New Festival for Portlaoise
New Festival for Portlaoise
An exciting new street festival for Portlaoise has been announced! The Old Fort Quarter Festival draws its title and theme from the little known, but fascinating history of the original ‘Fort of Maryborough’ and offers a weekend of free family fun and live music on Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 June on Main Street, Portlaoise.
A jam packed programme of events will run from noon to midnight each day. Street Theatre including Stilt Walkers, Jugglers, Puppet Shows, Giant Games, Family Art Workshops and more fun daily. On Sunday, a range of Medieval Heritage Displays offer a taste of life in Maryborough Fort with displays by a Blacksmith, Armoury and more from Irish Arms re-enactment group. Live Music on Main Street includes top acts; Interskalactic, Big Generator, Poguetry in Motion, Transmitter, Strength in Numbers, The Valves and more each evening.
Located just behind Main Street, sections of the original walls of the 16th Century Fort walls are visible along its border. Properties on the Main Street have areas exposed and intact, and the Fort’s rounded corner tower is especially prominent at Fitzmaurice Place, near Scoil Mhuire.
Beginning in 1547AD as a defensive fortification against the local clans, the town of Maryborough (now Portlaoise) developed around the site of the Fort. The Festival is the first major public event to raise awareness of the significance of the Old Fort. Longer term plans include branding that section of town as the ‘Old Fort Quarter’, from Main Street to Fitzmaurice Place and along Church Avenue and Railway Street on each side, in order to identify this section of the town as a cultural/heritage site.
Laois Heritage Society recently published an archaeological survey on the sites that adjoin or sit inside the Old Fort. This led to an interest from local businesses to develop this section of the town into a cultural/heritage site. The ultimate aim is to develop awareness of this unique piece of Irish history that we are lucky enough to have situated right in the centre of town and to explore its potential as a unique attraction for heritage & cultural tourism.
The Organisers are working closely with the Gardai and Laois County Council to make sure all necessary advance arrangements regarding temporary street closure of lower Main Street, traffic flow, parking arrangements and security are in place, to ensure a safe, family friendly and positive atmosphere is created for the weekend long Festival.
Main Street Portlaoise will be thriving on Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 June for this fantastic weekend of entertainment for all to enjoy. For updates on this exciting event check local press and follow ‘Old Fort Quarter’ on Facebook or Twitter. The Festival is kindly supported by Laois County Council, Laois Heritage Society, Dunamaise Arts Centre and local businesses.