to Cork, Killarney and Limerick to the south and Dublin to the north. The town benefits from high frequency commuter trains to and from Dublin, during morning and evening peaks. The town also benefits from the rail station being located within the town centre, less than 200m from Main Street.

Portlaoise is also serviced by Bus Eireann services, which provide regular daily services between Dublin Airport, the City Centre and Portlaoise.

Local Amenities

Portlaoise is provided with a wide range of services and amenities, commensurate with its standing as the principal town in County Laois. There are a number of playing facilities within the town, in particular those at Portlaoise GAA Club, Portlaoise Rugby Club and Portlaoise Soccer Club, each of which offers sporting amenities of a high standard. Peoples Park, to the immediate south of the town, provides a significant outdoor recreation and amenity facility for the town, providing walking trails, nature trails, outdoor teaching facilities, a playground and other similar facilities. It is one of only twenty such parks in Ireland to be awarded a Green Flag, an international standard benchmark for open spaces. The Midland Regional Hospital is located within the town and provides important healthcare services for Portlaoise and surrounding areas. The Council is also in the preparatory stages of a Public Realm Strategy for Portlaoise, which will provide a long term plan for the ongoing improvement and upgrade of the public realm of Portlaoise.

Population Base

Portlaoise was one of the fastest growing towns in Ireland in the period between 2006 and 2016, with its population growing by 45% in that period. The town currently has a population of 22,050 with a labour force of 10,736 locally and 48,650 within a 30 minutes drive. The town benefits from a young population, with 31% of total population aged 19 years or younger, compared to 28% nationally. Furthermore, the proportion of the population aged 34 years or younger, 54%, far exceeds the national proportion of 47%. The town also provides a well-educated labour force, with 54% of the labour force being educated beyond secondary school level, compared to 42% nationally.


Portlaoise benefits from the provision of fibre broadband, with a number of fibre cabinets located within the town and providing reliable broadband speeds. The town will also benefit from further improvements in broadband speeds, as part of Eir’s rollout of improved broadband services throughout the country.

Planning Context

Portlaoise is designated as the ‘Principal Town’ in Laois, within both the Laois County Development Plan 2017 – 2023 and the Regional Planning Guidelines for the Midland Region 2010 – 2022. Portlaoise is the largest urban centre in the Midlands and functions as an economic driver, with distinct local economies and strong links to the adjacent regions. Portlaoise is the focus of residential, commercial and employment development in County Laois.

Portlaoise provides a number of strategic employment opportunity sites, in particular Togher National Enterprise Park, which consists a 101ha (250 acre) land bank south of Portlaoise with access from Junction 17 on the M7 Motorway.

Portlaoise is provided with zonings for the provision of additional Residential, Commercial, Enterprise & Employment, Industrial, Community-Educational-Institutional and other sustainable development in the future. The Laois County Development Plan 2012 – 2018 zones lands for development in Portlaoise as follows:

Land use Ha
Residential 65
General Business 65
Community-Educational-Institutional 99
Industrial 82
Enterprise & Employment 117


“Portlaoise is a good place to do business owing in no small way to the loyalty of its inhabitants in extending their staunch support to local business and enterprise in general.The excellent central location and proximity of the town to several motorway locations is a distinct advantage and this combined with access to a young and well educated, motivated workforce is a distinct advantage when operating a business here.”

Ladonna McCarton, Owner, Nook & Cranny,