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Abbeyleix Heritage House

Abbeyleix Heritage House

Abbeyleix Heritage House is Laois' biggest history museum, community centre and business hub.

Today’s Found in the archives post is of a copy of Philips’ Handy Atlas of the Counties of Ireland, published 1882 by John Bartholomew and P.W. JoyceOn the first pages are two stamps: ‘Rev. P Butler C.C. The presbytery High Street, Dublin’. Also written inside is ‘M. Murray, Ballintubbert, Athy’ and ‘P. Kavanagh’. Also written is what seems to be ‘vol ?02 at auction of rec’ if anyone thinks that they can make out what is written, please comment down below!The atlas contains small maps for each county in colour, and the map for Laois (Queen’s county) contains some of the old names on areas/towns e.g. Portlaoise ‘Maryborough’ that were forcibly changed during English occupation. At the end of the atlas there is also an index for towns/cities all over Ireland. Who M. Murray of Ballintubbert is a mystery, however they may have been Maurice Murray, a stonecutter, who moved to Stradbally. His wife was Anne Byrne, and she was a housekeeper. He also had a son named Maurice, who was also a stonecutter. Maurice died in 1895 at the age of 55. Who P. Kavanagh may be, is also unclear at present. #abbeyleixheritagehouse #Laois #abbeyleix #foundinthearchives #archives #laoishistory #irishhistory ... See MoreSee Less
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TRIVIA THURSDAYThis week's quiz is of capital cities of the world! Take the quiz through the link, or over on our Instagram stories @abbeyleixheritagehouse forms.gle/vBnXFMetF6nPZSmj7 #abbeyleixheritagehouse #Abbeyleix #triviathursday #Abbeyleix #geography ... See MoreSee Less
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Today’s CURATOR TUESDAY spotlight is on a cash book owned by Morrisseys of Abbeyleix, dated 1940-1947. The Morrissey family kept many of their cash books for future generations to look back on for years to come, and today they also serve as good sources for genealogy! At this time, Paddy Mulhall was working at Morrisseys (who continued to keep the Morrissey memorabilia and has an exhibit dedicated to him in Heritage House). #abbeyleix #abbeyleixheritagehouse #Abbeyleix #laoistourism #Laois #localhistory #museum #curatortuesday #Irish ... See MoreSee Less
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As today is the day for local elections, you may have been paying particular attention to the county council offices in Portlaoise, and may have noticed the statue of a man outside the entrance. This man was James Fintan Lalor, and he is probably most well-known for his many writings about the land issues in Ireland and the question of Irish sovereignty, along with the rebellion of 1848. James Fintan Lalor was born in Tinnakill House, Raheen in 1807. Lawlor came from a Catholic farming family, and his father Patt was also involved in politics. Patt Lalor was a successful tenant farmer, having a large farm over approximately 1,000 acres. He was what was known as a ‘middle man’, who were large farmers who rented off of a larger landowner and who sublet some of the land that he rented from them. Patt Lalor campaigned heavily for both Catholic emancipation (abolition of penal laws) and was active in campaigning against tithes (these were mandatory payments which were a percentage of land production each year given to the Church of Ireland, despite the majority of people not being members of the church). Patt Lalor was known as ‘Honest’ Patt Lalor, and a roundabout on the Mountmellick road in Portlaoise is named after him! James Fintan Lalor was the oldest of twelve children, and he suffered with his health throughout his life. It is said that an accident in childhood may have caused his many ailments, and that Lalor had a hump on his back. He was often quite poorly and spent much of his life hidden away from the outside world. He was homeschooled as a young child, likely because of his health concerns. His father Patt had enough money to send James Fintan Lalor to be educated in Carlow, which only lasted for around a year before he withdrew from study. A particularly negative description of James Fintan Lalor is recorded in the UK Dictionary of National Biography, which describes Lalor’s physical appearance as ‘ungainly and deformed.' The language used to describe Lalor’s beginning into expressing his ideas publicly about tithes and agrarian issues is also questionable, with the writer stating that Lalor was ‘brooding’ over his ideas from several years. Lalor became a staunch believer in a fair Ireland free of tithes. However, he did not show much support for his father during his campaigning, as he was not a supporter of Daniel O’Connell’s Catholic Emancipation movement. He believed that O’Connell and his followers were cowards, and that repeal would not solve Ireland’s problems. Lalor took a much more radical approach, and sought a form of national independence rather than repeal of the penal laws. He felt that many issues in Ireland stemmed from the system of land ownership, and this would be one of his main focuses throughout his political career. Lalor lived in Dublin for a time, after condemning O’Connell and his supporters, including his father Patt. He would return home to Tinnakill suffering from ill-health some time later. After the famine struck Ireland, Lalor would emerge into the political sphere, planning on founding tennant-led societies and organising rent strikes, which were against large landowners. He wrote several letters outlining his beliefs surrounding agrarian issues and reformation, and he believed that a form of sovereignty or independence would be much more beneficial for Ireland than just Repeal. Lalor wanted to completely change the land system and to give the land back to the people. He felt that the current system demeaned the majority and made tenants vulnerable, and economically stagnant. The system was limiting profits and growth for many small tenant farmers who were at the mercy of their landlords. He was against the evictions that were regularly occurring in Ireland, particularly during the famine when the population was at its most impoverished. Lalor was known widely for his letters to publications such as the United Irishmen and the Nation, which outlined his views that agrarian issues were solvable through national independence. He also contributed to establishing a new publication, The Irish Felon. Lalor was gifted in the art of writing, but his ability as an orator and lack of cooperation with others may have led him to some dislike towards him. Lalor became involved in secret societies, and planned for a rebellion to occur in 1848. Lalor was arrested in Tipperary and jailed for treason, and when released he planned another rebellion on a barracks in Waterford. This was also a failure, and he was jailed but then swiftly released due to his health issues. Lalor died some months later, from bronchitis. Much of Lalor's life is shrouded in mystery, as there are varying accounts of his life. Some sources say that he lived in France, while others are not so sure. Many historians and writers have varying opinions on Lalor, but as a whole he is recognised for his writings and attempts at rectifying the land system in Ireland and his attempts at gaining Irish freedom. The statue of Lalor in front of the Laois County Council offices was created by Rory Breslin. #abbeyleixheritagehouse #laoistourism #Abbeyleix #irishhistory #localhistory #Laois #Irish #jamesfintanlalor #irishpolitics ... See MoreSee Less
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