Claire Byrne's Laois Life

Claire Byrne's Laois Life

Claire Byrne

The popular RTE current affairs presenter considers her home in our new series, in which notable Laois people tell us their favourite things about their native county.

What's your idea of a perfect day or weekend in Laois?

I go to Laois for a Mammy dinner! For me, bringing my children ‘home’ is the best part of the weekend. My son spends his time fascinated while sitting up on a stationary tractor for hours on end and we all tuck into a big roast and have a catch-up. Simple pleasures!

What is your first Laois memory?

I was born and reared in Laois so all my early memories are of growing up there. I was lucky to have a very happy childhood. We had great freedom and I just remember spending loads of time outside playing, cycling to school and of course everyone thinks the weather was always sunny in their childhood, but I do remember long, warm Laois summers. We enjoyed wandering around Ballyfin back in the time when it was a school and local amenity or out by the lovely riverside in Castletown.

What's your favourite part of the county and why?

I love nothing more than the comfort and familiarity of being at home. There’s a very special feeling when you are back in the area where you grew up and your character was formed. For me, it’s not about any one place. It’s all just home!

What's the biggest challenge facing the county?

I’m very hopeful for Laois and the future of the county. Portlaoise is the fastest growing town in Ireland and as time progresses, accessibility for people who live in Laois and work in Dublin will hopefully get better, quicker and easier. Laois has everything going for it; Portlaoise is a modern, urban centre but the county still retains the benefits of being rural.

If you had the power to change one thing about Laois what would it be?

I always felt that the Celtic Tiger bypassed Laois and as the economy improves, I really hope that balanced and sustainable economic development comes to the county and that Laois realises its own potential as a dynamic hub in the heart of Ireland.