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Introducing Abbeyleix

Abbeyleix (abbey-leeks) is a pretty heritage town with a Georgian market house, graceful terraced housing and a wide leafy main street. The town grew up around a 12th-century Cistercian monastery, but problems with frequent flooding led to local 18th-century landowner Viscount de Vesci levelling the village and creating a new, planned estate town in the present location. During the Famine, de Vesci proved a kinder landlord than many, and the fountain obelisk in the square was erected in gratitude from his tenants.

Abbeyleix makes a good base for exploring Laois, with superb food and accommodation options and a chance to sip a pint in one of Ireland's most atmospheric pubs.