Showcasing Laois History and Heritage
An Initiative of Laois Library Service

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Articles
Learn how a small newspaper article published a hundred years ago inspired and facilitated a deeper investigation into the revolutionary activities of a family member.
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On Sunday the 4th of June 1922 open-air rallies took place in Portlaoise and Rathdowney in support of Labour candidate for the Leix-Offaly constituency, William Davin. In this article we are going to look at Cissie Cahalan — one of the speakers at the rallies and at shop workers more generally. Cissie Cahalan was then...
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In the frontline of meeting the challenge of guerrilla insurgency was the Royal Irish Constabulary. The Dead of the Irish Revolution lists five Laois men among the fatal casualties from the ranks of the R.I.C. in the year 1921. They were John Doogue, Michael Quinn, Joseph Hughes, William Walsh and Thomas Dowling.
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On Wednesday the 12th of April 1922 there took place a meeting of, what some newspaper reports called, the “Protestant Unionists of Durrow and District”.[1] This assembly was in response to events in the north-east of Ireland and for this reason in this article we’ll have to delve into Belfast for a while before returning...
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Following 'The Treaty' the last major evacuation and hand-over was the surrender of Kellyville R.I.C. barracks in Portlaoise on Saturday the 18th of March 1922. In the words of historian Michael Rafter that was “seen by the people as being the end of British rule in the county.” This was the culmination of a series...
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The removal of the British Army was perhaps the most profound transformation following the establishment of the Irish Free State. Today we are accustomed to thinking of the role of the British Army in Ireland in terms of repression. Doubtless this was, at times, the case, and certainly the case in the years of the...
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The pivotal urban public space in the revolution in Laois was the Market Square, Portlaoise. This was the centre piece for a range of demonstrations and rallies —with the focal point often the sadly no longer present Town Hall. We’ll look at a couple of these mobilisations here.
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In this article, and the next couple of articles, we’ll look at how public space and public buildings were used in the revolution or transformed in the revolution and at the role of these places in the story of how Maryborough became Portlaoise.
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The Orange Pole in Mountmellick became the Loyalist testament to the suppression of the Nationalist Insurgents in 1798. It was located upon the Market House which was once situated in the centre of the Market Square, which we now know as O’Connell Square.
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Funck77, Capard House, CC BY-SA 4.0
The Pigotts came to Laois as part of the Plantation of Queen’s County in the 1550s. John Pigott was an English captain who accompanied Thomas Radcliffe, Earl of Sussex, into Queen’s County circa 1558. He came from Salop and was connected to the ancient Pigott family established at Chetwynd Edgmont. For his service John Pigott...
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About Us

Laois Local Studies was established to collect, preserve and make available for reference, material relating to the history and heritage of County Laois.