Abbeyleix is a town in County Laois, Ireland about 14 km (9 mi) from Portlaoise and located on the N77 national secondary route. Formerly the N8 National Primary Route ran through the centre of the town, making Abbeyleix an infamous bottleneck on the Dublin-Cork corridor with up to 15,000 vehicles passing through the main street everyday. However, the town was bypassed by the M8 motorway on 28 May 2010.
Abbeyleix was founded in the 18th century as a town by Viscount de Vesci and is situated near a 12th-century Cistercian monastery beside the River Nore. Today, there is a large range of historical structures still standing in and around the small village - ancient ring forts, burial grounds, early monastic buildings, Norman and mediaeval castles, churches and colonial estate houses. The town once had a carpet factory - notably producing some of the carpets used on the RMS Titanic.
There is a heritage house located in the old Patrician monastery schoolhouse which provides information on the towns history. Abbeyleix was made a Heritage town of Ireland several years ago.
Access to the M8 motorway to Cork is provided via the R433 road, while the N77 links the town with the Dublin-Limerick M7 and to Kilkenny.
Bus Eireann operates an expressway service between Dublin and Cork which calls at Abbeyleix, whilst Aircoach operate a similar service that also calls at Dublin Airport.
Walk or cycle.
- Sextons House. Beautifully renovated cottage.
- Abbeyleix South National Schoo. Beautiful 19th century building.
- de Vesci estate, Ballacolla Rd. Beautiful gardens are open to the public one day a year. All proceeds from this opening are given to a local charity.
- Heritage Centre & the Sensory Gardens, Main St.
- Morrissey's Pub. Probably the oldest in Ireland.
- Abbeyleix Manor Hotel. 46 bedrooms and conference suite.