Portlaoise, known as Maryborough from 1557 until 1929, is the county town of County Laois, in midst of the Republic of Ireland.
The town originated as a settlement around the old fort, "Fort of Leix", the remains of which can still be seen in the town centre, begun in 1548 under the supervision of Lord Deputy Sir Edward Bellingham. The fort's location on rising ground, surrounded to the south and east by the natural defensive barricades of the River Triogue and an esker known locally as 'the Ridge', greatly added to its strategic importance.
The town proper was established by an act of Parliament during the reign of Queen Mary I in 1557 and named Maryborough, and the county was named Queen's County in her honour. (Read more)