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Latest Laois Event: Laois Heritage Seminar 2003
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Latest Laois Event: Laois Heritage Seminar 2003

Laois Heritage Seminar 2023 & Launch of Laois Heritage & Biodiversity Strategy 2021 – 2026


The Laois Heritage Seminar 2023 took place in the Midlands Park Hotel on Saturday 2nd December.
Organised by Laois Heritage Officer, Thomas Carolan this seminar was an opportunity for members of the public to hear more about the various heritage-related activities taking place in Laois recently that are supported through the Laois Heritage Office.

Launching the Laois Heritage & Biodiversity Strategy 2021 – 2026. Cllr Padraig Fleming, John Mulholland, chief executive Laois County Council; Cllr Paschal McEvoy, cathaoirleach of LCC; Laois Heritage Officer Thomas Carolan; Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald and David O’Hara, senior planner Laois County Council at the Laois Heritage Seminar 2023. Picture: Alf Harvey.


The Seminar was opened by John Mulholland, Chief Executive Laois County Council who spoke about the importance of supporting heritage in the county. Sineád Holland, Chair of the Laois Heritage Society gave a short speech on the importance of the Laois Heritage Office and Laois Heritage Society working together for the protection and promotion of heritage in all its forms.

Launching the Laois Heritage & Biodiversity Strategy 2021 – 2026. Laois Heritage Officer Thomas Carolan; Sinéad Holland, chair Laois Heritage Society; Cllr Paschal McEvoy, cathaoirleach of LCC and Teddy Fennelly, president Laois Heritage Society at the Laois Heritage Seminar 2023. Picture: Alf Harvey.


The seminar talks reflected the diversity of projects being supported through the Laois heritage
Office. The first talk was by John Beattie, Architectural Conservation Advisor, National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. John was the winner of the 2023 Laois Heritage Week event for his 20th Century Walking Tour of Portlaoise. John’s talk shed light on the background for organising his award-winning HW event, and also the extensive research he undertook on the buildings he chose to showcase on the tour.

Laois County Council chief executive John Mulholland, Sinéad Holland, chair Laois Heritage Society and Laois Heritage officer Thomas Carolan at the Laois Heritage Seminar 2023. Picture: Alf Harvey.


The second talk was by Lucy O’Connor, Conservation Architect, Howley Hayes and Cooney; John Lonergan, Revamp Conservation who described the work involved in a three-year Just Transition funded project to conserve six medieval church and graveyard sites in Laois and Offaly, while also helping to increase biodiversity.

The attendance at the Laois Heritage Seminar 2023. Picture: Alf Harvey.


Finally, archaeologist Colm Flynn (Horizon Archaeology) spoke about archaeological excavations on Church St. Portlaoise in 2021 and recent archaeological monitoring within the Fort Protector walls in 2023, and what they reveal about the earliest settlement of Portlaoise (formerly Maryborough).

Laois Heritage Officer Thomas Carolan speaking at the Laois Heritage Seminar 2023. Picture: Alf Harvey.


The seminar concluded with the launch of the Laois Heritage & Biodiversity Strategy 2021 – 2026.
Although the official publication of this strategy was delayed due to the Covid Pandemic, the
objectives it outlines for the future protection and promotion of Heritage in Laois are already
underway. Cllr Paschal McEvoy, Cathaoirleach Laois County Council was present to officially launch the strategy, which will be available shortly online at https://laois.ie/departments/heritage/ and in hardcopy at library branches around the county.