Historic Building sights in Boyle & Around
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After the King family moved to Lough Key, the imposing Georgian mansion King House became a military barracks for the fearsome Connaught Rangers. The county council bought the property in 1987, and spent several years and €3.8 million turning it into the inspired King House Interpretive Centre.
Sinister-looking dummies from various eras tell the turbulent history of the Connaught kings, the town of Boyle and the King family, including a grim tale of tenant eviction during the Famine. Kids can try on replica ancient Irish cloaks, brooches and leather shoes, write with a quill, play a regimental drum and build a vaulted ceiling from specially designed blocks.
Gracing the River Boyle is the finely preserved (and reputedly haunted) Boyle Abbey. Founded in 1161 by monks from Mellifont in County Louth, the abbey captures the transition from Romanesque to Gothic style, best seen in the nave, where a set of arches in each style face each other. Unusually for a Cistercian building, figures and carved animals decorate the capitals to the west. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the abbey was occupied by the military and became Boyle Castle; the stone chimney on the southern side of the abbey, which was once the refectory, dates from that period.
Guided 40-minute tours of the abbey are available on the hour until 5pm.