Old St Peter's Church, Portlaoise, County Laois

Old St Peters Church Portlaoise is one of the oldest buildings surviving in the town and dates back to the middle of the sixteenth century. The Portlaoise Tidy Towns Group wish to conserve the historic fabric of the site, and to recreate a place for peaceful reflection within the busy town centre of Portlaoise.

Old St Peter’s Church is thought to have originally been constructed in around 1556, when Portlaoise (or as it was then known, Maryborough), was developed as a Plantation Town under the orders of Queen Mary Tudor. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, is said to have preached in the church on three occasions and declared it to be “one of the most elegant churches in the whole Kingdom”. A number of interesting personalities and characters are interred within the historic graveyard, including Bartholomew Mosse the visionary founder of Dublin’s Rotunda Hospital, and the notorious highwayman Jeremiah Grant, known as Grant the Robber. The church and graveyard feature in the Story of Portlaoise Audio Guide.

The Community: Portlaoise Tidy Towns

Portlaoise Tidy Towns joined the Adopt a Monument Scheme in 2017. They are an energetic and enterprising Tidy Towns group whose efforts have been rewarded with numerous silver medals in the National Tidy Towns Competition. The group have also worked with Laois County Council and the Irish Wildlife Trust (Laois/Offaly branch) on biodiversity projects in Portlaoise Town Park. Here the group developed a wildflower meadow area and erected bird and bat boxes alongside Portlaoise Men’s Shed.

With funding from the Heritage Council through Creative Ireland and Adopt a Monument, Portlaoise Tidy Towns undertook the conservation and reinstatement of historic ironwork around the Jacob’s Family grave plot in Old St Peter’s Graveyard, Portlaoise, as part of a wider graveyard conservation project that is being funded by Laois County Council.

For more information please follow Portlaoise Tidy Towns on Facebook.