In Mapping Laois from the 16th to the 21st century, Arnold Horner reviews and seeks to provide context for the extraordinarily rich diversity of manuscript and printed maps that record the changing political, economic and social circumstances of an Irish county over nearly five centuries. The flavour of these varied, informative and often colourful maps is captured in over 400 illustrations, among which are reproductions of six early county maps and a unique assemblage of images from the Ordnance Survey ‘fair plans’ of c. 1838–40.
With a map record that stretches back more than 450 years, County Laois (formerly Leix and Laoighis, and between 1556 and 1920 officially known as Queen’s County) has a distinguished place in the history of cartography in Ireland. This book explores that record, from the first map of c. 1560, covering the eastern part of the county, through to the present century. The aim here is to draw attention to the extent, variety and interest of the maps made during a period of major transformation across the county—a period when far-reaching changes in landownership and settlement were accompanied by significant environmental modifications.