One of Ireland’s finest heritage towns, Abbeyleix is a planned estate town where visitors can admire the fine period buildings. The original town of Abbeyleix grew up near the River Nore, on the site of an early Christian abbey. The town developed under the protection of a twelfth century Cistercian monastery. When the de Vesci family acquired Abbeyleix in 1750, they decided that the town would have to move . The de Vescis levelled the old twon of Abbeyleix and moved its people to a new planned town. Abbeyleix prospered in its new location and by 1837, had grown to 140 houses. Over the next century the main industriesincluded four mills, a brewery and a factory that made carpets all over the world, including on the luxury liner, Titanic.
Today, visitors can admire the fine period buildings that remain in Abbeyleix, including the Church of Ireland, Baptist meeting house, Wesleyan Meeting house, and Catholic Church. Those wanting to learn more about life in the mid 1800s can visit the restored Sexton’s House. For the full story of the town, go to the Abbeyleix Heritage House in the old Patrician North School.