Laois Tourist Attractions


Ballaghmore Castle
Well restored small castle owned by the Fitzpatrick’s dating from 1480.

Ballyfin House
Extremely lavishly decorated 19th century stately home of Sir Charles Henry Coote overlooking an artificial lake and gardens

Emo Court House and Demense
Former stately home and gardens of the first Earl of Portarlington. Tours of the house run from June to September (Entry IR ?2). Entry to the gardens, which have lakeside walks decorated with Greek statues and forest walks is free.

Killeshin Church
Ruined 11th century church with a Romanesque carved doorway and carved heads

Lea Castle
Ruined 13th century castle on the shore of the River Barrow near Portarlington which was the stronghold of the 2nd Baron of Offaly, Maurice Fitzgerald. It was burnt in 1315 by Edward Bruce, who was given an Irish kingship when he came to Ireland trying to divert English military attention from his brother Robert the Bruce in Scotland. The castle was blown up by Cromwell’s forces in 1650.

Rock of Dunamase
The Rock of Dunamase, a huge limestone outcrop towering over the surrounding flat countryside on the Stradbally Road out of Portlaoise was the stronghold of the 12th century King of Leinster Dermot MacMurrough. MacMurrough gave the fort away to the Norman Earl of Pembroke, Strongbow in 1170, as part of a deal in which he gave his daughter Aoife and a large dowry to the Norman in return for help in his fight to seize Waterford and the High Kingship of Ireland. The fort changed hands regularly from the Normans to the Irish O’Mores, to Cromwell’s forces and then back to Irish hands until 1650, when it was wrecked by Cromwell’s forces. The ruins on the site include MacMurrough’s ruined castle and the earthen rings of an Iron Age fort.

Slieve Bloom Mountains
Attractive mountain range named the Mountains of Bladhma after the Celtic warrior who hid there, with scenic drives and walking trails.
Mount Arderin (1735 feet) is the highest peak and has panoramic views in all directions. Particularly scenic areas of the mountains are at Glenbarrow where there are waterfalls on the River Barrow and the Glendine Park, the Cut Pass and the road from Mountmellick to Birr in County Offaly via Kinnitty.
The Slieve Bloom Way is a 35 mile walking trail which completely surrounds the mountain range which starts at Glenbarrow and goes through the scenic Glendine Gap pass (1385 feet). The Slieve Bloom Interpretative Centre is on the N62 near Birr in County Offaly.

Timahoe Round Tower
Well preserved round tower from a 12th century monastery with a Romanesque doorway and carved heads, near the small village of Timahoe near Abbeyleix.