Single Blog Title

This is a single blog caption

Laois Tourism, Food & Creative Business Connect at Networking Event

Laois Tourism, Food & Creative businesses connect at Networking Event in the Killeshin Hotel

As a follow on to recent Laois Tourism and Food events, Laois Partnership are running a series of Networking Events for the Tourism, Food and Creative Sectors in County Laois. On a sunny summer’s evening, over 60 representatives from the tourism, food and creative sectors in County Laois gathered together to network and develop their business at the 2nd Tourism, Food & Creative Sectors Network Training event which took place in the Killeshin Hotel on Wed. 23rd May 2018.


Speaking at the event, Fáilte Ireland’s Colm Breheny stated that Laois is well posited to grow under the Ireland’s Ancient East brand, #with your wonderful Great Houses and ancient stories, notably around the Rock of Dunamaise, Emo Court and Timahoe’s Round Tower, amongst others’.  Colm noted that currently 79% of all overnight accommodation from overseas visitors to Ireland stay in only 5 counties.   Fáilte Ireland’s vision is that overnight stays and revenue are spread and increased substantially to the remaining counties. Coupled with a strong heritage, the abundant supply and quality of accommodation in County Laois ensures Laois is in a strong position to develop tourism in the County and to get visitors to stay. Fáilte Ireland’s Sarah O Dwyer was also in attendance. Sarah will be the main point of contact for people in County Laois and can be contacted on Ann Shields from Laois Partnership summarized succinctly the funding and support available from Laois Partnership.


At the event a number of the events and businesses associated with the tourism, food and creative sectors exhibited and pitched their business/event to the audience. Representing local Laois businesses and local groups, the following showcased at the event:

Durrow Scarecrow Festival – which takes place in Durrow from Sunday 29th July to Monday 6th August 2018 is in its 10th year.  From a footfall in 2012 of 11,000 people, the festival had risen over the nine-day event to in excess of 27,000 attendees. Details: Evelyn Clancy/Emer O’Brien.  Website:; Email:; mobile 087 9626350

Buds & Blossoms Festival – now in its 3rd year, this Laois Garden Festival takes place on Sunday 10th June in Spink Community Grounds. Guest speakers this year will include Ireland’s own Dermot O’Neill, along with Bob Brown (Cotswolds Garden Flowers and Paul Smyth, Head Propagator, Crug Farm Plants, North Wales.   Details:

The Bulfin Heritage Cycle – ‘Heritage on a High Nelly’ is the best way to describe this event which takes place around Laois, starting and finishing in Durrow on August 24th and 25th.  Following in the ‘wheelrims’ of William Bulfin (1864-1910), and remembering his journey through Ireland’s highways this two day event showcases the hidden heritage of Ireland’s Ancient East.  Details: Hugh Sheppard; Mobile 086 8694691

The Old Fort Festival – takes place from June 22nd to 24th in Portlaoise and celebrates the heritage of the Old Fort of Marlborough in Portlaoise.  This 3 day festival offers something for all the family.  Events take place from 12 noon each day with almost all events free of charge.                        Details: PJ Kavanagh; Email: Phone: 087 226 7204

Given Laois’ strong tradition of music, Eoghan Fingleton from The School of Rock and Pop – Music Generation Laois also exhibited, along with David Hainsworth from The Wine Buff, Portarlington.

Trudy Earls from Experiencing Laois showcased her Laois tour guide business and showed the benefits of having a local tour guide –  who can bring you to local chocolatier (Catherine O’Callaghan of Cocoa Couture in Mountmellick) and designer (Angelina Foster of Angelina’s Art Ventures) both of whom exhibited with Trudy.  All these businesses highlighted the immersive and experiential nature of the Laois tourism offering. Details:– website:; Email

A total of 5 networking events will be run and there will be an opportunity for other businesses to showcase their products/services at future events. The event is being funded by Laois Partnership The next networking event will take place on September 5th in the Killeshin Hotel where the guest speaker will be John Brennan from The Park Hotel Kenmare.  Anyone interested in attending the networking events should contact Liz Kennedy, Project Co-ordinator at any of the following:


Liz Kennedy, Project Co-ordinator, Rural Network Training Programme, Laois Partnership

Phone 087 6381675