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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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The Goats Are Going Home

This post is a follow on to one I wrote on my own blog about 2 years ago. To be honest it’s very difficult to believe that it’s that long since the goats first arrived in the graveyard. The goats did a great job on their first visit to the graveyard but as soon as...
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Mary O’Shea

Mary was born on 16 August 1893 in Dublin City to Robert and Sarah McDonald. Her father was a ‘Shop meter collector’ and her mother was a nurse. When Mary was only 1 year old the family moved to Abbeyleix where her mother became the first District Nurse in the area....
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100 Years On

Like every other county in Ireland, Laois has always kept Gaelic sports close to her heart but through the years since the GAA was founded in 1884 the county has not been blessed with success. Indeed in the 131 years since the organisation of the GAA Laois have reached senior...
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Francis Bacon: Home, Estrangement and Identity

Bacon’s infant consciousness was forged for the most part in an Ireland ravaged by the fratricidal conflict of civil war, and Bacon’s later mature art could itself be argued to be a fratricidal war: Bacon the person observing the horrors of a wracked Ireland (as well as the...
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Abbeyleix Heritage House Fresco

In the midst of the most febrile activity imaginable as typical of a Renaissance Florentine art workshop, diffuse and heaving energies ordered themselves into direction through collective concentration on the realisation, by means of adept processes and techniques, of the...
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Jam Making, 1900’s style

As many people will know we have a large collection of photographs and documents in our museum. While sections of this collection have been cataloged we’re still slogging through parts of it. About 2 weeks ago our volunteer, Shane Lewis who is scanning and cataloging the...
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Abbeyleix – Why Build New Town

By 1770 Thomas Vesey, 1st Viscount de Vesci had finally managed to resolve the legal issues that dogged the estate since his grandfather had inherited it almost 80 years previously. With these issues behind him he could finally start to build an estate in his image, reflecting...
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Laois to Siberia in Almost One Piece

On Friday 6th February we were lucky enough to have Gary, Ned, Jim and Kevin come in and tell us the stories, tall and short’ of their trip across Siberia following the route of the BAM or Baikal-Amur Mainline, a 4,324 km long route through the swamps and primordial forest....
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