3 Best Sights in Abbeyleix, The Midlands

Heritage House

Remodeled interpretation, time lines, and new infographics were added during 2020 at the Heritage House, also known as the former North Boys School. The displays feature a variety of aspects of Laois life as well as the history of Abbeyleix and the de Vescis, an Anglo-Norman family who, in 1699, came to live at an estate nearby. They were instrumental in building and developing the new town of Abbeyleix in 1770. The school was originally constructed for the education of Catholics (at the other end of the town you'll find the South School, built for Protestants). Hour-long guided walking tours of the town are held in the summer while another tour links the center with new boardwalks at Abbeyleix Bog on the southern outskirts of the town that encompasses a 500-acre area of diverse habitats. Both tours costs €7 which includes admission to the house. Check the website for details of tour dates and times.

Main St., Abbeyleix, Ireland
057-873–1653
Sight Details
Rate Includes: €5, €7 for guided tour, Nov.--Feb. closed Sun. and Mon.; Mar.--Oct. closed Sun.

Heywood Gardens

The Lutyenses' house, once in the pretty Georgian village of Ballinakill, burned down in 1950 due to an electrical fault, but the gardens, with landscaping most likely attributable to the famed Gertrude Jekyll, are still worth a detour. Guided one-hour tours by prior booking (Monday--Thursday) are available through this gardener's paradise, where a formal lawn flanked by traditional herbaceous borders leads to a sunken Italian garden. Highlights include a rose called Natalie Naples and Johnston's Blue geraniums.

Morrissey's Pub

Don't miss Morrissey's. A working public house since 1775, this is one of Ireland's best-loved drinking emporiums and has a dark, wood-panel interior furnished with antique bar fittings. Customers can warm themselves by an ancient potbelly stove. Until 2005, this establishment still functioned as a shop, and while it retains its stocks of groceries, they are no longer for sale. An evocative time capsule, it serves as a reminder of times when you could purchase a pound of butter, the newspaper, and cattle feed while enjoying the obligatory pint of Guinness. They serve sandwiches in the afternoon, which you can enjoy alfresco at picnic tables at the front of the bar, and pizzas are available into the late evening.

10 Main St., Abbeyleix, Ireland
057-873–1281

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