Port Laoise (IR)
From Stamps of the World
Port Laoise, or Portlaoise (Hist; Maryborough), is a town in Ireland. It is located in Co. Laois in the South Midlands in the province of Leinster.
It was an important town in the medieval period, as the site of the Fort of Maryborough, a Fort built by English settlers in the 16th Century.The town proper was established by an act of Parliament during the reign of Queen Mary in 1557. Though the early fort and its surrounding settlement had been known by a number of names, such as Governor, Port Laois, Campa and Fort Protector, the new town was named Maryborough and the county was named Queen's County in Mary's honour. In about 1556, Portlaoise acquired its first parish church—Old St Peter's—situated to the west of Fort Protector. Although first built as a Catholic church, thanks to Queen Mary's reestablishment of Roman Catholicism, the church was used for Protestant services after the accession to the English throne of Mary's half-sister, Elizabeth.
In 1803-04, a new Church of Ireland church was built to replace the Old St Peter's and was the first building to be erected on the new Market Square. The building is attributed to architect James Gandon. Other notable buildings constructed in Portlaoise in the nineteenth century included the now-destroyed French Renaissance-style Town Hall on Market Square; the Court House on Main Street, built in 1805; the County Gaol built in 1830 to a design by William Deane Butler; and the neo-classical St. Fintan’s Asylum, built in 1832 on the Dublin Road.
In 1929, a few years after the foundation of the Irish Free State, the town was renamed Portlaoighise (later simplified to Portlaoise) and the county was renamed County Laois. A number of other towns in the Free State also reverted to their Irish (or anglicised Irish) names during this period.