The Swan, County Laois
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Swan or The Swan (Irish: an Eala) is a small village in County Laois, Ireland. It lies near the County Kilkenny border where the R430 regional road crosses the R426. The village lies within the townland of Slatt (Lower), in the civil parish of Rathaspick.
The village is linear, developed along the regional road (R430) to Carlow. The Swan has a low level of services and facilities. No definite village centre exists and the village is serviced with a public house only. No shops are available. This is a purely residential community with some institutional uses. In the last five years the village has experienced a reasonably low level of growth despite a number of new residential developments. The Community Centre in the centre of the village is used by local groups and caters for a wide catchment area.
The Swan is one of the newest villages in Laois and is named after a local public house, The Swan Inn. In 1935, to create employment, a fire clay factory was opened because of local fire clay deposits while coal deposits provided a local energy source. Local population is
Fleming's Fireclays was started by PJ Fleming in 1935. It generated employment for the village and the surrounding areas and provided housing for many of its workers. These houses constituted nearly all the dwellings in the village until 2003, when two new housing projects began and the number of houses has almost doubled as a result. The factory utilises fireclay, which is an abundant local resource, to make bricks and chimney flues. The factory was rebranded as Lagan Brick when Flemings Fireclay was absorbed into the Lagan Group.
- The Swan National School
- PJ Fleming, the founder of Fleming's Fireclays, was a prominent member of the Irish Republican Army which orchestrated the Easter Rising of 1916.
- Gaelic players in the village play for St Josephs along with players from Luggacurren, Wolfhill and Ballyadams. Some players of note from the Swan over the past number of years are Tom Kelly and Joe Higgins, both of whom received GAA All Stars Awards in 2003 after Laois's successful Leinster campaign. Joe Higgins also brought boxing glory to the village with a total of 9 Leinster Titles and 2 All-Irelands.
- The local soccer team, Wolfhill Athletic, play in the Premier Division of the Carlow League after a hugely successful 2008/2009 season which saw them gain promotion and record the Division 1 league and cup double. In 2006/2007 they lost the Divisional Cup Final to Burrin Celtic after penalties but had won their previous 5 cup final appearances in the past 7 years. Their most successful year was arguably 2004/2005 when they won the Carlow Challenge cup. There is also highly successful Over 35's team which has won their league in 2006/2007, 2008/2009 and 2009/2010.
- Former jockey turned trainer, Kevin O'Brien, and his stable of horses have established themselves in the village. Recent successes include Unique Moment and Duty, horses owned by a local syndicate.
- "The Swan - Draft Village Plan, December 2007" (PDF). Laois County Council. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
- Laois Nationalist. http://archives.tcm.ie/laoisnationalist/1999/12/10/story4751.asp Retrieved Jul. 25, 2007
- Carlow & Dist. Football League. http://www.carlowsoccer.com/league_honours.htm Retrieved Jul. 25, 2007