Portarlington lies on the border of Laois and Offaly, often resulting in light-hearted rivalry between each side of the town, particularly in relation to local and national Gaelic Athletic Association matches. The town has expanded rapidly in recent years, most notably with an influx of 'commuters' from Dublin and surrounding areas, moving down in order to escape from city life and its escalating house prices. Much of the town's expanding population are also non-nationals working, or seeking work, in the area.
Scene: French Church St
Date: circa 1905
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Read about Portarlington below
Portarlington (Cúil an tSúdaire in Irish, meaning 'Tanner's Corner') is a town in County Laois (formerly Queen's County), straddling the border with County Offaly (formerly King's County) in the midlands of Ireland. Portarlington is a focal point of the Irish railway network, being situated near a junction for services to the west (Galway, Mayo), the south (Cork, Limerick, Tralee) and the east (Dublin, Kildare). The town was recorded in the census of 2006 as having a population of 7,092.
It was founded in 1666, by Sir Henry Bennet, English Home Secretary to Charles II, to whom that King, on his restoration, made a grant of the extensive estates of O'Dempsey, Viscount Clanmaliere, confiscated after the Irish Rebellion of 1641. After some difficulties, the grant passed to Sir Henry Bennet of all the O'Dempsy estates in the King's and Queen's Counties, and on the 14th of April, 1664, he was created Baron Arlington of Arlington in the County of Middlesex. So great was the anxiety of these new settlers to efface all ancient recollections in Ireland, that the Parliament of Orrery and Ormond enacted that the governor and council should be able to give new English names instead of the Irish names of places; and that after a time such new names should be the only ones known or allowed in the country. In accordance with this enactment the borough created in Cooletoodera (Cúil an tSúdaire), received the name of Port-Arlington, or Arlington's Fort. (from Rev. M Comerford 'Collections relating to the Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin' Vol 2 (1883))
Portarlington lies on the border of Laois and Offaly, often resulting in light-hearted rivalry between each side of the town, particularly in relation to local and national Gaelic Athletic Association matches. The town has expanded rapidly in recent years, most notably with an influx of 'commuters' from Dublin and surrounding areas, moving down in order to escape from city life and its escalating house prices. Much of the town's expanding population are also non-nationals working, or seeking work, in the area. Townspeople, however, have criticised the fact that this population expansion has not been met with service expansion; as there are few new shops or businesses in the town despite a growing demand for them.
McCann Park is the home of the Portarlington GAA club in county Laois. The Laois inter-county team usually train here. The Colm Maher memorial stand which is the main stand in the ground was built in the memory of Portarlington footballer Colm Maher who died on June 2nd 1996. The stand has a capacity of 1012 people (all seater). The 1st Ever Match To be played at mccann park was between Portarlington v gracefield(offaly) The Match which was call the battle of the brige. gracefield won the match by 13points and only had 12 men for the hole of the 2nd hafe
The Huguenot Link
Portarlington has been linked to French Huguenot settlers, St.Paul's Church is located on French Church Street. Some surnames in Portarlington are of French origin such as Devereaux, Blanc, Fenlon (also spelled Fenelon) and Le Cumbre.
The town is probably most famous for its appearance in the 1993 Irish film 'Into the West', a touching story about a family from Ireland's Travelling community. Portarlington, and its' Savoy cinema (now closed) appear in the film.
Edward Carson, a famous Unionist and anti-home rule MP received secondary education in Arlington School Portarlington, he went on to be one of the key founders of Northern Ireland. A stone in the possession of the Portarlington Museum has 'Carson' carved on it.