How Abbeyleix looked in 1840

What the Maps Can Tell us? At Heritage House we have a collection of Original First Edition Ordinance Survey Maps from 1839/41, which show us the entire county of Laois at a scale of 6 inches to one mile. The Ordinance Survey was established in 1824, under the direction of...
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The Cashel Bog Body, A Bronze Age King of Laois

On Wednesday 10th of August 2011, a remarkable find was uncovered on a bog in Co. Laois. A bog body was unearthed during peat milling at Cashel bog between Portlaoise and Abbeyleix by Jason Phelan, a Bord Na Mona worker. After over two years of analysis, it was revealed that the...
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Sensation and Presence in Francis Bacon

  To take sensation and presence as concepts through which to look at Bacon’s art seems appropriate given his recurrent concern with pure feeling in his subjects and with his characteristic rendering or dismembering of the human form. In much of his work we experience...
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The 6th Viscount de Vesci’s Struggle in WW2

  John Eustace Vesey the 6th Viscount de Vesci of Abbeyleix was born in 1919, the only son of three children from the marriage of Colonel Hon. Thomas Eustace Vesey and Lady Cecily Kathleen Browne. He inherited the title of Viscount on the death of his uncle Ivo Richard de...
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Reason Crushed by the Infernal Dance: Bacon’s Study for a Bullfight No. 1 (c.1969).

  In much of Bacon’s work, and certainly in the present painting, there seems to be an exemplification of the nineteenth-century French poet, Arthur Rimbaud’s advocacy of the deregulation of the senses in order to achieve free understanding. This does not merely...
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Aengus the Culdee, a saint and church reformer 8th Century

Today March 11th marks the death of Aengus the Culdee or Aengus Céilí Dé (Aengus the servant of God), who lived, studied and died right here in Co. Laois. Aengus was quiet a remarkable figure within the Early Christian Church in Ireland. He was born sometime in the mid-8th...
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Bacon, Expressionism and ‘Inexpressivity’.

  Francis Bacon visited Weimar Berlin in 1927 at the age of 18 accompanied by a certain Harcourt-Smith at the behest of Francis’ father. At the time Germany had entered a retrospectively-termed ‘golden age’ after World War I, subsequent political turmoil...
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A Monument to Countess Aline at Emo

Here we have a monument or effigy of Countess Aline Portarlington dedicated to her and unveiled in May 1875 by her dearly beloved husband the 3rd Earl of Portarlington; Henry John Reuben Dawson-Damer. Countess Aline was born on the 29th of July 1823 the 3rd child of Charles...
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Bacon’s Three Studies for a Portrait of Henrietta Moraes(1963) A Laois Connection

Undertaking a profane career that encompassed amphetamine-psychotic cat burglary in the ’60s for which she served prison time, Henrietta Moraes was the epitome of willful caprice and bohemianism throughout her adventurous life. Initially emerging in Soho pubs such as the...
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Building the Big House

We have recently been lucky enough to come into possession of a fantastic document setting out the specification for the complete refurbishment of Donore House, Co Laois. The document dates to 1891 and gives a fascinating insight into how this type of large country house was...
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