Abbeyleix Civil Parish
County Leix/Laois

Barony Cullenagh Maryborough West Clarmallagh
Poor Law Union Abbeyleix Abbeyleix Abbeyleix
Catholic Diocese Kildare & Leighlin Kildare & Leighlin Kildare & Leighlin
Catholic Parish Abbeyleix Abbeyleix Abbeyleix


ABBEYLEIX, a market and post-town, and a parish, partly in the barony of Fassadining, county of Kilkenny, and partly in the barony of Maryborough-West, but chiefly in that of Cullinagh, Queen's county, and province of Leinster, 7 miles (S.S.E.) from Maryborough, and 47 miles (S.W.) from Dublin; containing 5990 inhabitants, of which number 1009 are in the town.  This place, called also Clonkyne Leis, or De Lege Dei, was the site of a monastery founded about the year 600, but of which there is no further account till the year 1183, when it was refounded and dedicated to the Blesed Virgin by Conogher or Corcheger O'More, who placed in it monks of the Cistertian order from Baltinglass, in the county of Wicklow, and was himself interred within its precincts.  It maintained a high degree of reputation; and the town adjoining it, which took its name from the abbey, gradually rose to be the principal place in the territory Leix, now Queen's county.  In the 5th of Elizabeth, the abbey and some of its possessions, which were large, were granted to Thomas, Earl of Ormonde, and now form part of the estate of Viscount DeVesci.  The town is situated on the mail road from Dublin, through Athy, to Cashel, and contains about 140 houses, of which the greater number are neatly built; the late Lord DeVesci caused the old town to be entirely rased, and laid out the present on a more eligible site.  There are two woollen manufactories; a large worsted-mill and factory has been recently established near the town, which affords employment to about 200 persons in combing, weaving, and spinning yarn; and on the river Nore, which passes near the town, is a boulting-mill.  The market is on Saturday; and fairs are held on Jan. 26th, March 17th, May 5th, July 20th, Sept. 20th, and Nov. 4th.  The market-house is a good building.  The quarter sessions for the county are held in the town in June and December; petty sessions are held every Saturday; a court is also held by the senschal of the manor; and here is a chief constabulary police station.  The sessions-house is a commodious building, and a new bridewell has been erected.

The parish comprises of 11,974 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act:  there are about 400 acres of bog and 300 of woodland; the soil is in general light and sandy, and the system of agriculture is improving.  Limestone of very good quality abounds, and is quarried for building and for burning into lime; there is also a curious freestone quarry, and excellent potters' clay is found here.  The gentlemen's seats are Abbey Leix, the residence of Viscount deVesci, a spacious and handsome mansion, pleasantly situated in a demesne of about 1135 statute acres, embellished with thriving plantations and with timber of stately growth; Bellview, of W. Bell Esq.; Thornberry, of Capt. Croker; Farmley, of --Roe, Esq.; Rathmoyle House, of E.B. Handcock, Esq.; and Oatlands, of J.Ferguson, Esq.  The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Leighlin, and in the patronage of Viscount DeVesci, who is impropriator of the rectory.  The tithes amount to 507. 13. 10, of which 338. 9. 2. is payable to the impropriator, and the remainder to the vicar.  The parish church, recently erected, is a very handsome building, in the later English style, with a vaulted roof of stone and an elegant spire: the old church, which has an endowment by Lord DeVesci, is not generally used.  The glebe-house was built in 1810, for which the late Board of First Fruits gave 400; the glebe comprises 5 acres.  In the R.C. divisions this parish is partly in the diocese of Ossory, but chiefly in that of Leighlin; the former in the union or district of Ballyragget, and the latter the head of a district, comprising also the parish of Ballyroan, and containing a chapel in each.  There is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists.  There are a parochial and an infant's school, a work school for girls, and another sided by subscription, together affording instruction to nearly 300 children; a school-house was erected for the parochial school by Lord deVesci, at an expense of 250; there are also two pay schools.  An almshouse for poor widows maintained by Lady DeVesci; and a dispensary and an infirmary are supported in the usual way.  The tomb of Malachi O'More, with an inscription, is in the gardens of Lord DeVesci, near the site of the old abbey.  There is a free chalybeate spring in the parish.
Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel Lewis, 1837


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Abbeyleix Town Coolballyogan Knocknamoe
Abbeyleix Demesne Coolcorberry Kyle
Baggottspark Curraghacronacon Lisbigney
Ballymaddock Derrylahan Parkbawn
Ballymullen Dunmore Poormansbridge
Ballytarsna Graceswood Rathmoyle
Blackhills Granafallow Redhills
Boley Ironmills Stewartsgrove
Boston Island Tonduff
Brandra Killamuck Tullyroe
Clonkeen Kilrush Watercastle
Clonoghil Knapton  


Available Catholic Records at NLI
(other than county heritage centers)

NLI=National Library in Ireland, Dublin
POS=film number
LDS=Family History Library film

Type Dates Where
Baptisms 1824-1880 with gaps Pos #4199
Marriages 1824-1880 with gaps Pos #4199


LDS Film Numbers

Film Title Film number(s)
Tithe Applotments, 1823-38 #256560
Griffith's Valuation, 1850 #101757
1901 Ireland Census #850455, 850457
1911 Ireland Census #2193025, 2193026, 2193072
Parochial registers of Ballyragget, 1856-1881 (small part of Abbeyleix) #979702

(before ordering films, check # for accuracy)


Desport/Desper/Despard Linda McKenna
Fitzpatrick Linda McKenna
Hartford Linda McKenna
Lowery/Lowry/Lowrey Linda McKenna
To add your surname Email IGP County Leix/Laois


Civil Parish Links

Griffith's Valuation Index, Abbeyleix Civil Parish, John Hayes' website
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