Halloween Event. Heritage House School of Wizardry and Magic

***Now Fully Booked*** Heritage House School of Wizardry and Magic There will be Slime!! Potions** Wands and the Every Flavour Jelly bean challenge to try!! Tuesday 30th of October 10am -12pm Booking essential. Ages 8+ €15 per child. On the day your child will get to pick their...
Read More →

Culture Night 2018

Culture Night 2018 at Heritage House Abbeyleix presents: Stories from the Past  Children from primary and secondary schools in Laois will read stories collected during the schools collection initiative in the 1930s and add new stories of their own to this collection. There are...
Read More →

Incubating Ireland: The role of the Royal Dublin Society and Royal Irish Academy in the establishment of the National Museum of Ireland

Perhaps in this decade of centenaries, the National Museum of Ireland is an institution whose collections and role in contemporary society are both more contested and more ambiguous than at any other point in its history. This is evidenced by the extent to which its programming...
Read More →

Writing Women Into History – #InternationalWomensDay

Flicking through children’s school books, reading the latest historical bestseller or checking out the history documentaries television has to offer, you would be forgiven for thinking that when it comes to the historical record, only men matter. Of course, this is inaccurate,...
Read More →

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...
Read More →

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...
Read More →

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...
Read More →

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...
Read More →

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...
Read More →

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...
Read More →

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...
Read More →

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...
Read More →

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...
Read More →

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...
Read More →

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...
Read More →

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....
Read More →

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...
Read More →

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...
Read More →

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...
Read More →

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...
Read More →
12