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Located in the heart of the Irish Midlands is the picturesque County Laois. Covering an area of 664 square miles and with a population of over 52,000, Laois is a county of great contrasts from the wild hills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains to the gentle landscape of the Central Valley. There are more than 1,000 historical sites in the county, covering a historical period of 8,500 years. Laois had a strong Christian settlement by the sixth century and bears its name from Ludghaidh Laoigheseach, descendant of the Knights of Ulster. County Laois has also been known as 'Queens County' during the reign of Queen Mary.

County Laois offers a range of activities to its visitors from excellent golf to horse riding and fishing. Laois is blessed with two fine rivers, the River Nore and the River Barrow, both providing superb angling. Hillwalking and cycling are two favourite pastimes in the glorious Slieve Bloom Mountains. Beautiful gardens, historic monuments and a fine heritage centre all contribute to the attraction of County Laois.

  Principle towns of County Laois

The county capital of Portlaoise, the heritage town of Abbeyleix, Portarlington, Stradbally, Mountmellick, Rathdowney and Mountrath.

  Business Information

County Laois traditionally has had an agricultural based economy. There is still mixed farming on the land of grain, dairy and sheep. A food industry has grown from this and has expanded to include drinks, bread and confectionery. There are several small manufacturing businesses in Laois including the production of tennis balls, steel and engineering, furniture and building materials. Telecommunications and the public sector are large employers for the county. The Laois County Enterprise Board and the Leader Rural Development Company support the growth and development of business in County Laois.

Helpful contact details for business enquiries
Laois County Enterprise Board Tel (353) 057 8661800
Enterprise Ireland Regional Office Tel (353) 0902 74959
Laois Leader Rural Development Company Tel (353) 0502 61900
TEAGASC Tel (353) 0502 21326
Portlaoise Chamber of Commerce Tel (353) 0502 21329
Other sources of finance applicable to business start up, development and acquisition, and related agencies are as follows:
Credit Unions: TEL (353) 01 490 8911
National Irish Bank: TEL (353) 01 678 5066
Ulster Bank (Small Enterprise Unit): TEL (353) 01 677 7623
Bank of Ireland Enterprise Support Unit: contact any branch
Allied Irish Bank Strategic Development
Business Banking:
TEL (353) 01 660 0311
Smurfit Job Creation Enterprise Fund: TEL (353) 01 478 4091

The Dept. Of Enterprise, Trade and Employment: TEL (353) 01 661 4444; www.irlgov.ie/entemp has extensive and very helpful advice on all aspects of business employment in Ireland, including a business start up information pack which is superbly put together and includes everything from planning, funding, locating, employing people and business development.

  Travel (see also town guides)

County Laois is ideally located in the centre of Ireland as is accessible by main roads from Dublin to the southeast and southwest of Ireland. Irish Rail run a daily service from Dublin to Cork, Limerick and Tralee via Portlaoise. The nearest airport to County Laois is Aer Rianta Dublin Airport. Bus Eireann also run a service across the county. By ferry, the nearest seaport is Dun Laoghaire in County Dublin.

Laois Tourism (353) 0502 30143

Bus Eireann (353) 01 836 6111

Aer Rianta Dublin (353) 01 814 1111

Iarnrod Eireann (353) 0502 23128

Ferry Services
Irish Ferries (353) 01 551995

Stena Line (353) 01 204 7700

Swansea Cork Ferries (353) 021 271166

P&O Ferries (44) 0870 2424777

Tourism, Leisure, Accommodation (please see town guides)


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