The song ‘The Flight Of The Earls’, composed by Liam Reilly, published by Bardis Music Co. Ltd. and sung by Patsy Watchorn.
Abbeyleix is a market town situated on the old main road between Dublin and Cork. Indeed it’s central, convenient location makes it an ideal focal point to explore the midlands of Ireland. In recent years the town has been bypassed with the building of the M8 between Dublin and Cork.
While the building of the M8 removed the majority of heavy duty vehicles going through the town, it is a great place to stop for the passing motorist or the tourist who might like to linger in our beautiful town.
It is a planned estate town built circa 1770 on the instigation of local landlord Viscount De Vesci. The 2nd viscount realised that the old town which was situated near the river Nore was too low lying and marshy for his tenants. He consequently set about moving the town to the more elevated position it now occupies. The town of Abbeyleix is connected to the De Vesci family for over three hundred years. The townspeople have always held the De Vesci in the highest esteem and the benevolence of the family to the community is legendary.
A stroll through the town reveals many hidden gems and wonders. Beginning at the Heritage house on the northern end of the town, passing by the Sensory gardens of Dove House and entering the square dominated by the magnificently restored Market House( now the local library), the visitor can enjoy and appreciate our town.
Why not enjoy a drink in Morrissey’s, one of the oldest pubs in Ireland and established in Abbeyleix since 1775.
The impressive Pembroke Terrace lies on the southern end of the town, built as a dowry by the Earl of Pembroke for his daughter Emma who married the third Viscount De Vesci.
Abbeyleix is known as the town of the fountains, all beautifully preserved and maintained. Each has a story to tell and well worth a visit. The catholic church is situated on an elevated site overlooking the main thoroughfare while the church of Ireland is on the Ballacolla Road.
Both are very fine structures dating from the nineteenth century. The sextons house adjacent to the church of Ireland has been restored and give a great insight into the way people lived at the time.
The river Nore, the Gills Pond in nearby Ballinakill and Granstown lake in Ballacolla offer a challenge to the avid fisherman. Abbeyleix golf club is a parklands 18 hole course with plenty of mature trees and undulating fairways. Visitors are welcome to come and enjoy a round of golf.
There are many restaurants, coffee shops and pubs in the town where good fare is offered at reasonable prices.
Abbeyleix is a hidden gem in the midlands where a good time is guaranteed and a warm welcome is assured.
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