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An Sráidbhaile
Main Street
Main Street
Stradbally is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°01′01″N 7°09′11″W / 53.017°N 7.153°W / 53.017; -7.153Coordinates: 53°01′01″N 7°09′11″W / 53.017°N 7.153°W / 53.017; -7.153
CountyCounty Laois
80 m (260 ft)
Time zoneUTC+0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-1 (IST (WEST))
Irish Grid ReferenceS569964

Stradbally (Irish: An Sráidbhaile, meaning 'the (one) street town')[2] is a town in County Laois, Ireland, located in the midlands of Ireland along the N80 road, a National Secondary Route, about 12 km (7 mi) from Portlaoise.[3] It is a townland, a civil parish and historic barony.[4] It is known for its "Steam Rally" and the Electric Picnic.


The history of Stradbally dates to the 6th century when a monastery was established at Oughaval, close to the town - and within the present-day parish.[3]

Samuel Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (published in 1837), records that the parish at that time contained "2392 inhabitants, of which number, 1799 are in the town".[5]

Birth of motor racing[edit]

Oughaval Church in Carricksallagh

On 2 July 1903 the Gordon Bennett Cup ran through Stradbally. It was the first international motor race to be held in Ireland. Kildare was chosen at least partly on the grounds that the straightness of the roads would be a safety benefit. As a compliment to Ireland, the British team chose to race in Shamrock green[a] which thus became known as British racing green.[6][7][8][9] The route consisted of several loops of a route which included Kilcullen, Kildare, Monasterevin, Stradbally, Athy, Castledermot, and Carlow. The 520 kilometres (323 mi) race was won by the Belgian racer Camille Jenatzy, driving a Mercedes.[7][10]


Between 2011 and 2016 the population of Stradbally increased by 11.1%:

  • 2002: 1634
  • 2006: 1554 (-4.2%)
  • 2011: 1626 (+4.6%)
  • 2016: 1807 (+11.1%) - Preliminary Results


Steam rally[edit]

Stradbally steam rally

Stradbally is known for its Steam Rally, an annual gathering of enthusiasts of steam-powered vehicles, held in the grounds of the Cosby estate at Stradbally Hall every August bank holiday weekend. Traction engines and other steam-powered vehicles are brought to the rally and displayed and demonstrated, and a steam railway offers rides along a short track. There is also a Steam Museum in Stradbally Town. One of the group of founders was Harold Condell who was an avid Steam enthusiast and owner. He along with his co-founders established the Irish Steam Preservation Society. It also operates narrow gauge steam railway in the grounds of Stradbally Hall. Stradbally is steeped in steam history since the post industrial revolution. Steam traction engines were in abundance in Stradbally after the turn of the last[clarification needed] century. Families who had threshing sets and steam engines included the Fennelly family of Market Square, Farrelly family, Cole's of Riverside, Condell's of Old Mills (Whitefields), and one family which is still keeping the tradition going are the Deegan's of Kylebeg and now Brockley whom to this day perform the annual threshing at the Steam Rally.

Stradbally Woodland Railway[edit]

Photograph of the ex-BnM loco LM44/No. 2 at a "War on the Railway" event in July, 2016.

In the forest skirting the field where the rally is held there is a Steam railway operated by volunteers of the Irish Steam Preservation Society. It began with the acquisition of one of the Guinness company's steam engines, No 15 built in 1895 and a few coaches in 1966. In 1969 it was replaced by a then surplus steam locomotive, part of BNM's failed experiment in Steam Traction: No2/LM44, built in 1949. The line was changed to 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge and has been steadily expanded to a balloon loop since. It has since acquired several diesel locomotives. ESB Ruston, Serial 326052, No 4, affectionately known as "Rusty" is the railway's Permanent Way locomotive and supplants No 2 from time to time and Planet, works no. 2014 "Nippy", the oldest operational Diesel locomotive in Ireland. It runs every bank holiday weekend throughout the year and is currently expanding operations.

Electric Picnic[edit]

Electric Picnic 2010

The Electric Picnic is an annual arts-and-music festival which has been staged in late August / early September since 2004 at Stradbally Hall in Stradbally. It is organised by Pod Concerts and Festival Republic, who purchased the majority shareholding in 2009.[citation needed] The Electric Picnic was voted Best Medium-Sized European Festival at the 2010 European Festival Awards, and has been voted Best Big Festival in each of the last four Irish Festival Awards since they began in 2007.[citation needed]


St. Patrick's church in Stradbally

The Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart is a Gothic Revival church which was completed in 1896 to a cruciform plan. It was designed by William Hague.[3]

Saint Patrick's Church of Ireland Church is also a Gothic Revival church, built in 1764, with a tower. It was renovated about 1880, with projecting porch, chancel and vestry added.[3]

Saint Colman's Orthodox Church, of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, is on the Abbeyleix Road, approximately one mile outside Stradbally.[citation needed]


Local sports clubs include Stradbally GAA club (the local GAA club), and Stradbally Town A.F.C. (an association football (soccer) club).

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


a. ^ According to Leinster Leader, Saturday, 11 April 1903 Archived 6 January 2017 at, Britain had to choose a different colour to its usual national colours of red, white and blue, as these had already been taken by Italy, Germany and France respectively. It also stated red as the color for American cars in the 1903 Gordon Bennett Cup.


  1. ^ "Sapmap Area: Settlements Stradbally". Census 2016. Central Statistics Office. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  2. ^ "An Sráidbhaile/Stradbally". Placenames Database of Ireland ( Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d "Draft Stradbally Town Plan" (PDF). Laois County Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 October 2008. Retrieved 29 June 2008.
  4. ^ "Stradbally". IreAtlas Townlands Database. Archived from the original on 28 June 2015. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  5. ^ "Lewis Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837) – Stradbally (Queen's County)". Archived from the original on 10 January 2020. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  6. ^ Circle Genealogic and Historic Champanellois Archived 5 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b "Leinster Leader, Saturday, 11 April 1903". Archived from the original on 6 January 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  8. ^ Lynch, Brendan (22 October 2003). "Britain's first international motor race". 8W. Forix. Archived from the original on 15 October 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2018. Based on Lynch's Triumph of the Red Devil, the 1903 Irish Gordon Bennett Cup Race.
  9. ^ "The Gordon Bennett races – the birth of international competition. Author Leif Snellman, Summer 2001". Archived from the original on 10 February 2010. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
  10. ^ "Bleacher report, The Birth of British motor racing". Bleacher Report. Archived from the original on 6 January 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2010.