Mainistir Laoise
Main Street
Location in Ireland
Coordinates:52°54′50″N 7°20′56″W / 52.914°N 7.349°W / 52.914; -7.349Coordinates:52°54′50″N 7°20′56″W / 52.914°N 7.349°W / 52.914; -7.349
CountyCounty Laois
95 m (312 ft)
 • Total1,770
Irish Grid ReferenceS435850

Abbeyleix (/ˈæbˈlks/; Irish: Mainistir Laoise, meaning 'Laois Abbey')[2] is a town in County Laois, Ireland, located around 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) south of the county town of Portlaoise.

Abbeyleix was formerly located on the N8, the main road from Dublin to Cork. At one point there was up to 15,000 vehicles passing along the town's main street every day. Since May 2010, however, the town has been bypassed by the M8 motorway, with the former N8 consequently downgraded to the N77 national secondary road.


There was a settlement at Abbeyleix as early as 1183, that grew up near the River Nore, around a Cistercian monastery - which gives the town its name.

(c) liam murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0
Monument to John Vesey, 2nd Viscount de Vesci

Modern Abbeyleix is one of the oldest planned estate towns in Ireland. It was largely built in the 18th century by Viscount de Vesci. The regular flooding of the River Nore made the town an unhealthy place to live. Around 1790, John Vesey determined that the location of the town was not suitable for his tenants, and began to design a new one. The old town was levelled, and the residents moved to the new one.[3] A memorial to the 2nd Viscount de Vesci, paid for by subscriptions, is in the town center. It features a water trough for horses.

Today, there is a large range of historical structures still standing in and around the small heritage town - ancient ring forts, burial grounds, churches and estate houses. The town once had a carpet factory, established in 1904 by Yvo de Vesci, the 5th Viscount – notably producing some of the carpets used on the RMS Olympic and RMS Titanic.[4]

The Abbeyleix Heritage House is a local heritage centre, with visitor information and an exhibition on the county's history and local attractions. Original antique carpets and vintage costumes are on display alongside archaeological and historical artefacts.


Access to the M8 motorway to Cork is provided via the R433 road, while the N77 road links the town with the Dublin-Limerick M7 and to Kilkenny.

Abbeyleix railway station opened on 1 March 1865 and closed on 1 January 1963.[5]

Bus Éireann's expressway service between Dublin and Cork ceased to serve Abbeyleix on 30 June 2012. As an interim measure until 11 August 2012 Bus Éireann operated a shuttle service (route 128) to connect with Expressway services at Portlaoise.[6] Slieve Bloom Coaches also have a route from Borris-in-Ossory to Portlaoise which serves the town.[7]


There is a District Hospital in the town, and a number of shops and pubs. Father Breen Park has fields for soccer and other sports, while the adjacent CYMS hall is home to a number of clubs, including boxing and Tae-Kwon-Do House also provides guided tours of the museum and runs workshops throughout the year. The Abbeyleix Manor Hotel is part of the Magnuson Hotels chain.[8]

The "Lords Walk Loop" is a 2.4 kilometer loop that traces an old walking route taken by the De Vesci Family to reach the local church and railway station.[9]

Buildings of note

Plaque on Market House
  • Abbeyleix Market House is a five-bay, four storey building which was previously used as a Fire Station and Library. It has been renovated as a state-of-the-art library and exhibition centre.
  • Abbeyleix House and the de Vesci estate (Abbeyleix Estate) is located on the Ballacolla road. As of 2019, the estate was being marketed for sale, with an asking price of ε20 million. [10][11]
  • Heritage House is a visitor centre which houses a museum and model railway. There is also a large playground on the property. This 19th-century building, once the North Boys School, is listed on the Register of Protected Structures.[12]
  • The Abbeyleix South National School is a 19th-century building, not open to the public.
  • Abbeyleix Further Education Centre, located on the Mountrath Road, is housed in a former Technical School and is a good example of the school architecture of the time.


Abbeyleix GAA club is the local Gaelic Athletic Association club. Abbeyleix Golf Club and Abbeyleix Lawn Tennis Club were established in 1895 and 1909 respectively.[13][14] Other sports clubs in the area include a hockey club and soccer (association football) club.[15][16]

Notable residents

See also


  1. ^ "Sapmap Area - Settlements - Abbeyleix". Census 2016. CSO. April 2016. Archived from the original on 11 February 2018. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  2. ^ "Abbeyleix / Mainistir Laoise". Irish Placenames Commission. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  3. ^ ""Abbeyleix (Laois Heritage Trail)", Laois County Council". Archived from the original on 21 January 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Titanic Carpet Factory". Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  5. ^ "Abbeyleix station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 8 September 2007.
  6. ^ "Shannon Airport - Bus Éireann - View Ireland Bus and Coach Timetables & Buy Tickets". Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  7. ^ "BorrisInOssory". Archived from the original on 7 September 2019. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Abbeyleix Manor Hotel". Archived from the original on 21 January 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  9. ^ ""Lords Walk Loop Abbeyleix", All Trail". Archived from the original on 21 January 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  10. ^ "The Abbey Leix Estate, Abbeyleix, Co. Laois". DAFT. Archived from the original on 24 June 2019. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  11. ^ "Historic 1,100-acre Laois estate goes up for sale with €20 million price tag - Laois Today". 24 June 2019. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  12. ^ "Heritage House". Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  13. ^ "Abbeyleix Golf Club Est.1895 – Welcome to our site". Archived from the original on 26 December 2019. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  14. ^ "About – Abbeyleix Tennis Club". Archived from the original on 18 January 2020. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  15. ^ "Abbeyleix Hockey Club". Archived from the original on 20 March 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  16. ^ Abbeyleix Soccer Club
  17. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963.

External links

Media files used on this page

Island of Ireland location map Laois.svg
Author/Creator: , Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
The island of Ireland, showing international border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, traditional provinces, traditional counties, and local authority areas in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
IMG 1771w.JPG
Main Street, Abbeyleix
Plaque on Market House Abbeyleix.jpg
(c) Peter Clarke at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0
Plaque on Abbeyleix Market House
Monument to John Vesey, 2nd Viscount de Vesci.jpg
(c) liam murphy, CC BY-SA 2.0
Monument dedicated to the second Viscount de Vesci.