Established as a Bar and Grocery shop well over 100 years ago by the current owners great grand parents, Edward & Margaret Ramsbottom, Kavanagh’s Bar & Venue is the longest family run pub business on the Main Street.
Patrick and Margaret had 6 children, Norah (who took over the pub with her husband Patrick Kavanagh in the late 1920’s / early ’30’s), Patrick (Paddy as commanding officer of the Laois Brigade of the IRA in 1916 is credited with firing the first shot of the 1916 Easter Rising in Colt Woods), Henry (Har), Kathleen (who married Frank Gowing), Edward Ned (who married Sarah Byrne), James Jim (who married Jennie Byrne) Margaret.
In the 1920’s Edward (Ned) Ramsbottom went on to purchase what is now Ramsbottom & Son’s Pub at 101 Main Street. Ned’s son Henry (Har) succeeded his father. In the late 1940’s Liam Ryan started working there. Following Har’s death in 1957 Liam purchased the premises.
Back at 28 Main Street, Norah and Patrick Ramsbottom had 3 children, PJ, Peggy and Mary. PJ & Vera were married in the 1960’s and took over the pub. They had 6 children, Nora, Ita, Veronica, Siobhan, Claire and PJ (jnr).

PJ (jnr) took over the pub in 1998 and married Niamh in 2009. They have 2 children, Noah & Suzie.

In 2000, the premises was completely demolished and rebuilt with a small bar introduced upstairs, This bar became home to Kavanagh’s Comedy Club.

Kavanagh’s Comedy Club;

On Sept 11th 2003 the first Comedy Gig took place there with a group from New Zealand called Flight of the Conchords, Bret and Jemaine had just completed a run at the Edinburgh Festival where they were shortlisted for the prestigious Perrier award. The guys stayed over for the night, got a nice breakfast the following morning and were brought to the train station in the back of PJ’s Ford Escort hatchback. Off they went and took over the comedy world!
That Thursday night gig sold out – 60 people at the first comedy club in Portlaoise, we thought the future was safe.Two weeks later we held our second comedy club to 6 paying guests. It’s true what they say about working hard at something to make it work!.

Since then Kavanaghs Comedy Club has hosted some of the big names of Comedy including Tommy Tiernan, Kevin Bridges, Aprés Match, The Stars of Who’s Line is It Anyway?, Des Bishop, Neil Delamere, David O’Doherty, Bernard O’Shea, Foil Arm’s and Hog, Ardal O’Hanlon, Reginald D Hunter, Tom Stade, Glenn Wool and many many more.

The Hallowe’en Howls Comedy Festival kicked off on the Oct Bank Holiday Weekend in 2007 with Neil Delamere, Karl Spain, Maeve Higgins and Andrew Maxwell headlining. We’ve had plenty of recordings with comedians too including PJ Gallaghers ‘Just Jokes’ & ‘Stage Fright’, David O’Doherty ‘The Modest Adventures of David O’Doherty’.
Our good friend Bernard O’Shea, was resident MC of the Comedy Club from 2003 to about 2015. Bernard was responsible for bringing top acts and some of the best up and coming acts to Kavanaghs over the years. We might get a statue?
It’s not all about what happens on the Comedy stage that makes it bit special, we’ve also had a written bomb threat asking us to cancel a gig, we’ve had a few late night brainstorming ideas that resulted in some comedy retirement, some success TV Shows and plenty of not so successful ones. Either way the show must go on, and on we’ll go!