Portlaoise (Port Laoise):
As part of Ireland's economic growth, land alongside the M7 had become prime for development. At Portlaoise, a new hotel has been built, and in 2009 a landowner was trying to gather interest from a developer wishing to build a motorway service area.
That interest never materialised, but in 2017 Supermac's revealed they were in talks to build a Portlaoise Plaza here, similar to the popular one down the road. They purchased a 109-acre plot of land for €3.25 million, but later sold 76 acres to the council.
A planning application was formally lodged in March 2018 for a two-storey building with a food court, a drive thru and a forecourt. Several objections have been raised by local businesses, arguing that the roundabout can't handle it.
Midway Food Court
Applegreen built a large food court at this junction, called Midway Food Court. It has a lot in common with a British service station building with its food court, free toilets, coach parking and on-site hotel, in addition to being managed by an established Irish service station operator. However, despite well-known by regular motorway users, it is not signed from the motorway at all.
In October 2018 Applegreen received planning permission to build a petrol station at the side of the amenity building. This could quash Supermac's proposals, and lead to it being declared an official offline service area.