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Return of Old Fort Festival to Portlaoise
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Return of Old Fort Festival to Portlaoise

Portlaoise’s Old Fort Quarter Festival Returns: 27th – 30th June

The countdown is on! In less than two weeks, Portlaoise Town Centre will come alive with the sights and sounds of the Old Fort Quarter Festival. Anticipation is at an all-time high as record crowds are expected to join in celebrating the town’s vibrant history.

Transmitter frontman Stewart Quinn with Cllr Paschal McEvoy, cathaoirleach of Laois County Council at the Fort Protector Performance Space at Laois School of Music for the launch of the Old Fort Quarter Festival, Portlaoise 27th – 30th June 2024. Picture: Alf Harvey.

Festival Highlights

Prepare for an unforgettable Sunday afternoon (June 30th)! Main Street, Church Avenue, and Fitzmaurice Place will transform into a bustling Giant Street Market. Enjoy a spectacular lineup of free entertainment on the Large Stage in the Lower Square. Immerse yourself in history with a Heritage Exhibition by The Laois Heritage Society and heritage walking tours of the Fort Protector. Music Generation Laois will showcase performances from across Ireland at its brand new venue. Meanwhile, The Dunamaise Arts Centre will dazzle with a line up of the best street performers with colorful activities for the whole family. These festivities, brought to you by Laois County Council and the Old Fort Quarter Festival, run from 12 noon to 6 pm.

Cllr Paschal McEvoy, cathaoirleach of Laois County Council with committee members, members of Transmitter, sponsors and artists at the Fort Protector Performance Space at Laois School of Music for the launch of the Old Fort Quarter Festival, Portlaoise 27th – 30th June 2024. Picture: Alf Harvey.

Saturday, June 29th Events

On Saturday, June 29th, Portlaoise Library will delight children with free interactive history shows at 10 am, 12 pm, and 2 pm. Meanwhile, the Dunamaise Arts Centre will be a hive of activity with a thrilling Comic Con and an impressive Arts Exhibition.

Dinah Thorney and Eric Filar with Cllr Paschal McEvoy, cathaoirleach of Laois County Council at the Fort Protector Performance Space at Laois School of Music for the launch of the Old Fort Quarter Festival, Portlaoise 27th – 30th June 2024. Picture: Alf Harvey.

Evening Entertainment at the Fort Protector Live Performance Area in the Laois Music Centre, Church Avenue, Portlaoise. 

Noah and Suzie Kavanagh at the Fort Protector Performance Space at Laois School of Music for the launch of the Old Fort Quarter Festival, Portlaoise 27th – 30th June 2024. Picture: Alf Harvey.

The newly renovated Laois Music Centre, boasting a brand new covered area and stage, will host electrifying evening entertainment:

  • Thursday Evening: The festival kicks off with an explosive performance by The Tumbling Paddies, with George Murphy setting the stage.
  • Friday Night: Get ready to rock with last year’s sell-out sensations, The Whistlin’ Donkeys, and The Dooley Brothers!
  • Saturday Night: Enjoy the infectious energy of Pogueology, Laois’s finest, and Live Forever, the ultimate Oasis tribute band.
  • Sunday Night: Cap off the festival with a bang as Transmitter and Smash Hits deliver a high-energy finale that’s sure to be unforgettable.
Transmitter frontman Stewart Quinn performing at the Fort Protector Performance Space at Laois School of Music for the launch of the Old Fort Quarter Festival, Portlaoise 27th – 30th June 2024. Picture: Alf Harvey.

Heritage Events in Conjunction with Portlaoise Library and Laois Heritage Society

Alice McCabe, Festival secretary dancing to Transmitter with Niamh and Suzie Kavanagh at the Fort Protector Performance Space at Laois School of Music for the launch of the Old Fort Quarter Festival, Portlaoise 27th – 30th June 2024. Picture: Alf Harvey.

Saturday, 29th June, Portlaoise Library

Portlaoise Library, at the heart of the Old Fort Quarter, is ready to host a day packed with heritage activities and talks:

  • Interactive History Shows for Children: Join Dylan Nolan for thrilling medieval Laois stories, complete with replica weapons and armor. Shows at 10 am, 12 pm, and 2 pm.
  • Local Studies Coffee Morning: Savor light refreshments and engaging history talks from 11 am to 1 pm in the Community Room.
  • Lecture on the History and Architecture of Fort Protector: Hear from Conservation Architect Richard McLoughlin as he shares fascinating insights from the conservation plan. The lecture starts in the afternoon.
Patricia O’Rourke and Suzanne Dempsey from LCC at the Fort Protector Performance Space at Laois School of Music for the launch of the Old Fort Quarter Festival, Portlaoise 27th – 30th June 2024. Picture: Alf Harvey.

Sunday, 30th June, Church Avenue & Fitzmaurice Place

Heritage and family fun continue outdoors from midday to 6 pm:

  • Medieval Activities: Experience the thrill of birds of prey, archery, and live reenactments of medieval life, including crafts, cookery, and warfare.
  • Laois Heritage Society Tent: Enjoy face painting, shield painting, street performers, stalls, music, and more.
  • History Tours: Renowned local historians Teddy Fennelly and Michael Parsons will lead captivating walking tours of old Portlaoise, starting at the front of Portlaoise Library at 2 pm and 4 pm.
Transmitter performing at the Fort Protector Performance Space at Laois School of Music for the launch of the Old Fort Quarter Festival, Portlaoise 27th – 30th June 2024. Picture: Alf Harvey.

For more information, visit www.oldfortquarter.com