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In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, Portarlington was the Paris of the Midlands, a place where French, rather than Irish or English, was spoken on the streets. French Huguenots, escaping persecution in their native land, shaped the culture and the architecture of this bustling Midlands town.

Today visitors can view houses built in the Huguenot style on French Street and Patrick Street. Not far from Portarlington are the ruins of Lea Castle, a Norman fortress that was seized and held by the O’Dempsey’s until the mid- 1600s, when Cromwell’s troops destroyed it.

Nearby Emo Court is the ancestral home of the Earl of Portarlington. Today Emo Court and Parklands and its 250 acres are owned and managed by the Office of Public Works and well worth a visit when in the area.

The nearby reclaimed bog now developed as the Derryounce Experience offers lakes & trails, the opportunity to observe wildlife & enjoy the scenery and diverse ecology of Portarlington’s nature habitats. This is a haven for walkers and fishermen alike and a perfect way to spend an afternoon.

Stay in the luxurious Heritage Hotel in Killenard or at a number of guesthouses and self-catering accommodation in the area. Enjoy a round of Golf at the Heritage Golf Club or in Portarlington Golf Club.

The town boasts a number of cafes and bars that serve good local food and with the Heritage Hotel just out the road in Killenard evening dining is also catered for.

Mount Henry Art Studio

Mount Henry Art Studio, Closeland, Killenard, County Laois, Ireland