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When the de Vesci family acquired Abbeyleix in 1750, they decided that the town would have to move. The de Vescis levelled the old town of Abbeyleix and moved its people to a new planned town. Abbeyleix prospered in its new location and by 1837, had grown to 140 houses. Local farmers traded at the Market House and business premises lined its crescent. Over the next century the main industries included flour mills, a brewery, and a factory that made carpets used all over the world, including on the luxury liner Titanic.
Lady de Vesci looked after poor widows in the Alms House on Temperance Street. The destitute were admitted to the Workhouse, which opened in 1842. Today visitors can admire the fine period buildings that remain in Abbeyleix,
including the Church of Ireland, Baptist Meeting House, Wesleyan Meeting house, and Catholic Church. Those wanting to learn more about life in the mid-1800s can visit the restored Sexton’s House. For the full story of the town, go to the Abbeyleix Heritage House in the old Patrician North School.