The Forum Mountmellick-Building History

The Forum buildings are protected structures which are renovated to the highest standard, each with their own unique history.
The main hub buildings are comprised of a historical Manse building dating from the 1780's to the Presbyterian Church dating from 1853.
The Coach House at the rear of the Church dates circa 1800, was rebuilt, refurbished to modern standards, and launched in 2021 as a self-catering accommodation perfect for couples and small family groups.
The historical Church building was designed by local architect, Mr. Murdoch Campbell. His architectural follies are still evident today (10-Minutes’ drive from Mountmellick) in the grounds of the now world famous Ballyfin Demesne such as the round tower and the lakeside caves. Mr. Murdoch was also a member of the local Presbyterian congregation at the time.
The foundation stone for the church was laid on the 6th of September 1853 by Mr. William Todd (Builder) in the presence of Murdoch Campbell and the then Minister, Henry McManus. The commemorative plaque was found buried in the foundations during the redevelopment works and is now on display in the Forum for visitors viewing.
It appears from the records that a part of a terraced house was demolished to make space for the Church and the remaining section of the origional  house was retained and integrated into the church as living accommodation (Manse) for the serving minister.
The Church was first opened on 27th August in 1854 by Dr. Morgan of Fisherwick Church, Belfast and he preached the first sermon to a packed Church. The cost of the Church and manse were slightly over £1,000. In 1857, Minister Henry McManus, declared the church and manse free from all the debt.
However, Presbyterian congregation numbers diminished along with the industrial decline within the area. The congregation declined to such numbers that the church's costly upkeep was unsustainable and hence it fell into disrepair. Therefore, a decision was made to sell the Church.
In 2012, with support of Irelands County Laois Partnership Group, the Church/Manse property was restored and developed, to provide boutique tourist accommodation with the objective to attract visitors to the local area and the nearby Slieve Bloom Mountains.
Coming soon is the Georgian House which is another protected structure, located in Mountmellick's Georgian Square, which dates from the 1780-1800's, and was the former home of the distinguished Goodbody family, renowned Quaker, and tanning merchants.
There is a significant increase in visitors to County Laois who are tracing their ancestral roots to Mountmellick, and we are delighted to help where possible in this search.



Patrick Street,
County Laois,
R32 KN25


+353 57 869 7557



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